THE CALLA LILY DIALOGUES

GRACE: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue

Calla Lily ProfileArleen Solomon Rotchin3 Comments

Grace Coddington, former model and creative director of American Vogue magazine is known for the creation of large, complex and dramatic photo-shoots.  Her images might be moody, decadent, mysterious or jolly.  

She worked as photo editor at British Vogue creating over-the-top editorials and in 1988, she joined Anna Wintour at American Vogue bringing the same mentality, setting a new standard for extravagant photography in fashion publications in America.  

Coddington came into the public eye in 2009 with the release of The September Issue, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the making of the September 2007 issue of Vogue.  Her often tense relationship with Anna Wintour is also highlighted.

Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington

Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington

Grace Coddington’s extraordinary talent and fierce dedication to her work as creative director of Vogue have made her an international style icon.  

Grace: The American Vogue Years published by Phaidon this fall, is a visual celebration of some of Coddington’s most memorable American Vogue shoots from the past 15 years which has been influenced by film, art, photography and literature.  This inspiration is apparent in her iconic narrative Alice in Wonderland photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

Alice in Wonderland photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

Alice in Wonderland photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

Coddington was born on April 20, 1941 to hotelier parents on the island of Anglesey, Wales.  Her interest in fashion began in her teens, when she would anxiously await the arrival of a current issue of Vogue magazine which was at least 3 months outdated.  As a teen, she was pale-skinned, convent educated and never went anywhere on her holidays, so she just looked at Vogue.                                                                                                                                                                

Around the age of 17, someone submitted her pictures to a Vogue model competition and she ended up winning the Young Model section.  She began her career modeling for Vogue.  

At 26, she was in a car accident that left her with head injuries and a removed eyelid, which was later reconstructed through plastic surgery.

Two years after the accident she was interviewed by British Vogue’s editor and was employed as Junior Editor.  After 19 years as Photo Editor with British Vogue she moved to New York to work for Calvin Klein where she has since lived with her partner, hair stylist Didier Malige and several cats.  

In 1988, she joined Anna Wintour at American Vogue.

Kate Moss in Alexander McQueen: photo Tim Walker

Kate Moss in Alexander McQueen: photo Tim Walker

In April 2016, Tiffany & Company announced its appointment of Grace Coddington as a creative partner.

Thank you, Glen Rotchin, for suggesting Calla Lily Grace Coddington’s story.