The public knows her as the flame-haired wingwoman to U.S. Vogue’s Anna Wintour, and fashion elite regards her as an iconic tastemaker as influential as the magazine itself. Just this January 2016, Grace Coddington resigned from her post as full-time Creative Director of Vogue and is now poised to take on “further projects” from an at-large capacity, as Business of Fashion reports.
The 74-year-old Welsh-born former model (who first started her career at 19 posing for, what else, Vogue U.K.) graduated up the ranks at the publication, beginning her editorial career as Junior Editor then Photo Editor. Her fashion styling capabilities thereafter caught the eye of American Vogue’s freshly hired Editor in Chief (and Grace’s compatriot) Miss Anna herself, whom she had previously worked with during her Vogue U.K. stint. She immediately came on as the magazine’s Fashion Director, and her and Anna’s partnership and projects, which made up the tail-end of Grace’s own 30-year fashion career, would eventually hold up to be the most powerful industry yardsticks to date.
Mostly relegated to behind-the-scenes work and a staple at runway shows, Grace played the perfect, albeit warmer and more charming, foil to Anna’s ice queen editorial persona—a contrast that came to the fore in 2009’s The September Issue, a fashion documentary that gave everyone fly-on-the-wall access to the production of their colossal 840-page September 2007 issue.
Known for her dry humor, candid approach and most notably, her raw talent, the stylist is quick to state in an exclusive with BoF that she “[is] not running away from Vogue, because it has opened so many doors. But it will be nice to collaborate… it’s just another approach. I’m certainly not going into retirement.”
Last 2002, Grace released a compendium of her work entitled Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue (re-released in 2015) and a memoir, Grace, in 2012. She will now be represented by Great Bowery, which includes under its conglomerate umbrella notables such as Annie Leibovitz and Juergen Teller. She will keep an office at the Vogue headquarters at One World Trade Center in New York City as she contributes four editorials annually for the magazine. As for her so-called pet projects, a fragrance with Comme des Garçons is first in line. She tells BoF: “I’ve always been a big fan of Comme des Garçons. I never take the commercial approach, and the process of it is fascinating to me.”