Goodbye, Grace

by Hannah Donnelly

It feels like there have been many goodbyes in the past few weeks. Whether this is because of death or simply departure, we’re constantly reminded that time keeps moving and the world keeps spinning. Things change. So who is the latest person making an exit?

That would be Grace Coddington, the longtime creative director at American Vogue. The yin to Anna Wintour’s yang, Coddington began working at Vogue in 1988 as their fashion director and claimed the title of creative director in 1995. In 2002, the CFDA honored her with a Lifetime Achievement award for her work at Vogue. Coddington, very simply, is iconic. She and Wintour are the duo responsible for what American Vogue is today – an institution, an emblem.

Coddington and Wintour at a Zac Posen runway presentation in 2010 (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG)
Coddington on the cover of British Vogue, August 1962

In her youth, Coddington was a model. On the cover of a 1962 issue of British Vogue, Coddington’s trademark fiery locks (albeit a bit muted here) are styled in the perfect ’60s flip. Later she would move to the business side of fashion at this same magazine, holding the position of fashion editor and then photo editor for nineteen years. So, so many years of her life, it appears, have been dedicated to Vogue – American or otherwise. While Coddington has explained that she is not removing herself from the position or the magazine entirely, one can’t help but wonder how much the magazine will change without her full influence.

And what of Wintour? Is the world out of balance now that the ice queen and her fiery-haired, funky counterpart have been separated? There are so many things that could occur, so it’s hard to say. As I said previously, Vogue is an institution. Without the power and prestige it holds, there would be no The Devil Wears Prada or the stereotype of the fashion magazine in general. The next creative director will mark a potentially pivotal point in time. Whatever happens, this is bound to be an exciting (and potentially terrifying) time at American Vogue. I can’t wait to see what happens next. But in the meantime, I’ll go watch The September Issue again.



  1. Grace Coddington is a dedicated worker who poured her soul into the fashion world. It’s not often you see many models turn their career around and become a dedicated worker for the fashion industry. She was not just a pretty face, but a smart business woman. Vogue won’t be the same, but her hard work will forever be recognized. She should be looked up to as an icon of a hardworking woman who climbed her way up the ladder.

  2. The stepping down of Grace Coddington from her long time role at Vogue is huge. Not having her iconic influence will definitely change the magazine in ways we can’t even imagine. Hopefully vogue will keep its same greatly influential presence in the fashion world. I have a lot of faith in Anna Wintour keeping the magazine as incredible as ever, however I wonder if she will soon be stepping down as well now that she does not have Coddington by her side. I think this could potentially bring a new look to Vogue. There will be new opportunities for up and coming people in the fashion world to step up and have an influence on Vogue. Grace Coddington will always be remembered for her incredible creative influence on Vogue for so many years and I think many people will be holding their breath in anticipation for what the next step for Vogue will be.

  3. Grace Coddington leaving Vogue will most certainly be the end of an era. While it’s hard to imagine American Vogue without its “power couple” of Coddington and Wintour, it will most certainly be interesting to see what changes this brings to the magazine. It’s clear that the duo brought out the best in each other, so I can only imagine that replacing such a legend will be hard. It will be difficult to fill such big shoes; with such amazing work to look back on and find inspiration from coming from the predecessor and, hopefully, experience of their own, it will be clear to the replacement what it takes to make the magazine successful. Getting to that level without one of the greats, however, will be a whole new experience.

  4. Personally, I am very upset to see Grace Coddington leave Vogue. She has helped transform the magazine into what it is today and is a perfect partner to Anna Wintour. I am curious who they plan to have replace her, and how they will compare. It will be difficult to find someone new, but it could be a good thing to have a fresh mind on the Vogue team. I am sad to see Grace go, but somewhat excited to see who will take on her job next.

  5. I became a huge fan of Grace Coddington after watching the documentary, “The September Issue” a few years ago. As this article says, she is iconic, her work for the magazine is amazing and breathtaking. Watching her work on the shoots in The September Issue made me want to work for a magazine myself. It will be interesting to see how Vogue will change with her stepping down. Her presence in the magazine will be missed but I hope she will still have some influence.

  6. I could not believe this news when I heard about it. Grace Coddington has always been a big inspiration to me. No one has the special touch that she does. Finding someone to put in her position that can do just as good of a job, is going to be difficult. Not many people have the spunk that she does. It’s inspiring that she started as a model and ended up where she did. Seeing Grace do what she did for Vogue has always made me interested in the magazine end of fashion. I’m anxious to see how Vogue goes on without her special touch.

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