Thursday, July 11, 2013

Not A Fashionista? Ignore Me Today

"Grace, A Memoir" by Grace Coddington   Random House   330 pages plus extensive photos in the back of the book   $35

Coddington became a model during the late '50s and into the '60s.  Jean Shrimpton was called "The Shrimp" and Coddington became "The Cod."  She was quite pleased to read this description of herself which was "cold as a cod, but hotter than a four-bar heater."  She thought it made her sound sexy. 

When she got too old to model at age 28, she went into fashion management as a creative director for British and then American Vogue.  She has curated several of the big fashion exhibitions in New York.

Her book details the world's top fashion photographers, hairdressers, make-up artists - and their quirks and foibles. 

The book is lavishly illustrated with her quirky sketches of friends, various outfits and her cats.  She is inordinately fond of cats.

She married twice.  Her first husband was Michael Chow, of Mr. Chow restaurants, but it didn't last long.  Chow's next wife was Tina and she and Grace are great friends.  Number two only last six months.  Today she is more than 30 years into a committed relationship with fashion hairdresser Didier Malige.   She had no children, but when her sister died, she adopted one of the two nephews.  The other went to his father's family. 

As a fashion editor, she has traveled all over the world for photo shoots and has had many amazing experiences doing so.  She has worked  for a long time with Ann Wintour (aka "Nuclear Wintour) and was best friends with the late Liz Tiberis. 

This is an entertaining and engaging book for people who are interested in fashion and the workings behind this million dollar industry.  It's more of a gentle reminiscence  about the bright lights in the fashion world than a "Scandal!" tell-all which distracts not at all from the insider feeling the reader gets. 

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