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Grace Coddington, Vogue’s Creative Director Talks about The September Issue

Vogue's Creative Director Grace Coddington talks to Style.com about The September Issue, fighting with Anna Wintour and her favorite movie moment. Here are some of our favorite quotes. Read the full interview at Style.com.

You were reluctant to be in The September Issue. But you eventually decided to do it. Why?
I really wasn’t given an option, and I guess R.J. [Cutler, the director] noticed I was the only one who argued. I was even a bit spiky with them. And they wanted that dynamic. I still didn’t want to do it. It’s not what I do, but I gave in. These things do come back to haunt you.

Does the movie accurately portray life at Vogue?
It portrays a small part, I think. It showed the racks whizzing by. And it showed us all sneaking into the art department when no one is looking to see what pictures made it up on the board and how they’re jumping around. Everyone does that, though maybe I’m a bit more like a dog with a bone.

I think work is actually busier than it appears in the movie, more frantic. At the time we were shooting the September issue, we were doing shoots for Teen Vogue and Fashion Rocks out of the same office space. There were so many racks in the hall at one point I went on strike. They filmed that, but it didn’t make the cut.

I don’t think you’re made aware of quite how many fashion editors are working here, either. Phyllis [Posnick, Executive Fashion Editor], who you see in maybe one scene, has a very major role in the magazine, but she mostly works with Penn, who doesn’t allow cameras in the studio. Her contribution might be just one page in an issue, but it’s huge in making Vogue Vogue. And besides the Neiman’s breakfast and the Fashion Fund, you’re not given a sense of just how many huge extracurricular projects Anna’s always involved in, such as Fashion’s Night Out.

The New York Times characterized your most important relationship here as one like that between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. . . .

What I want to know is which one’s me. Anna’s the leader like Mick. I guess I’m Keith because I’m wrinkled. Seriously, though, a lot of people say Anna’s the business one and I’m the creative one. It’s not true. She’s the creative one. So many of the shoots I do start with her ideas. She was the creative director of Vogue before I was, after all. I also believe that everyone needs an editor. What she does is edit and make my work stronger.

What is your favorite moment in the movie?
I like the part when I’m walking past the feathers and spitting them out. And I loved the bit about André’s diamond tennis watch. I also like the cameos at the end—I hope people stay to watch that part, which comes after the credits have rolled by.

But my very favorite scene is when Raquel [Zimmermann, the model] was eating pies at the couture. She kept looking at them and saying she wanted one, while we were lacing her into this tiny corset and reminding her she wouldn’t fit if she ate one. So she didn’t eat them. . . . and she didn’t eat them. Then when the shoot was over she ate, like, a whole pie! It’s a funny scene, and she looks absolutely beautiful.

Photo: Didier Malige

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