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Christian Recommends – ‘Grace’

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This past week at Barnes and Noble bookstore, FiftyisthenewFifty’s fashion guy, Christian Freedom, went to see Grace Coddington speak with writer/editor Eve McSweeney to discuss her new self titled memoir. Grace is the legendary stylist and creative director for Vogue and Christian thought our readers would be interested in what she had to say because she is still vibrate, creative and working in her seventies; a great role model for us all.  Some highlights from the evening were:

She said her lonely, bleak childhood in Wales gave her the desire to break out and see the world. Reading issues of Vogue as a child gave her a window into another kind of life and was a saving grace.

Ironically she was always terrible at geography in school but has now traveled the globe countless times. When she became a model her first gig was posing nude for the famous photographer Norman Parkinson. She was known as “the cod” during her modeling days a reference to Jean Shrimpton who was called “the shrimp”.  She went back and forth between London and Paris doing shoots. She thinks Londoners have no style but are cool. Parisians have style AND chic. As a model in those days you had to do your own hair, make up and bring your own accessories. Rarely was a shoot more than 5 people. Now shoots have about 35 people on them but she prefers the way things used to be.

With the advent of Twiggy and other younger models Grace transitioned into styling and began working for British vogue. She is known for her story/narrative lay outs and hates when they get cut down. She prefers shooting on locations rather than in a studio. Her favorite was an “Alice in Wonderland” themed shoot featuring many famous designers as the characters. It was shot by Annie Leibovitz who she has a volatile relationship with, but who at the end of the day takes great pictures.

She is totally unplugged computer-wise and makes her assistant read and answer all her emails. Only important ones get printed out for Grace to read personally. She has liked being behind the scenes for so long, but as the break out star of “The September Issue” fashion documentary, she has been catapulted into celebrity. Hence the memoir!

Her keys to success in life are to persevere, to dream and to be passionate about what you do. Also if something isn’t working or is making you unhappy, move on. Find the next thing to work on.

For everything else, including info on her life and marriages, you’ll have to buy the book!! ‘Grace’ a memoir is published by Random House.

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