Most ladies and gents don't read Vogue for actual shopping advice. The editorial spreads aren't meant to inspire you to go out to the local Givenchy boutique to pick up a few ballgowns or holographic leather jackets (but hey, if it does then absolutely go for it!). Instead they are meant to show the fantasy and fun of fashion. At least, that's the way Vogue's legendary creative director Grace Coddington sees them.
Coddington only recently left her position as American Vogue's creative director, a position she held from 1988 through 2015, to pursue other projects as a creative director at large, meaning she can work with all versions of Condé Nast publications including international editions. During her tenure at the infamous publication, Coddington helped create some of the most iconic fashion images with her ultra-romantic styling and fantastical view on the power of fashion in imagery.
She began her career in fashion at age 17 after winning the Young Model section of a Vogue modeling contest. Coddington modeled for the next nine years before a car crash at the age of 26 left her missing one eyelid. It was later fixed with reconstructive plastic surgery, but effectively ended her modeling prospects. She then met with Beatrix Miller, an editor at British Vogue who promptly hired her as a junior editor in 1969. Coddington worked at the British publication for 19 years before moving to New York to work briefly for Calvin Klein, and then at American Vogue.
Some of Coddington's work for Vogue. All images via Vogue.com
She has long been a influential figure in fashion but suddenly found herself something of an accidental celebrity after appearing in the 2009 documentary The September Issue. In the film she is portrayed as a foil to Anna Wintour, the two women pushing one another to create the best issue possible while simultaneously pushing one another's buttons. Both she and Wintour are excellent examples of strong and forceful working women without falling into the stereotype of being a "bitch", a label all too often forced upon women in high power positions.
Check back to see updates on Grace Coddington's work as a creative director at large.
- Coddington and Anna Wintour started on their careers at Vogue on the same day in 1988
- She was temporarily banned from Instagram after just one post — a cartoon of herself tanning topless
- As a teenager in rural Wales, Coddington got all her fashion magazines delivered almost 3 months late
- She recently launched her own fragrance which will be available in April 2016
- She adores cats, as everyone should
You've seen her all over Pinterest, Vouge.com, Refinery29, and basically every other fashion website you can think of. You may not have even realized half your "Wardrobe Wishes" Pinterest board is made up of snaps of her. But besides having the closet of your dreams, who exactly is Miroslava Duma?
To say it short and sweet (much like Duma herself), she is a Russian street style icon whose closet is the stuff of legend. Seriously, I would trade almost anything to be able to borrow from just her outwear collection. A lifelong fan of high fashion, Duma founded the website Buro 24/7 in 2008 with childhood friend Fira Chilieva. The website was started as a news forum for fashion obsessed Russians. To quote Duma, "We cover that Net-a-Porter is launching a magazine called The Edit. We interviewed Francis For Coppola when he was in Moscow. We don't write about Kim Kardashian." While her clothes and style may be fun and sometimes a little silly, Duma herself is all about business and takes the fashion industry seriously.
Since the launch of Buro 24/7, Duma had solidified her status as more than just a style icon. She is truly knowledgeable about more than just how to put together a great outfit. Duma knows the ins and outs of the fashion industry, as evidenced by the high quality work being turned out for Buro 24/7 as well as her work with TSUM, essentially the Russian Neiman Marcus, and Harper's Bazaar Russia, where she was a fashion editor. She hopes to take the fashion and media industries by storm and change the way we talk about and view fashion. She may be little (without her platform sandals Duma stands just over 5") but this woman has big plans and even bigger dreams, and with the success of Buro 24/7 I can't help but feel confident that she will succeed.
The first CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund finalist to be introduced to you is Aurora James and her line Brother Vellies.
James started her line, Brother Vellies, in 2013 with the goal of creating gorgeous shoes while providing sustainable jobs for people in Kenya, Namibia, and South Africa. The name of the brand comes from the traditional veldskoen, or vela, desert boots worn throughout many parts of Africa. In an interview with WhoWhatWear.com, the Canadian designer said it was only natural for her to create an eco-friendly brand because of her upbringing and her mother's environmental focus. As a landscape architect, James's mother taught her to always consider her effect on nature.
“When I originally applied for the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge last year, I actually didn’t think I would meet the qualifications, because I don’t make, like, hemp shoes. But then I read about it and realized we not only met the qualifications, we actually blew them out of the water. It made me realize that the bar of environmentalism and sustainability in fashion is actually really, really low, so if you just put in a little effort, you’ll actually be far ahead of the game.
“If you’re conscious of how much waste is being made in the industry, that should propel you then to make more sustainable choices. And at the end of the day, if you’re selling something that’s a designer item, it should come with the whole experience of luxury. Luxury doesn’t involve garbage; it involves beautiful, artisanal things that are meant to be kept for a long time, and that just comes with using better materials.”