Grace Coddington enjoyed a successful modelling career in the ‘60s and ‘70s but it wasn’t until 2009 that she really entered into the public eye as Creative Director of Vogue magazine, alongside Anna Wintour in the documentary film, The September Issue.
With her unmistakable shock of red hair that has been her signature look for over 40 years, Grace is now one of fashion’s most loved figures. She is praised by many for her creative genius and hard work behind the scenes of the world’s most famous magazine.
Still going strong at Vogue at the age of 73, Grace released her memoir in 2012, detailing some fascinating facts about her life and work. Here are just a few:
1. Grace was born on Anglesey, off the coast of North Wales in 1941 and went to school at a local convent. Even with this sheltered upbringing, as a young teen Grace loved fashion and would order Vogue magazines on “rush delivery” as otherwise they would arrive 3 months out of date.
2. She was in a horrific car accident just two years after she started her modelling career and lost an eyelid. She had to undergo two years of facial reconstructive surgery before she was able to model again.
3. Her first name is actually Pamela. She changed it to Grace, her grandmother’s name when she was waitressing at the London restaurant, Stockpot, so that she wouldn’t get confused with her friend Panchita (as their names were shortened to Pam and Pan, respectively).
4. She modelled the radical “5-point” haircut for Vidal Sassoon in 1965 – a revolutionary look that could be styled with a shake of the head.
5. After Grace’s sister Rosemary tragically died at a young age, Grace raised her nephew, Tristan, aged 8 at the time, as her own son. Sadly the Welsh authorities denied her request to legally adopt him.
6. She never wears makeup and her eyebrows never grew back after being dramatically plucked by her agent in 1959.
7. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, models often had to do their own hair and makeup. Grace claims that Twiggy’s iconic eye makeup look was stolen from her – she says she was drawing exaggerated eyelashes below her eye before Twiggy was even born!
8. Grace is a cat lover and devotes a whole chapter to them in her memoir. Her New York apartment is filled with feline cushions and collectibles. In 2008 she published a book, The Catwalk Cats, filled with illustrations and funny stories through the eyes of her four cats.
9. Grace never had children, although she was pregnant just once while engaged to photographer’s agent Albert Koski. She suffered a late-term miscarriage after a crowd of rioting Chelsea supporters overturned her car while she was in it.
10. Her Instagram account was deleted earlier this year for “inappropriate content”, when Grace published an illustration of herself sunbathing topless. After having her account reinstated, she went on to make fun of the over-zealous moderation by posting another illustration of two of her cats – this time with their privates censored.