Book Review: Grace Coddington a Memoir

Ok, I know I am a little behind the times, since this memoir has been out for almost two years, but my reading list is long!

I really loved this book…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

The minute the orange book jacket caught my eye it went in my reading stack!  I knew a little about Grace Coddington – that she is the creative director at Vogue and that she had been involved in a car accident which ended up changing her career path – but really that is about all.

The documentary film, The September Issue,  brought her life story to the forefront.  I have not seen the film yet but that is on my list now as well!

The memoir begins with Ms. Coddington’s childhood in Treardurr Bay, a small town in Wales, where her family operated a small hotel.  It is organized around themes, rather than running chronologically, which can be a bit confusing at times.  She lets us know early on of her shyness, at one point during her schoolgirl years even having to come home during the middle of the day for her lunch rather than trying to sit and socialize with her peers.  Indeed, at the end of the day we find her still a bit of a recluse.

She was quite photogenic and enjoyed a career as a fashion model for a time…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

the photo used for the cover of the book is proof…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

It was a bit difficult to keep up with her long list of lovers, partners, fiances and husbands but it definitely made for a saucy read.

Her first husband, the renowned chef and restauranteur, Michael Chow, who stood on a box for their wedding photograph because she was so much taller than he…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

second husband Willie Christie…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

and long-time partner, acclaimed hairdresser Didier Malige…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

Suffice it to say, the lady is a cat fanatic.  One chapter in the book focuses on her cat love and we even discover that she employs the advice of a “cat psychic”…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

Grace employs sketching as a means for recording fashion shows, life events and of course her cats…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

She shares many anecdotes from working in the fashion industry for the last fifty years.  Her close relationships with Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, and Liz Tilberis, editor of Harper’s Bazaar, reveal more about her personality than any of the other stories in the memoir.

One of the later chapters is devoted to her views on makeup, Botox and plastic surgery.  She rarely wears makeup – only a bit of foundation – is totally against putting poison into one’s face and is categorically opposed to plastic surgery.

She says that “It is hard for me to define what is modern, because I am not.”  In fact, we find that is true – she abhors the cellphone and texting in particular – and only recently (with the aid of her assistant) figured out email…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

from fashion model…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

to fashion editor…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

hers is a story worth telling and one worth reading…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

I definitely recommend including it in your summer reading and, if you enjoy listening to books on tape, this one is read by the author making it feel like you just sat down to a cozy luncheon with a friend!

a departure from the usual but this post needs a feline ending…

Grace Coddington A Memoir

 

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