December 14th, 2009
Grace Coddington, Creative Director and visionary of American Vogue, spoke with The Times recently about working at the iconoclastic fashion and culture magazine, her life and pursuit of her creative vision. A reluctant hero of this year’s documentary, “The September Issue,” Coddington embodies the always-on perfectionist and never-satisfied creative — a woman struggling to tell a relevant and rich, visual and visceral story in the context of vanity, ephemera and the superficial.
Art directors would be well served — and schooled — to study the photo shoots, spreads and narratives created by this brave and bold woman. The attention to detail and pursuit of the perfect shot make for incredible lessons in meticulous design and style. As the photo above illuminates she is truly in tune with the popular culture (yes, that is Lady Gaga), myth and fable, composition and lighting and capable of creating a scene of depth and meaning beyond a simple showcase of labels and luxe.
If you have yet to see the movie, I highly recommend “The September Issue” and if you’re unfamiliar with Grace Coddington’s work, pick up an issue of Vogue next time you’re in purchase range. Buy it, bookmark it, tear it up and study the photo spreads as if they were from a well-informed text book on seeing and storytelling. Teachers are out there, we simply need to open up to them from whichever direction they might come from.