Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review: Grace

I have been a reading fool the past few weeks, which has been a treat for me. And as a humongous indulgence, I bought -- in hardback! -- the new memoir Grace by Grace Coddington.

Like many people I met Grace through the movie The September Issue, which was about the production of Vogue's mammoth fall collections issue. Ostensibly, the focus of the movie is Anna Wintour. But Grace Coddington steals the show (I'll post a clip of the movie below). She looks more like an ex-nun, stumping around the Vogue offices in sensible shoes, than she does an ex-model who used to hang out with Mick Jagger and the like.

She steals the show again in this book. Though she's not a booky person, she's a good storyteller and has lots of stories to tell. She includes a lot of her own sketches, which are wonderful. And be aware that at the back of the book are lots of photos from the fashion shoots she describes in the text.

I read a few reviews from people who were frustrated because they didn't know fashion and didn't know the people she was talking about. Well, I don't know fashion either. But I read it like a book with vocabulary words I didn't understand, taking my time and looking things up as I went along -- or just allowing things to wash over me if I didn't want to spend the time on complete comprehension. What's great with the internet is you can look up people, images, notable fashion collections, even, and find out what she means. I thought it was incredibly rewarding, even if it did slow me down a little.

Mostly I continue to think she is an incredibly compelling person with no pretensions, thoroughly herself and unconcerned whether you like it or not.

If you do want to read this, and aren't a fashion person, I recommend you watch The September Issue as well, and probably as an introduction. It certainly helped me to hear her voice throughout and understand a little better the world and some of the people she describes.

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