Everything you need to know about Grace Coddington’s autobiography

Flaming haired ex-model, Vogue Creative Director and The September Issue’s accidental breakout star, Grace Coddington, has just released an autobiography entitled Grace: A Memoir.

The 71-year-old Anglesey-born editor recounts her life and times in the new book, which details formative events like her early career as a model, the car crash that detached her left eyelid subsequently sending her into two years of recovery, a thrilling series of romances and her long-spanning professional marriage to fashion autocrat Anna Wintour.

 The Daily Beast says “readers learn the facts about Coddington’s life at the top of the fashion heap—working with some of its most influential stars and crafting some of the most memorable images—they don’t really learn what only she can reveal: how it feels to be Grace Coddington.”

The book, which she has reportedly pocketed $1.2 million for, was penned in cahoots with Michael Roberts, Vanity Fair’s fashion and style director, and, simply put, details her “really fun life”.

Yet Grace: A Memoir has been described as “unemotional” and that “tears or even sympathy seem unlikely” for the fortuitous celebrity. Though we have pre-ordered our copy of what will certainly turn into a coffee table classic, we have not yet been privy to the fabulous Coddington pragmatism in its entirety. 

After scouring every fashion and media outlet who have had their hands on the publication for information, it is patent  that Coddington has maintained her status as an industry force through her unrelenting expediency and composure. Far from the high drama of the worlds she creates, Coddington is no fashion diva. 

While being profiled by the London Telegraph the styling doyenne confessed she was apprehensive about showing Anna Wintour the fruits of her labour – “Oh my God, I was nervous, of course I was. Because she and I are very entwined – and I was nervous that I had said too much about her, from her point of view. But I was also nervous that she would think it wasn’t well written or not well laid out. But she wrote me a really long letter saying she loved it and that was a big relief. She trusts me. I don’t have anything horrible to say about her anyway, and I know everyone out there is probably hoping I get really nasty about her. A) I wouldn’t, and B) I don’t have anything bad to say. She’s my boss and you have to respect that she makes the magazine what it is, and we all contribute. Ultimately it’s her show” – even though, Wintour is, on the down-low, a bit of a softie – “"I care whether anyone - from the mailman to the dry cleaner - likes me. Maybe that is my weakness. But not Anna's. She does, however, care very, very much about her children. If one of them comes on the phone, I've watched her melt, which is not something you very often see with Anna.” 

Of young designers and the competitive fashion market, Coddington also said it is actually a best case scenario when young designers have “a few things going wrong in their life. I mean, I hate to say it, but it teaches you a hell of a lot, you know. I think they need time, and I think too many of the young designers really think that they can step right out of school and be a best seller, and that's a mistake. I mean, you know, Nicolas [Ghesquière] took forever to get where he was. Marc [Jacobs] got fired 10 times before he made it.”

Otherwise, Coddington has recently revealed that watching The September Issue was a self-actualizing experience, “I am often heard grumbling about Anna Wintour. For instance, at the end of a fashion meeting at American Vogue in which one of my cherished ideas is arbitrarily dropped. Funnily enough, I had no idea how cantankerous and argumentative I can seem until I saw myself in the film The September Issue. Small surprise that, in the past, Anna has said I am the only person in fashion who can actually grind her down. As the nuns who wrote my school report when I was 14 put it, 'Grace has a very nice way of getting her own will'” and it’s a little known fact that Coddington unashamedly “swears like a trooper.” One lesson we can all take away from the Grace: A Memoir press circus as well is that, at any age, it’s tacky to name-drop – not that us normal folk have impressive names to drop (unlike Coddington we’ve never bathed in Nicolas Ghesquière’s hotel room or had brief rendezvous with Mick Jagger).  

Grace: A Memoir went on sale this week. 

profile of genevieverosen