I’ve never been much of a memoir, nonfiction, or biography reader and the only reason for that is my all-consuming love for fiction. Grace – A Memoir by Grace Coddington, my second Random House Read for November, just might have turned me on to a new genre.
“…here I am doing something I never imagined I’d be old or interesting enough to embark on: writing my memoirs.” (xxxi)
From the very first sentence of the introduction to the very last line of the book, I found myself completely obsessed with Grace Coddington, her life,w and her sassy writing style. Her personality and independence are inspiring. I found the constant changes in her career, her business partners, and her husbands/boyfriends more interesting than jarring – I took it as a reminder that life is full of changes, full of surprises (good and bad).
By the way – the book itself is BEAUTIFUL. Grace’s illustrations are wonderful and add extra character to her memoir.
Grace Coddington’s independence from a very young age blew me away. Her move to London at the age of eighteen with the prospect of becoming a model got me thinking about how strong-willed and independent she must have been. Sheesh, compared to her I’m much more dependent on comfort and people than I once thought. My life is practically a bubble and I’m standing inside with a pin constantly debating what I’ll do with it.
A picture I took of the book – page two.
Apart from her independence, I admire the balance she always tried to bring to her life, the balance she aimed for in her personal relationships. I admire her willingness to learn and to fail and to always do better. If someone who “would become nauseated and physically sick around too many new people…” could become the Creative Director of American Vogue magazine, what
canwill I become?
What I’m trying to get at here is that Grace Coddington’s memoir is an inspiring read, as well as an in-depth look at a world I never paid attention to. I will now look at clothing a little differently and I will pay attention to the story that a magazine spread is trying to tell.
I now really really really want to attend a fashion show.
I now want a subscription to British and American Vogue.
I now feel as though I can dream a little bigger, thanks to Grace Coddington.
Synopsis (from the Random House of Canada Limited website)
Grace Coddington, at age 70, has been the Creative Director of Vogue magazine for the past 20 years. Her candour, her irascibility, her commitment to her work, and her always fresh and original take on fashion has made her, after Anna Wintour, the most powerful person in fashion. Acquired after an intense auction among every major publisher, this woman who became an unwilling celebrity captured the hearts of everyone when she was revealed in the movie as the creative force behind the throne at Vogue. Having grown up on a backwater island in Wales, she came to London just in time to be discovered as a dazzling model by the famous Norman Parkinson, then went on to shape the pages at Vogue for 19 years where she worked as Creative Director with many luminaries including the young Wintour. Lured by Calvin Klein to run his New York operation she then jumped back to American Vogue when Wintour returned to America in 2003. She has been there ever since.