Grace: ‘Anna Knows Exactly What Everyone Is Doing And Thinking’

Grace Coddington gets dishy in the latest issue of Interview, talking at length with friend (and recently departed Balenciaga designer) Nicolas Ghesquière about riding the New York subways (“I’m often sad that I only live three stops away from the office in Times Square”), signature frizzy red hair (“My look is always quite specific because I don’t like halfway things”), and favorite Vogue memories.

Ghesquière also manages to get a few morsels out of the creative director about her boss Anna Wintour. Here are our favorites:

On her tendency to be assigned the more, shall we say, whimsical stories:

“Anna always pigeonholes me into some romantic pigeonhole—you know, with a lot of pigeons and rabbits or whatever. You try to get a Balenciaga dress in there and it’s hard.”

On her first encounters with Anna in the early 1980s:

“I met Anna over at Joan [Juliet Buck]’s house a few times. But she was never very chatty at that point. And she was always . . . I couldn’t see her because she always had so much hair in front of her face.” [laughs]

On the conversation that got her the job at American Vogue:

“She had gone to work for House & Garden, but then I picked up Women’s Wear Daily one day and it said, ‘Anna Wintour is the new editor in chief of Vogue.’ We’d always kept in touch—Anna always wants to know what you’re doing, even if you’re not with someone or doing something. She keeps her eye on you. She’s super-smart like that. So I called her up to say congratulations on the job, and I suddenly thought, Maybe what I should do is go to American Vogue. But I thought she’d never have me because I kind of left before. So I was saying, you know, ‘Congratulations on the job,’ and I said half-joking, ‘You wouldn’t ever want me back, would you?’ And she said, ‘Meet me for a drink at six o’clock.’ So I said, ‘Okay,’ and then she hung up as she does. [laughs] But I remember going for the drink, and just as I pulled up my chair, she said, ‘Start on Monday—I’m starting on Monday.’ So I was like, ‘Fine. Thank you very much.’ And the rest is history.”

And as for whether Anna planned to hire her even before the call:

“I never asked. But I mean, Anna knows exactly what everyone is doing and thinking because everybody confides in her. Probably during one of our dinners I said something. But I also think that she wanted her team in there at Vogue. She wanted to change the magazine. She made that very evident.”


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