Britain’s fashion stars were out in force to celebrate the homecoming of legendary editor Grace Coddington at Central Saint Martins’ shiny new Kings Cross campus. Following a champagne reception, the auburn-haired former model gave a talk, along with fashion writer and Vogue colleague Sarah Mower, to promote the release of her autobiographical book, Grace: A Memoir.
“On the first day that The September Issue came out, I stepped out of my front door and someone screamed my name,” said the reluctant celebrity. “It was completely unexpected. I was in complete denial that anyone would recognise me afterwards, but I’m always met with a very charming response, so I’m kind of lucky in that I’m not like some of those poor celebrities that get hounded or get their love lives watched. I’m too old for that.”
Phoebe Philo, Christopher Kane, Erdem Moraliaglu, Hussein Chalayan, Roksanda Ilincic and Luella Bartley, all CSM alumni, were just some of the designers that attended the bash, where the septuagenarian signed copies of her book. Just the day before, she signed 600 copies at Browns.
“I don’t read books, I just look at magazines,” admitted Coddington. “My sister used to get Vogue and I used to sneak it away and pore over the pages. It was a thing that you could look at and dream. The pages opened up another world that I barely knew existed.”
As for her relationship with the yin to her yang, Anna Wintour, she spoke of the moment she bagged the job as creative director at Vogue: “As luck would have it, one day I picked up WWD and it said that Anna Wintour had been appointed editor-in-chief of American Vogue. I’d been friends with her for a long time, since she lived here [in London],” recalled Coddington. “So I called her up from my desk at Calvin Klein and I said, ‘Oh, congratulations, that’s really fantastic. Would you ever consider me coming to be a fashion editor on American Vogue?’ She asked to meet at six o’clock for dinner at Da Silvano to discuss and so I went and at five past six she had hired me.”
As for Pumpkin, Coddington’s famous cat and Balenciaga muse, the fashionable feline has been up against stiff competition recently. “Pumpkin and Choupette haven’t met yet,” she told Hint separately. “Pumpkin has never even travelled transatlantic, but I do think Choupette is very cute. It was actually my boyfriend [Didier Malige] who gave her to Karl.”