After working as a stylist for more than 30 years, concocting some of the most iconic images in fashion, Grace Coddington is finally ready for her own close-up.
BY MARK HOLGATE
Perhaps that old adage about never working with animals and children didn't make it to the fashion world. Or perhaps the fashion world, typically willful, just chose to ignore it. Whatever the case, the creative director of Vogue, Grace Coddington, and photographer Arthur Elgort seem blissfully unworried as they corral four children under the age of 12 and one palomino into their remake of Annie Get Your Gun. Re-creating the Wild West at an East Hampton horse farm, Vogue's version of the musical stars models Carmen Kass (as Annie Oakley) and Patrick Sullivan (as Frank Butler), a Buffalo Bill look-alike (whose method acting extends to turning up in an Annie Get Your Gun T-shirt, circa the Bernadette Peters years), and racks and racks of Ralph Lauren clothes.
It's only eleven in the morning, but already the heat is fierce. Coddington -- the British model who swung with the best of 'em in sixties London before becoming the fashion world's best-known stylist (Vogue editor Anna Wintour calls her "our jewel in the crown") -- is in her element. "This is the kind of story I love to do," she says, taking shelter under a canopy. Coddington is dressed in white shirt and pants accessorized with flat Prada sandals and an Hermès fishing hat, which shields her alabaster skin and Titian hair from the sun. She sits furiously sketching out the story in her notebook while Elgort nibbles at slices of watermelon. "We're aiming to shoot at Gary Cooper time," he says, sinking his teeth into the fruit. "High noon."
The door of the location van swings open, and Carmen Kass swaggers out in a fringed skirt, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat. Elgort gives her the once-over. "Who would have known that a girl from Estonia would be playing Annie Oakley?" he asks. Sullivan trails after her, wearing a shiny vintage Western suit whose provenance suggests San Antonio rather than Savile Row. "Man," he says, mopping his brow, "you can tell this is made of polyester."
By now, all of the assembled cast -- Kass, Sullivan, the kids, and the horse -- are being arranged for a group shot. To get everyone in the mood, Betty Hutton and Howard Keel are belting out the score's finest moments from the sound system of an SUV parked nearby. Elgort calmly moves around trying to find the best light while Coddington keeps one eye on those being photographed and the other on Elgort. "Have you changed the camera?" she asks as he clicks away. "No, no, no," he says, straightening up. "We've got the shot. It looks beautiful."
Getting the shot is everything in the fashion world, and it's something that Grace Coddington has always been pretty adept at. How adept is best judged by taking a look at her forthcoming book, an outsize tome titled Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue, which samples some of the visual treats she has concocted in her 30-plus years as a fashion editor. In addition to Arthur Elgort, just about anyone who ever picked up a Hasselblad in the name of fashion is represented: Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz, Ellen von Unwerth, Steven Klein, Helmut Newton. The result is an amazing narrative of fashion over the past four decades, everything from Newton's images of louche seventies poolside parties to Weber's turquoise-and-petticoats visions of the American West in the eighties right through to Leibovitz's quintessentially nineties cocktail of fame and fashion, starring Puff Daddy, Kate Moss, and a gazillion dollars' worth of haute couture gowns. And all of it was styled by Grace Coddington, the woman who has done more to create the template for the contemporary-fashion story than anyone else in the industry.
The book will be released on September 15 by Editions 7L, the publishing company co-owned by Karl Lagerfeld. Coddington has already been fêted with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CFDA in June, and with a party at Lagerfeld's gallery on the rue de Lille in Paris during the July couture shows. This latter shindig preceded an intime dinner for 60 at the designer's Left Bank apartment, where Lagerfeld tangoed with Oscar de la Renta, and Manolo Blahnik got on the dance floor despite an injured leg. Blahnik, a friend of Coddington's since their days together as members of the London jet set, snapped up six copies at the party and calls it "the best fashion book ever." (Despite his reservations about its size: "It weighs kilos. It's not what I'd call light.")
It's also a book that may help answer that million-dollar question: What exactly does a fashion editor do? "They all ask me that," Coddington says with a sigh. She has invited me over to her office, on the twelfth floor of the Condé Nast building in Times Square. She shares it with her assistant, Jessica Diehl, framed images from previous shoots stacked on the floor, and, on her desk, a fifties-retro cat lamp -- an indication of her love of all things feline (she has four Chartreux cats) -- that she picked up in the Hamptons for $20. "Of course, choosing the clothes to shoot is part of it, but it's also much more than that," she says. "It's playing with everyone's personalities and making sure that everything is jelling. When I'm on top of a mountain with a photographer who doesn't want to shoot something because it doesn't look sexy, and the magazine wants it in the issue -- at that point, I'm the one who has to keep everyone motivated."
Coddington has even been immortalized in Absolutely Fabulous, when fashion director Patsy Stone, played by Joanna Lumley, referred to Coddington, her idol, as "Fash. Ed. Supreme." While the show might have mined Coddington's past for inspiration for Stone's character -- British model turns fashion editor -- it's safe to say that this is where the similarity ends. Coddington is quiet and reserved, her cool demeanor shot through with a dry wit and a self-deprecating sense of humor. ("In the top ten British models of the sixties . . . I was probably No. 10.") Yet she's also blessed with what her friend Michael Roberts, fashion editor of The New Yorker, calls "the personality of a Brontë heroine; she has this absolute will, a quiet determination." In his view, she often has to play the "benevolent despot" when she's working. "She could move in diplomatic circles," he says. "Most photographers are unbearable egotists who couldn't care less about the fashion. She never loses sight of the clothes. She always sees the whole picture."
Elgort, who has worked with Coddington for most of her career, says that on set, she's "tireless -- she doesn't stop until it's over. And you don't argue with her, because she's usually right." He remembers being in China with Coddington and the model Linda Evangelista in the early nineties. "We came across this lake with local fishermen on their boats, like little junks. Grace decided she wanted a shot with Linda on one of their boats on the lake. The tour guide who was with us tried it first; he couldn't stand upright on the boat and said, 'It can't be done.' Well, that didn't please Grace. 'Sure is a great place for a shot,' she said, looking at me and the guide. Linda came out of the location van and saw that Grace wasn't happy. 'What's wrong?' Linda asked. So Grace told her. 'Is the shot a spread?' asked Linda. 'Yes,' said Grace. 'It's a spread.' Well," says Elgort, "Linda stayed upright on that boat for ten minutes, and we got the shot. Never say never to Grace Coddington."
Not that it's always appreciated. "I got told off today for being uncompromising," Coddington says. "Actually, they called me ungrateful and then they changed it to uncompromising. I think that's the secret to my career: If you give in, you don't get perfection." She amends that: "I don't get close to perfection now, really, but if you give in, then you'll never get anywhere near it." Sophie Hicks, an architect who was Coddington's assistant at British Vogue in the eighties, recalls that after one of Coddington's stories came in to the art department, her boss would go there every day to monitor how it was being laid out in the magazine. "She'd come back to her desk," says Hicks, "and say, 'Well, he's nearly got it right. I'll check on it again tomorrow.' And if the truth be told, she could lay out her pictures better than anyone else."
By all accounts, she's just as demanding when it comes to fashion. Roberts says that unlike many of her contemporaries, Coddington doesn't "chain herself to the wagon of trends. They're anathema to her. Grace integrates the latest clothes into whatever vision she has of her story. And she can sit through a fashion show -- sketching everything -- and she'll pick the most important outfit." In the fashion world, this ability to divine the look is not to be dismissed. "She's often onto new ideas before the designers are," says Wintour. When she was at British Vogue, says Calvin Klein, "she was the first European fashion editor to appreciate American design."
Coddington lived in Klein's clothes in the early eighties: "Everything she wore was a shade of beige," Hicks says. After that, she went through an Azzedine Alaïa phase. "Most fashion editors don't wear the clothes they shoot for their magazines," says Hicks. "But Grace wore her pages; she'd live them, and then she'd move on to something new." These days, she wears Helmut Lang or Calvin Klein, in ascetic combinations of black or white. Anything that hasn't been worn for six months is discarded. "And then," she says wryly, "I go out and buy the same thing all over again." She doesn't share fashion's obsession for vintage in her wardrobe or her work; says photographer Craig McDean, who has just started shooting with Coddington for Vogue, "She's always interested in fashion now."
Fashion, however, looms large in her personal history. Born in 1941, Coddington was raised on Anglesey, an island just off the coast of Wales. "I ordered Vogue every month from the local store," she says. "Sometimes it arrived, and sometimes it didn't. For me, the magazine represented an amazing fantasy world of sophistication and grown-ups. I dreamt of getting away from the tiny place I was raised." So as soon as she could, she set off to London. "I thought London would be full of these amazing-looking women . . . God, I remember thinking that if I ever got to be one of those women, it would change everything," she says. "That was my dream -- it was always my desire to be an incredibly elegant woman."
She entered the British Vogue Model Contest in April 1959 and took first prize in the quaintly titled "Young Idea" category. "She is a radiant girl with sparkling looks," enthused Vogue. "She lives in Putney; is a waitress and part-time model. We think she'll do more modeling than waiting." The prognosis was not unanimous. She had attended the Cherry Marshall modeling school, where, she recalls, they told her, "You don't have blonde hair, and you're not very pretty."
Winning the contest got her an introduction to photographer Norman Parkinson, who championed her at the magazine (and later acted as her mentor when she went to work there as a fashion editor). But her career nearly came to an untimely end when, in the early sixties, she was involved in a car crash in London. As a result of this, Coddington had plastic surgery to graft skin onto her left eyelid, an episode she is reticent about. "Luckily they found my eyelashes," she comments, simply, in Grace. By the time she'd fully recovered, Mary Quant and her miniskirts were shaking things up, and Coddington was not going to be left behind. "Vidal Sassoon started giving me these geometric haircuts. He was in that very tight circle of people that were happening in London. There was Vidal, Mary Quant, photographers like David Bailey and Terrence Donovan, and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones -- and I knew all of them," she remembers. "And suddenly it didn't matter that I wasn't a pretty blonde."
"It's interesting with Coddington," says Vidal Sassoon. (Incidentally, in a groovy throwback to the sixties, he always refers to her as Coddington.) "You take those perfect-looking girls -- Jean Shrimpton, say -- that haircut wouldn't have worked on them. With Coddington's bone structure, and that sense of herself, she had something beyond beauty."
Photographer David Montgomery took a portrait of her that resulted in a starkly graphic, almost Pop Art image; Sassoon remembers it adorning the wall of the sixties London hot spot the White Elephant. It was this photograph that Manolo Blahnik pinned to his wall when he was 16 and "mesmerized" by her. He wasn't alone; most of sixties London was mesmerized, too. "She was a huge celebrity in that world, an incredible beauty," says Wintour. "I was in awe of her."
Yet she began to feel that it was time to move on. In 1969, Coddington married restaurateur Michael Chow and went to work at Vogue. She partied with the fashionable faces that often ended up in her stories. Sometimes she turned up in the stories herself: "I think I worked with Helmut Newton more times than I did when I was a model." The seventies went by -- Coddington and Chow divorced, and she married photographer Willie Christie and raised her nephew Tristan after her sister Rosemary died. Coddington experimented with new ideas and designers, becoming what Hicks describes as "an international fashion figure -- but one who was still based in the then very parochial world of British fashion."
That was soon to change. In 1986, Calvin Klein asked her to come to New York to work with him. And her boyfriend, hairstylist Didier Malige, whom she is still with, was living in New York. "Tristan had grown up and was independent, and I was free to do whatever I wanted," she recalls. "Suddenly I had this offer from Calvin. And I thought, Well, I can stay at British Vogue for another twenty years, or I can change and see where this takes me." She came to New York in early 1987, and she and Bruce Weber set to work on Klein's advertising. "She worked on some of the best campaigns we've ever done," says Klein, including the original Eternity ads with Christy Turlington. But Coddington was longing to return to magazines. "In the end," says Klein, "her passion was for working with photographers and doing her stories."
"I love Calvin," Coddington says. "He taught me so much about living in America. But I missed being all over the place and seeing a lot of different people." Arthur Elgort maintains that Coddington needed to return to being a fashion editor because she "likes to sit in the front row and see what's going on. She missed sketching the clothes and dreaming about the fashion."
By this time, it was 1988 and Anna Wintour had been appointed editor of U.S. Vogue. She jumped at the chance to bring Coddington back into the fold. "I was over the moon when she came to the magazine," says Wintour. "Her vision was and is very close to mine. We both admired the same photographers, and we both liked to see a certain romance in fashion stories -- that the model should look pretty and not dour and depressing." Coddington says that her dogmatic nature about what she thinks is right means that before every shoot, she and Wintour "have this game of pushing each other as far as we can. I do say, 'Why do we have to go through this every time?' But it's crucial to do it; it's that process which makes a story work really well."
Coddington's time at Calvin Klein did, however, leave a lasting impression on her. "I didn't really enjoy the merchandising side of working at Calvin," she says. "But I realized that if you don't sell it, then there's no point in making it. Now I feel the same about fashion pictures. I used to say, 'Let's just go for the shot -- if it's not right, then at least we'll have done it.' But if a photo's not printed, it doesn't have any validity. People have said to me, 'Oh, you're doing a book -- you'll run all the pictures that never got published.' But you know what? I'm not. I felt that there's something funny about them; I don't remember them at all. You go back to find the picture that you cared so much about and think, Why did I make such a fuss about it?" Coddington starts to laugh. "Then you have to admit that they were right. Goddamn it."
i love.. L.O.V.E.. her works, she's truly my fav editor/stylist! I used to assist her previous assistant and she would tell me inspiring stories abt Grace Coddington.. and tonight, i just met her in person in the subway station!! whoaaa.. i still can't believe myself, im starstruck.. she's awesome in person, down-to-earth.. still can't believe it.. just wanna share this with you all =) *happy as a bird*
Grace Coddington at the Clic Gallery. Pictures Betty for MDC.
We make no secret of our love of Grace Coddington (and cats!) so we headed down last night to Clic Gallery to pick up a copy of “The Catwalk Cats” (2006), signed by Grace herself, to benefit the Animal Rescue Fund. Filled with Grace’s delightful drawings and wonderfully witty musings combined with Didier’s pleasing pictures, the book is not only a priceless peek into their fabulous lives with Puff, Coco, Henri, Baby and Bart but a poignant tribute to the importance of animals not just as our pets but as members of a loving family. Below the pictures, some of our favorite pages (and there were many) from the book.
Hello to everyone! I'm new on this forum. And must say I really love to read posts and different threads here.
So, I've decided to write my first post here,…
The one and only reason is that I really respect Grace and love her job. I've watched The September Issue and must say that never really loved Anna W. but I've definitely changed my mind about Grace. If it wasn't for her, US Vogue wouldn't be as half of what it is now.
THE LEGENDARY CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF AMERICAN VOGUE DID NOT CO-OPERATE IN THE MAKING OF ‘THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE’,
A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE MOST POWERFUL MAGAZINE IN FASHION.
SO WHY IS SHE THE FILM’S SURPRISE STAR?
Grace Coddington has been a fashion stylist for over four decades, making her one of the most experienced in the industry, and is the creative director of American Vogue, making her one of the most powerful. Nevertheless, she rarely gives interviews and dislikes media attention: ‘I just want to get on with my job,’ she says. So when documentary-maker RJ Cutler and his film crew arrived at Vogue’s New York headquarters to trail the magazine’s creative team for an entire nine months, she refused to take part. But six months in, she was persuaded to take part by Anna Wintour, American Vogue’s editor in chief who first brought her to the magazine 21 years ago. It is the fascinating and frequently confrontational relationship between the two women that forms the central narrative of the resulting documentary, The September Issue,
which is released this September. COS: Why did you not want to take part in filming for The September Issue?
GC: Well, I really don’t like publicity and I never seek it. Anna’s always doing interviews: there’s always a camera in the building somewhere, and I’m always avoiding it. So the idea that a camera crew were coming into Vogue for nine months horrified me. For the first six months I closed my door and got on with my job within my office. Which was kind of awkward, because a lot of the time my job involves going to the art department, going to Anna. People react differently when there’s a camera there; some things you can’t say. So I refused to speak to Anna unless they were kept out of her office. What made you change your mind?
When we started shooting the stories that were going to run in the September issue of Vogue, Anna basically put a gun to my head and said, ‘They’re coming along with you.’ (Laughs) And I said, ‘Well, you will hear things you don’t want to hear. I will do things that perhaps you don’t like. That’s how I work, and I’m not gonna change. And I swear like a trooper too! On your head be it.’ It was not something I agreed with, but I had to do it because she pays my wages. The first shoot was with [Steven] Meisel and he doesn’t allow camera crews, so I was like, phew! But on every other shoot we did, no one had the balls to say no to the crew. You look like you got on with the film crew though. You even had one of them modelling in a shoot!
Well, having seen them for six months… they’re extremely nice people. They’re funny and real, and have done very serious political documentaries, not Survivor-type reality TV. So I was like, OK, if you’re gonna come along with me, you’d better be friends. You’d better come out for a drink with me afterwards and do what I do with anyone else I’d work with. Considering you didn’t get involved till the end I was surprised how much screen time you got?
Well, me too! Ninety per cent of what they filmed was without me, but it’s amazing what you can do in the editing. On the rare occasions when I have been interviewed I always get cut out of the movie. But this film ended up being about my relationship with Anna, largely. And the final line of the film is Anna’s verdict on you, calling you a genius.
I was amazed she said that on film! I’m incredibly flattered and I really do respect her enormously. That’s the reason I’ve worked with her such a long time. I mean, I argue with her, as you’ve seen! But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect her. How did you feel about the film when you saw it?
I think they did a really great job; I like it and it really made me laugh. But in the way it’s edited they focused on one small narrative. In film terms it makes a story, but there are an awful lot of people who work at Vogue besides myself and Anna [who you don’t see], and Anna does an awful lot of things besides just talking about shoes. So I think maybe she was a little disappointed that they didn’t show other aspects of what she does and what Vogue does. Were you surprised someone was going to such lengths to make a documentary about Vogue? Yes I was! Although in the world of magazines I think Vogue is quite high-ranking. So I guess if you’re going to make a documentary about a magazine, Vogue’s as good as any. As high-end fashion has enjoyed a broader audience in recent years, have you noticed a growing public curiosity about what goes on at Vogue?
Withering) There’s a growing curiosity about how many times people go to the bathroom. Honestly… there’s an incredible curiosity about the inside of everything. Everyone wants to see what the inside of actresses’ houses looks like, so what do they do? They bring in some stylist to jazz up the apartment, and then they photograph them in there which is somewhat unreal. But I think what you see in The September Issue is nitty-gritty real. I think it’s interesting that it comes out around the same time as the Valentino movie [Valentino: The Last Emperor], where everything is incredibly, unreally beautiful. In recent years we’ve had several comprehensive behind-the-scenes fashion films – Loïc Prigent’s documentaries on Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and Marc Jacobs at Vuitton, for example… It’s very different from the days when fashion was created always behind closed doors and the final spectacle was all that mattered. Well there are so many fashion films like, dare I say it, The Devil Wears Prada – which honestly people should stop comparing to this one, because it bears no resemblance; one’s fiction, the other’s reality. I think [the makers of The September Issue] have depicted fashion in a good way and made the people in it look somewhat real and serious as opposed to stupid airheads. That was another reason why I was worried about it, because every single movie made about fashion makes fashion look stupid. Prêt-à-Porter made fashion look completely ridiculous. Which it is not. It’s something that makes people feel good, or should. I’ve been doing it all my life so I get upset when I see those really stupid, stupid movies. I thought the Marc Jacobs documentary was very good and very funny, though. These days stylists wield as much power in the fashion industry as designers, but back when you were working on British Vogue in the Sixties and Seventies, stylists didn’t even get credited. Why do you think stylists are so much in the spotlight now?
It’s this whole era of celebrity. Everybody is a celebrity. So all the backstage people now have come front of stage. And then there’s the gullible public, who just want a little bit of whatever about anyone. Their appetite is insatiable. It’s really extraordinary. They made a documentary about Annie Leibovitz a few years ago and every time I went to shoot with her there’d be a camera in my face! I was so furious, and I had so many arguments where I said, please don’t do this or I’m just not gonna work with you any more – I can’t deal with trying to behave like a normal person on camera! Annie’s not an easy person to work with, so you are so stressed, and to have a camera record all this on top was impossible. But it’s what happens now. Everything is recorded. Every time you go in the studio these days there’s a film crew recording what’s called ‘the B-roll’. Certainly if you shoot covers – which thank God I almost never do, because they’re all of celebrities and I hate celebrities – you get [that celebrity’s] B-roll crew that comes along too. You’re trying to find the picture and there’s a camera in your face. For the photographer it’s very inhibiting. But that’s how it is these days, everybody wants to see everything. Before every movie you see behind the scenes of the movie. And you’re not seeing reality, you’re seeing a faked reality. It’s ridiculous. Get back to reality. Everybody go home and we can have a few less magazines and less of all this trash. You’re well known for your vociferous dislike of celebrity. Do you prefer working with models because they do a specific job – playing a role in a fantasy that you create?
Well, celebrities certainly don’t make that job any easier. Normally they dictate the dates, the hair, the make-up, the photographer, what they will or won’t do. That’s a little inhibiting. And they’re not the same shape as a model: often they’re much shorter, so you got to get something made specially and usually you don’t have the time. Also you’re restricted by their public persona. You’re not creating a character.
Exactly. They want to look like themselves. There’s no point shooting a celebrity and making her look like somebody else. Although actually that’s what actors are supposed to do – they play somebody else. That’s if they’re any good as an actor. Most of the ones that go on the cover are the ones that only play themselves and promote themselves and that’s why everybody wants to know about them, and why they’re on the cover. But I’m not the poor ****er who has to deal with it. I’m lucky, I deal mostly with models and that’s the way I’d like it to remain for the next however long I’m working. In the film you complain about the way shooting fashion stories has changed over the years. What change do you dislike most?
What I don’t like is shooting on digital. With digital cameras comes a whole new concept, a whole new group of people and a whole new dynamic. Everybody thought it would be much cheaper and quicker and more efficient, but in fact what happens is that it entails a huge crew. And with that huge crew you lose a bit of personality. I don’t think the process is perfected yet. And there’s no chance of accidents. And everybody’s working on retouching before they’ve even taken the picture. On digital shoots photographers often pay more attention to the image on the computer monitor than to the model.
Yes, it totally skews it. They’re saying, oh I’ll take that head and put it on that body and so on. They’re not just focused on taking the picture. They’re already editing. And they’re not editing alone ’cause everybody can see it and they’ve all got their own opinion. And I’m guilty too! It’s funny, I was photographed the other day for the first time by someone using a digital camera, and it was so odd to have three or four people jumping up and down going, move to the left! No, move to the right! And the photographer said nothing except, ‘Oh that’s nice.’ When I was a model way, way back, it was very different. The photographer would lock everybody out of the room, including the [fashion] editor, and just get on and take the picture, which was his picture 100 per cent. But now a picture is done by a team. I don’t know if it makes it worse. It’s supposed to make it better! (Laughs) It makes it different is all I can say. In my experience. Which has been some years. And now when someone works in non-digital I’m totally confused. ‘Er, er, er… I can’t see a picture!’ There’s not many. Bruce Weber’s about the only one I know. The role of the stylist has certainly become elevated in the years since you worked uncredited at British Vogue. Totally elevated. It’s become ridiculous. Ridiculous? Do you think?
Oh, come on. The photographer should be the star. Not the [fashion] editor. We bring the clothes and we hope like hell it’ll look pretty! We’re not there to discuss whether the arm should be up, down or sideways. We are now but really… I wish the photographer could just get on and take the picture and not be distracted by all of us waving our arms and having an opinion. Do you think the expectations of the stylist’s role has changed?
I think more responsibility is laid on our shoulders, yeah. Because if the pictures are no good it’s 50 per cent your fault. Which it didn’t use to be. Before it was, ‘Oh my god, he’s a bad photographer.’ Now it’s, ‘What the hell did you think you were doing?’ You mentioned in the film that your job gets harder and harder. But you must still love it to keep doing it.
Aah… (Pause) Well I need to pay the bills. (Laughs) No, I do. It still interests me. It’s never dull. That’s why I like it. I don’t think I could work in a bank; I might just get bored. Fashion keeps evolving, and the people change all the time, and that’s what I think is remarkable and great. ‘The September Issue’ is out September 11
I read it in COS magazine. And she's really down to earth. I like how she's not really politically correct.
I'm glad she's not one of those who wants to be part of the big "Transparency" trend Fashion is facing those years.
Good graceious she's so beautiful in her modelling days I've just watched The Sept Issue. She truly is a modest person in an industry centralized on glamour, who puts in lots of passion and artistic value into her works rather than the whole glossy element just to make something attractive. and that female Karl version of the mouse kubrick in her office (I don't know what that is, just my interpretation)
Thanks MissMagAddict for the interview. I wish they were allowed to film at Meisel's photoshoot...
I'm another one of those who learned of her existence through The September Issue and I'm fascinated by how anti-fashion she is in terms of how she always wore the same outfit, no make-up etc., but then again anti-fashion is really the last adjective I could attribute to her. What personality. She completely stole the show.