The Vogue creative director, Grace Coddington is a true one of a kind: from her signature flame-colored hair to her championing of non-cookie-cutter beauty, she put distinctive fingerprint on everything she does.
The memoir takes her readers through her impressive fashion career and personal lives, from her childhood memories to her first day on the job both a model and fashion to editor to her big loves (men and cats), early days as a model to her current tenure at Vogue – including her close relationship with Anna Wintour.
Fore more than four decades, Coddington – a onetime model turned master stylist – has collaborated with the best photographers, hair and make up artist in the business to create amazing picture on the page. This maybe the first time I am reading about her – and yet, I recognize her work I’ve read from the magazines. She is shy and loves to work behind-the-scenes.
Coddington has also great talent for illustration which is showcased in the book. She is well-known for sketching looks as they come down the runway from her front-row perch during fashion week – and in her memoir, the remarkable, hand-drawn pictures reveal yet another dimension to an already famously fascinating woman. But her drawings take on a personal and often humorous tone.
Grace Coddington back in her modeling days sporting the famous Five Point Cut invented by Vidal Sasson.
“Is fashion art? I think it’s sometimes very creative but I’m not sure I would call it art, that’s pushing it a bit. In fashion photography, rule number one is to make the picture beautiful and lyrical or provocative and intellectual – but you still have to see the dress. Of course, I like to push the boundaries; I think that’s the most interesting element much of the time. when you walk the line. But you can’t forget to show the clothes and, in the end, not alter them beyond recognition; to pretend a dress is something it is not unfair to the reader, too.”
Beautiful, funny and so inspiring, this one is for the required reading list. And I have acquired so much inspiration from her.
Having this song on repeat at work – seeking inspiration along the way for the next collection.
What songs do you listen at work or at play to inspire you to be the best?
I’d like to share some behind the scenes photos from the shoe factory where I work on the samples and production. I spend many hours here and it’s my favourite place to be. For the coming collection, I worked on a new double-padding insole for extra comfort, improved the cutting and shape of some earlier shoe models, updated the color for the coming season and hand picked some of the finest quality leathers available. Of course I did not manage this alone – there were the manager’s assistant, the pattern-cutter, the sewing guy, the uncle who closed the shoes (lasting), the cleaner and the boxer.
Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. After a short time, a very short time, there would be little that one really enjoyed. For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people.
It is easy to slip into self-absorption and it is equally fatal. When one becomes absorbed in himself, in his health, in his personal problems, or in the small details of daily living, he is, at the same time losing interest in other people; worse, he is losing his ties to life. From that it is an easy step to losing interest in the world and in life itself. That is the beginning of death.
I have always liked Don Quixote’s comment, ‘Until death it is all life.’
Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: ‘A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.’
But there is another basic requirement, and I can’t understand now how I forgot it at the time: that is the feeling that you are, in some way, useful. Usefulness, whatever form it may take, is the price we should pay for the air we breathe and the food we eat and the privilege of being alive. And it is its own reward, as well, for it is the beginning of happiness, just as self-pity and withdrawal from the battle are the beginning of misery.
– You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s your life – but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial. When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else or a community or a pressure group, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.
My weekly read: Brain Pickings.
Universe, thank you for the beauty that exists in my life. Thank you for my health and well-being, for my senses that allow me to see the sky, feel the rain, smell the flowers. Thank you for the amazing relationships that surround me. Thank you for providing me with all of the financial abundance that I need. (I say this even when I feel broke). Thank you for continuing to guide me on a path that is of the highest service to me and to the world. (I say this even when I feel lost). Thank you for the roof over my head and the fantastic food that I get to enjoy every day. Thank you for this blessed, blessed life.