A Memoir

By Grace Coddington with Michael Roberts

Random House. 333 pp. $35

Vogue creative director Grace Coddington offers a fresh and down-to-Earth perspective on a world known for its glamour and celebrity: the fashion industry. Famous for upstaging controversial editor in chief Anna Wintour with her candor in the 2009 fashion documentary “The September Issue,” Coddington puts her passion for the art and beauty of fashion as well as her biting wit and frankness on display in her new memoir, “Grace.”

“Grace” portrays a life any fashionista would kill to have. Over the past five decades, Coddington has evolved from a 1960s British top model to a design director for Calvin Klein to a legendary creative director at Vogue. However, her seemingly charmed life has not been without tragedy, including a car accident that left her permanently disfigured, a miscarriage, two failed marriages, and the untimely loss of her father and sister. “At the hospital, they wouldn’t let me look in the mirror,” she writes about her injuries. “When James [her then-boyfriend] saw me, he nearly fainted.”

Most interesting is her dynamic partnership with Wintour. The melding of their two personalities — Wintour’s journalistic and business savvy combined with the author’s passion, creativity and whimsy, have helped Vogue become the bible of fashion.  

’Grace: A Memoir’ by Grace Coddington. (Random House)

Worth the price of the book alone are her juicy and revealing encounters with fashion’s elite: models, designers, photographers and stylists — anyone who is anyone in the fashion world. In addition, the author’s quirky and creative pencil illustrations, including those depicting her beloved feline friends, make ”Grace” even more enjoyable.