In 2016, Grace Coddington stepped down as Creative Director of American Vogue. After nearly 30 years at Vogue, Grace decided it was time to try something new. At the time this news dropped, it was said that the Great Bowery was representing Grace where she would be involved creatively moving forward.
Soon after Grace announced her departure from Vogue, I met her on the subway. I had just left my office in West Soho, and was catching the C train headed uptown to 14th st. I remember this evening well, I had on my black fuzzy coat that goes down to the top of my knees, black stockings over my thin cold legs paired with chunky black moto boots. I wore a black cashmere hoodie underneath my coat with the hood up on my head. I realize then and now that I looked like a stretched out baby crow.
Here is a picture of me that day waiting for the subway. I’ve also posted the style inspiration taken from Louis Vuitton’s Autumn/Winter 2015 collection that I loved at this time:
I got on the train and as other passengers got off, they cleared a space for me to see a red haired woman with porcelain skin, clothed in black. I froze and thought, it’s Grace! Grace Coddington is on the New York freaking City Subway- who would have thought?! I should mention that I am not someone who gets starstruck when they see a celebrity, and I’ve had my fair share of sightings living in the city.
I got so excited because Grace is the real deal. She is a creative icon with decades of experience and innovation in an industry that set the stage for expectations of what a Vogue shoot should look like. Grace is a legend, and she has been able to express herself creatively in a job that merges the fashion world with the arts. Her editorial work is filled with magical vision, edge and romance – that’s why she has always been my favorite creative director at Vogue.
To make a long story short, I asked her to sign my notebook. She looked up at me with a meek smile and a look of surprise to be noticed, grabbed my notebook, asked me my name, scribbled a bit on the paper and said, “It was great meeting you, Nicole.”
Here are a few pictures from some of my favorite Grace Coddington shoots while she was at Vogue:
Vogue December 2009 – The Enchanted: Hansel & Gretel
Vogue, September 2009 – Little Red Riding Hood
Vogue April 2005 – Once Upon a Time
Vogue 2003- Alice in Wonderland. This shoot featured model Natalia Vodianova as Alice, along with several fashion designers modeling as the characters Alice meets on her way through Wonderland (John Galliano in the flamingo picture). Genius!
Grace is great at spotting trends before they happen and the photo above is an example of just that. Marc Jacob’s notorious 1992 grunge collection that got him fired from Perry Ellis. This is the famous, Grunge shoot in 1992 that shocked the fashion world but eventually paved the way for 90s grunge as we know it.
I’ll end with a few quotes by Grace: