September 30, 2009

Fiery Grace


A time ago, I arrived at the Fashion Institute of Technology ready to be knee-deep in the study of couture and design, advertising and fabric. But rather, I left two years later grounded and resolved, still appreciative of fashion, but less enthusiastic about convincing people (via Madison Avenue) that they should gauge themselves by their labels. Many years later, I still feel similarly, though I am often told the amount of magazines I read and keep are a fire hazard. What can I say? I love looking and staying au courant from a distance.

So when The September Issue came out, I called the girls and we bought our tickets--some to see Anna Wintour, the high priestess herself, and others to see the fabulous frocks and fray. None of us expected Grace Coddington, fiery (both in hair and spirit) creative director of Vogue. She defines gumption. She demonstrates brilliance. And without her, both the movie and the magazine would be a bore. The balance that Grace, a former model and 40 year veteran of British and American Vogue, manages redeems all of the terrible things you've heard about 4 Times Square. She simply doesn't take herself nor the industry seriously enough to be soured. Rather, she respects fashion and all of its frivolities as a high art filled with color and amusement that matters in its own universe, but will not fix the world. And because of this, she is timeless and relevant (unlike many of her colleagues), just as she was in the better economy of 2007 when the film was shot.

In a 2003 Time article she says, ""I like fairy tales, and I like dreaming. I try to weave the reality into the dream. When readers pick up Vogue, I want them to smile. Everything should be a little tongue in cheek, a little dare-to-go-there."

The point? See The September Issue and forget Ms. Wintour. Grace is the genius behind this "bible". (Anna will tell you that herself).

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