The presents are unwrapped and put away (or returned); the turkey is now leftovers; no work or email is clamouring for your immediate attention—the days post-Christmas are a perfect time to settle down with a good book, but probably not Proust. Here are a couple to consider.
It was the acclaimed film, The September Issue that put Grace Coddington in the spotlight rather than her usual role behind the scenes as long-time Creative Director and acclaimed stylist of Vogue magazine. Here in her own voice, Grace is a memoir of her very interesting life so far.
Now 76, the former model is not only (still) beautiful, but also witty, charming, quirky, and fascinating. She knows everyone who is anyone. A talented artist herself—Coddington sketches the fashions from the runway shows as she sits with the formidable Anna Wintour—her delightful pen-and-ink drawings are scattered throughout the pages.
This is a book that you should go buy for yourself if Santa doesn’t bring it for you. Or gift it to someone who will give you borrowing privileges later. Just to show that you don’t have to be female or a fashionista to love it, my husband—avid reader and former literary journalist—deemed it one of the best books he’d read all year. If you could see the number of books in our house, with more continually added (!), you would realize what high praise this is.
If Wintour is the Pope . . . Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel twelve times a year.”—Time
In November 2015, Phaidon Press reissued the first of two volumes of Grace: Thirty Years at Vogue. A reprint of Coddington’s 2002 book of the same name, this 408-page book showcases Coddington’s—and Vogue‘s—best and most iconic work. The edition includes an illustrated and autographed letter by Grace. The photographers whose work is featured include Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton, Snowdon, Norman Parkinson, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, and Patrick Demarchelier. With an introduction by Michael Roberts, former fashion editor for Tatler, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker; and a foreword by Anna Wintour. The second volume will be released in Fall 2016 and will include Coddington’s newer works for Vogue from 2002 to the present.
Grace: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington (Amazon, here); (Indigo, here) ; Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue, by Grace Coddington: (Indigo, here). Hard cover with box sleeve. Below: Model Grace Coddington, British Vogue, August 1962