I'd recommend anyone buying "Grace", by Grace Coddington to first watch the documentary, "The September Issue". If you haven't seen it in the theater or rented it, you can view it for pay on Amazon. The movie is about the process of putting together the much storied September issue of "Vogue". It features editor Anna Wintour and is seconded by Grace Coddington - the fashion editor of the magazine.
Grace Coddington, who recently turned 70, is one of the most important people in fashion today. Beginning as a model in the swinging London of the 1960's, she moved into the production side of the industry as she aged. After stints with British "Vogue" and Calvin Klein in New York City, she went to work American "Vogue" in 1988 with Anna Wintour as editor. The two have set the pace for fashion ever since; Wintour who says "decisiveness" is her best virtue in editing the magazine and Coddington whose instinctive feel for both photography and fashion gives Wintour the pictures to be "decisive" about. In her book - sort of half memoir/half autobiography - Coddington looks at her life both in her professional and private worlds.
Coddington is fairly open - as far as I can tell - about the people she worked with in fashion. She's perhaps a little "nicer" in the book about her relationship with Wintour than she was in the documentary, but since they've worked hand-in-glove since 1988, they must get along pretty well. Coddington takes the reader behind the scenes of both the designer fashion shows reported on in "Vogue", as well as the fashion shoots she creates for the magazine. She uses both photographs and sweet pen-and-ink drawings to illustrate both her private and public lives. Since I was reading a pre-pub copy of the book due out in November, 2012, I couldn't get an exact sense of the "artiness" of the book. It SEEMED like it would be issued as a small coffee-table book with shiny paper. It'll be a beautiful book, in any case. The pictures are of her family and friends and some of the famous "shoots" she's set up for Vogue. Also interesting are the pictures of Coddington's modeling career. She's not a conventional beauty, but had one of the most unique looks in the business.
I really cannot recommend the book to general interest readers. I can, however, heartily recommend it to any reader even tangentially interested the world of fashion. Coddington has produced, with the help of writer Michael Roberts, a fascinating look at fashion today.