Grace Coddington

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Grace Coddington
Grace Coddington.jpg
Grace Coddington at a 2009 signing for her book, The Catwalk Cats.
Born (1941-04-20) 20 April 1941 (age 77)
Anglesey, Wales
TitleCreative Director for US Vogue
Michael Chow
(m. 1968; div. 1969)
Partner(s)Didier Malige (1986–present)[1]

Grace Coddington (born 20 April 1941) is a Welsh former model and the creative director at large of American Vogue magazine. Coddington is known for the creation of large, complex and dramatic photoshoots.[2][3] A Guardian profile wrote that she "has produced some of fashion's most memorable imagery. Her pictures might be jolly and decadent or moody and mysterious."[4]

Early life[edit]

Coddington was born on 20 April 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teens, when she would anxiously await the arrival of a current issue of Vogue magazine, which was at least three months outdated because she needed to order it on "rush-copy." Coddington lived many miles away from any designer shops, so Vogue was her only connection to the fashion world. She says that she loves "the whole sort of chic thing ("Italianate culture") [about Vogue] that was so entirely out of context compared to the lifestyle that [she] led." As a teen, she was pale-skinned, convent-educated and never went anywhere on her holidays, so she just looked at Vogue.[5]



Around the age of 17, there was a Vogue model competition, and someone submitted her pictures. She ended up winning the Young Model section. She then began her modelling career for Vogue.[6]

At the age of 26, she was in 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, Beatrix Miller, and was employed as a Junior Editor. After nineteen years as Photo Editor with British Vogue,[7] she moved to New York to work for Calvin Klein.[8] In July 1988, she joined Anna Wintour at American Vogue, where she remains the magazine's creative director.

As of January 2016, Coddington announced that she would be exiting her role as creative director at Vogue to pursue other projects. It was announced on 9 May 2016 that Coddington would be working with Tiffany & Co.[9]

The September Issue[edit]

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. She plays a prominent role in the film as she is heavily involved in the styling and production of the issue. Her often-tense relationship with editor Anna Wintour is also highlighted.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Coddington was married in 1968 to Michael Chow, a restaurateur. They divorced a year later.[11] She later married the photographer Willie Christie. They divorced in 1980.[12]

She raised her nephew Tristan, since the age of 8, after the death of her sister Rosemary.[13]

In 1986, she moved to New York to work for Calvin Klein.[8] She has since then lived with her partner, hair stylist Didier Malige, and several cats.[1]

In 2010, she announced plans to write a memoir with her collaborator Jay Fielden. The two had previously worked together on the 2002 photo book, Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue.[14] The book was reissued in by Phaidon in 2015.[15] But after Jay took a job as the editor of Town & Country, Grace had to postpone writing the book until 2011, after she decided to write the book with Michael Roberts. The book deal is reported to be worth $1.2 million.[16][17] Her memoir, Grace, was published in November 2012.[5] In 2015, film production company A24 optioned the rights to Coddington's memoir.[18]

Works and publications[edit]

  • Coddington, Grace, Anna Wintour, André Leon Talley, John Galliano, Manolo Blahnik, and Michael Roberts. The Snippy World of New Yorker Fashion Artist Michael Roberts. Paris: Edition 7L, 2005. ISBN 978-3-865-21151-4 OCLC 62735193
  • Coddington, Grace, and Didier Malige. The Catwalk Cats. Paris: Edition 7L, 2006. ISBN 978-3-865-21344-0 OCLC 85892968
  • Coddington, Grace, and Michael Roberts. Grace: A Memoir. London: Vintage Books, 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-36276-6 OCLC 891760577
  • Gordon, Michael, Grace Coddington, and Heather Gordon. Vidal Sassoon: How One Man Changed the World with a Pair of Scissors. New York: Rizzoli, 2012. ISBN 978-0-847-83859-2 OCLC 783165292 Forward by Coddington.
  • Donovan, Terence, Diana Donovan, David Hillman, and Robin Muir. Terence Donovan Fashion. London: Art/Books, 2012. ISBN 978-1-908-97002-2 OCLC 805020848 Forward by Coddington.
  • Coddington, Grace Grace: The American Vogue Years. London: Phaidon Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0-714-87197-4
  • Coddington, Grace, Michael Roberts, Jay Fielden, and Bridget McCarthy. Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue. London: Phaidon Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0-714-87059-5 OCLC 905521988

Popular culture[edit]

In the season 3 of the anthology series American Horror Story, American actress Frances Conroy interprets the iconic Myrtle Snow. The character's red hair, as well as her passion for fashion, are considered as a tribute to the ex-model Grace Coddington.[19]


  1. ^ a b Grace Coddington, Didier Malige, Sally Singer, and Michael Roberts (2006). The Catwalk Cats. Edition 7L. ISBN 9783865213440.
  2. ^ Wiseman, Eva. "Amazing Grace Coddington: inside the world of US Vogue's creative director". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  3. ^ Holgate, Mark. "State of Grace". New York. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  4. ^ Marriott, Hannah. "Grace Coddington: the woman who made fashion art". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b Coddington, Grace (2012). Grace: A Memoir. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-8129-9335-6.
  6. ^ These biographical details are from interviews appearing in the 2009 film, The September Issue in which Coddington is featured alongside Anna Wintour as they prepared the 2007 September issue of Vogue.
  7. ^ "Grace Coddington", Time magazine, 28 August 2003
  8. ^ a b Mark Holgate, "State of Grace", New York magazine, 25 August 2002
  9. ^ Sherman, Lauren (20 January 2016). "BoF Exclusive: Grace Coddington to Step Down as Creative Director of American Vogue". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  10. ^ Bryan Moylan, "How Grace Coddington Stole The September Issue from Anna Wintour" Archived 6 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Gawker, 24 August 2009
  11. ^ Lydia Martin, "A quiet interview with 'Mr. Chow'", The Miami Herald, 31 January 2010
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Picture Perfect," by Charles Gandee, VOGUE, October 1996, page 339.
  14. ^ Coddington, Grace (2002). Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue. Steidl Publishing. ISBN 9783882438185.
  15. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra. "Grace Coddington to Release Two Books With Phaidon". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  16. ^ Elle,"Grace Coddington bags a book deal" Archived 7 September 2012 at
  17. ^ Nick Axelrod, "Coddington Memoir... TV Camera Ready...", Women's Wear Daily, 22 August 2010
  18. ^ Mau, Dhani (4 October 2015). "A Grace Coddington Movie is in the Works". Fashionista. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Myrtle Snow's Best Fashion Moments From American Horror Story: Coven". The Cut. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2016.

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