This Christmas I was beyond excited to learn that Grace Coddington’s memoir, Grace was finally hitting the shelves. I quickly ordered the book and over the next few weeks began digesting the bright orange volume. After falling in love with Grace from The September Issue, I couldn’t wait to read a more in-depth account of her life. Of course Grace would have all these profound thoughts on living a creative life and being an artist of sorts, right? Well sadly, I’m left a bit underwhelmed. Her memoir is overwhelmingly surface and gives little insight into her feelings of loss and triumph in her career. She had several highs and lows, but quickly glosses over each subject, one after another. One example that particularly stuck out in my mind,
“.. driving home one afternoon on a visit to London from Paris, I ran into an especially nasty bunch milling about outside my door … No matter how gently I tried inching my car through the mob, they grew more and more incensed until all of a sudden my little Mini, with me inside, was lifted off the ground and thrown heavily on it’s side. Although I wasn’t injured, I was seven months pregnant .. and the next day I suffered a miscarriage. This turned out to be the only time in my life that I was able to conceive. The incident was one of the most traumatic of my life.”
HEARTBREAKING right? Then literally the next paragraph she switches subjects and talks about how her and Albert (Grace’s boyfriend at the time) had purchased a new apartment in London, despite her frequent travels to Paris, and begins talking about one of their cats. How can his be one of the most traumatic events in your life, and you not talk about it? Isn’t that the point of a memoir – to talk about how you get through these events? I can’t imagine dealing an event like that, but it baffles me how Grace can touch on something so deep without any depth. There’s also a few stories about artists and designers she knew through the years, and Grace talks about how talented they were, and then they died of AIDS. Then onto next subject. I just don’t get it.
I wanted more. I’m sure she got paid a lot to write her memoir, but I was hoping for more Grace! It’s interesting that someone so highly regarded for being a talented storyteller in their professional life would chose to tell the story of their own life in this way. So many of my friends bought the book and just about every person working in fashion, and I wonder if they felt the same? For anyone else interested in the book – I’d suggest to settling with the September Issue, watching the HBO Documentary In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (which was great!), and enjoying her work in the glossy pages of Vogue.