Grace: A Memoir

By: Grace Coddington
Nonfiction
2012
Subject Matter: Grace Coddington; 1941; Image consultants; Great Britain; Biography; Fashion editors; Models; Vogue
Rating: 3/5

Grace: A Memoir

The real gem of this book is the pictures.

Grace Coddington, for those of you who (like me) don’t recognize that name, is most famous for being the creative director of American Vogue, under Anna Wintour, the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada.

Coddington was also a model and stylist for a few other names and magazines along the way.

If you’re a fashion nerd, then maybe this book will mean more to you than it meant to me. Coddington name drops like a boss. Except I only recognized about 1/4 of those names. She’s obsessed with fashion – clearly – and never never trivializes it.

My biggest frustration with Grace is that I wouldn’t call this book a true memoir. It’s much more factual and much less personal. Coddington is very British in that way. She only lets you in when she wants to, and she’s the queen of the humble brag.

Somehow, this conservativeness and remoteness has a way of making her appear almost normal in a world of wild, crazy, eccentric fashionistas. But then you realize she’s on a first name basis with her cat psychic and it all starts to spin out of control again.

It’s definitely not what I would call revealing. She reduces entire relationships down to a sentence or two, more passionately describing the details of a particular photo shoot. But included in this book are a multitude of photographs, of Grace’s own drawings, of magazine spreads. And those are quite fascinating, or at least fun.

It’s not a bad book at all. It’s just hardly a memoir and heavy on the industry side of things.

 

*****

 

Suggestions for those of you who liked Grace:

(for more about the fashion industry)

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

(for celebrity memoirs)

D. V. by Diana Vreeland

Out Came the Sun by Mariel Hemingway

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

(for more by Coddington)

Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue by Grace Coddington

The Catwalk Cats by Grace Coddington

 

Coming up:

A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Ground Rules by Renee Swann

Life and Times of Jesse James by Frank Triplett

A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

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