"Don't you just want to stay here forever?"

"This is like the BEST. THING. EVER!"

"O.M.G.!"

These were the sort of things that I heard from pretty much every person I bumped into at The Miu Miu London's ephemeral female member's club, which has just finished its glorious three day run at the Cafe Royal.  It takes a lot to really blow the minds of jaded industry figures, that populated most of the member's list but Miu Miu pulled out all the stops, ensuring that every detail.   

An open discourse in amongst likeminded women has been something that Miu Miu has been playing around with for a while.  They've hosted Miu Miu Musings events in New York and London and then they took their The Women's Tales film project to Venice Film Festival and bought together a group of diverse women in discussion.  A women's club was therefore a natural progression and appropriate for London, a city with a rich history of member's clubs going as far back as the 17th century.  Whilst female only member's clubs have existed before, they have traditionally been far outweighed by gentlemen's clubs and so Miu Miu sought to create a female orientated experience, one that seemed to fit the thinking that "The sprit of our time is not feminism, it's femininity" (overheard at the club‚Ķ)   

Pop magazine described it as a Disneyland for adult women and they're be right. (although plenty of guys seemed to enjoy it as well).  It was three days devoted to pleasure of the most stimulating sort – in food cooked by inspiring female culinary role models like April Bloomfield (of the Spotted Pig, Breslin etc) and Margot Henderson (of the Rochelle Canteen), in the aesthetics of the decor (whilst the interiors are all Cafe Royal's own, the furniture was entirely designed and provided by Miu Miu), in the gathering of friends as members could bring their own guests in (males were allowed as guests) and of course in the visual and physical consumption of fashion evident in the sculptural installations in the hallways and the shop on the top floor where spring summer 13 and resort pieces can be bought.  Still, the shop wasn't the main focus of The Miu Miu London.  A decadent bar on the ground floor, the secondary lounge and terrace overlooking Regent Street from in-between the grand columns of the facade and the restaurant were the main social hubs with food, drink and attentive service flowing freely (quite literally free – every morsel and liquid I consumed there was ¬£0) from all parts.  It doesn't take much for me.  Copious amounts of tea by day and vodka at night, good wifi, delicious food and cushy chaise lounges is a surefire recipe to all round contentment.  

IMG_9607It's good to see Cafe Royal restored to its former glory because I do remember coming to many a cheesy party here when it was a night club in the early millennium. 

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IMG_9610IMG_9611Stephen Jones' window display using the Miu Miu 2013 resort collection to form hats.

IMG_9616Vivienne Westwood's window featuring sculpture work by Joe Rush.

IMG_9606Fell in love with these S/S 13 denim (and satin-lined) trapeze jackets worn well by Aurelie and Charmaine who worked the check-in desk.

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I liked that the limited product that Miu Miu were shilling were collaborations with other designers.  Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones were given free rein of the window displays and also co-designing product with Miu Miu, with all proceeds going to Cool Earth and Macmillan Cancer Support.  Jones designed a dress made out of that desirable S/S 13 dark denim and Vivienne Westwood created t-shirts, fronted by her Climate Revolution slogan and backed by recognisable prints from past Miu Miu collections.  I had to snap up the S/S 10 pale blue cat print tee for pure posterity's sake as I chickened out of buying anything from the highly memorable chick-fest of swallows, nudes and pastel loveliness.

IMG_9568Stephen Jones' denim dress, a surprising choice for the milliner.  

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IMG_9710Vivienne Westwood and Miu Miu's multi-back tees limited to 45 in total.

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Conversation was an integral part of the event with discussions taking place each day in the more serious and cerebral Conversation Room.  Actress Bonnie Wright showed her short film on the first day.  Stephen Jones was interviewed by journalist Alice Rawsthorne last night. I attended the conversation about female role models conducted by The Gentlewoman editor in chief Penny Martin and Shala Monroque.  It was a fascinating insight into the way women projected their hopes, dreams and aspirations through their role models.  Artists, chefs, designers and journalists all nominated their role model and qualities ranging.  Fearlessness came out on top as a popular quality.  We then began to discuss the burdens of being a role model or having one to compare yourself to.  I itched for the conversation to be longer but it was definitely a stimulating dialogue to listen to.  

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IMG_9700Penny Martin and Shala Monroque's conversation about female role models. 

IMG_9717April Bloomfield's crab salad, which I was trying to eat without getting into a tangle with the long leafy fronds.  Kate Moss and Jamie Hince were sitting on the table next to us which made for a surreal experience.

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Despite my wanting to give Miuccia a giant bear hug for her generosity, my burning question that has been plaguing my mind is "Why???"  In all reality, this wasn't a direct exercise to lure consumers in although it has generated events/party press with so many celebrities flitting in and out.  VIP customers were I believe given membership too but by my reckoning, this was mostly an event restricted to those that are "friends" of Miu Miu or fashion press.  A cynic would say that this member's club has buttered up the press forevermore and yet upon second thought, Prada and Miu Miu have never been difficult brands to lavish love upon, straddling creativity and commerce with aplomb.  This was decadent branding done extremely well.  Miu Miu isn't a brand that needs to create splashy, free-for-all extravaganzas.  The "Shhhhh‚Ķ. I've got a secret" feeling that an event like this generates, is in itself an unquantifiable and invaluable asset and perhaps further fuels desire within customers who do get wind of the club.  

One of my favourite rules on the little rule card that came in the membership pack was "Photography and sharing is strictly encouraged."  So here I am, sharing away and likewise the accompanying website has been regularly updated with video streams, Instagram pics, quotes and tidbits relating to the club, which allows everyone to partake even if they can't physically be there themselves.  This heady post of gold, gilt, shocking pink, accessories and food is the sort of aesthetic haven I don't mind gorging on, even if it's just through JPGs.  Therefore I can only conclude that what was an essentially industry-only club has evidently garnered positive after effects and once again, Miuccia has added depth and shade to the way an event can be conceived, conducted and publicised as a significant "happening".  I can't even grumble about the brevity of The Miu Miu London.  Its temporal nature is precisely what made the hours spent there so brilliantly memorable.   When it rolls out to other cities (I hear Tokyo is up next?), it will be interesting to see how it unfolds in different cultural contexts.  

>> Ever since I worked with Smythson on a few guest posts on their blog and visited their factory in Wiltshire to get some Style Bubble stationery made up using all the manual techniques that make onlookers go "Oooh how quaint and awesome!", their leather trinkets and notebooks have slowly crept into my life not as decadent throwaway items but as sturdy luxuries – things that really do enrichen my life with every use.  That will sound terribly elitist but when a leather Blackberry holder or a dinky little camera case catches people's eyes just by the merit of their leather quality or their unusual colour ways, you have to admit that in some cases the phrase "You get what you pay for" can really be understood.  I like that Smythson occupies a quiet presence in the luxury strata of bling, sheeny shiny campaigns and hard-sell gloss.  The quiet rustle of their featherweight pale blue paper in their signature notebooks or the the discreet font they use whispers to you quite gently.  

Therefore, it didn't surprise me that they've recently released an extremely cute video summary of their 125 year history.  There's nothing grandiose about it.  The bags, wallets and other miscellaneous leather goods from their archives, which I enjoyed seeing when I went to visit Smythson HQ, are used to great effect in this video directed by Virgillo Villoresi.  The decades play out in playful stop animation using visually stimulating devices like the zoetrope or optical art from the sixties and brings us right into the present, a bag from its new Eliot collection.  

They have a surprisingly varied history to draw inspiration from. There was a time when Smythson was making everything from fur muffs to sardine servers.  However, they've linked up The Bond Street bag dated to 1900, one of the first that Frank Smythson made to the present Eliot collection by placing similar striped linings in all the totes, clutches and cases.  The lining is also shot with a Nile Blue thread, a colour that immediately makes me think of Smythson whenever I see that reassuring shade of blue.  The tagline on the ad that says "The Bond Street Bag will always hold just a little more" immediately brought back memories of trying to find the biggest leather bag I could just so I could re-enact the Mary Poppins' carpet bag scene.  I'd stomp around with my pretend carpet bag saying things like "Spit spot!", bossing my sister around when tidying up our room. That developed into my late teenage obsession with finding early 20th century leather doctor's bags to tote around my books as to be distinguished and "different".    

Bond Street Bag

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With a Tsumori Chisato umbrella, a very roomy Eliot tote bag and my own hat and trench coat ensemble, I still harbour dreams of reaching into the bottom of a bag and pulling out a very decorative lampshade or gilt mirror.  The very act of going elbows deep into a bag and remembering my childhood play-acting are the simple joys in life that doesn't necessarily need to be found in a really expensive bag but still, Smythson are laying their classic luxury gauntlet down quite convincingly, judging by this one specimen.  

IMG_9633(Worn with Acne leather jacket, Junya Watanabe trench coat, Christopher Shannon shirt, J.W. Anderson skirt, Joseph Nigoghossian hat and 3.1 Phillip Lim "Nancy" flats)

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You might have wandered past the former bStore shop on Kingly Street (previously on Savile Row) and wondered where a) bStore has gone and b) what the hell is Other, the new name. The answer is that bStore as a brand producing its own clothing is no more but bStore, the iconic store co-founded by Matthew Murphy and Kirk Beattie, that has been such a vital part of London's independent fashion retail scene over the past decade fortunately lives on.  It has risen out of the ashes and become Other.

This might not concern anyone who isn't remotely interested in the semantics of retail and fashion label production but for those who are, there's a brutal lesson to be learnt.  It's a brave thing to say "NO!" when you're at the height of success and when bStore the clothing label ceased to exist this summer, you had seen it everywhere.  It had a ton of stockists.  It was collaborating with Liberty, Gloverall, ASOS, Mr Porter etc.  It was popping up all over the shop quite literally as you would walk into bStore and find that most of the stock was‚Ķ well, bStore stock, moving away from the boutique's roots.  I'll leave it to Matthew Murphy, one of the founders of bStore and now shopkeeper and proprieter of Other together with his business partner Kirk Beattie, here to tell his side of the story, that to me smacks of courage at a time when few of us would dare reject commercial profiteering.

bStore was really never meant to be the size that it ended up as.  The idea was always this little line that we do within the store, maybe doing little collaborations.  We never intended for it to become as big a wholesale brand as it did.  We didn't have the structure to maintain the level it achieved.  The problem is you start working with bigger factories and the minimums go up and so the shop becomes a tool to support that.

The collection became something we didn't want it to be.  The guys from the sales team were getting demands from retailers.  Our market was big – Asia wanted it to look a certain way,  America wanted it to look another way.  It was perceived to be a bigger brand than it actually was.  The difficult thing was that we could forsee problems.  When you're working with the big guys like Mr Porter and Lane Crawford, you only really get one chance so when you start mucking things up like delaying orders, then you lose them forever.   

We had less time and budget to spend on young designers because the store was flooded by bStore stock.  It got to a point where for me, I lost focus of what I was supposed to be doing.  I was brand director, doing all these projects which were all successful and great but the passion that first drove me when I was working with young designers, working in the shop and doing something independent wasn't there.  For us, we just thought "Let's get back to doing what we enjoy doing."

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Murphy and Beattie therefore took the executive decision to take the shop with them and break away from its parent company Six London, which will continue on producing bStore shoes.  The bStore clothing line has ceased production entirely and now we have Other, the independent store that Murphy and Beattie want to channel all their energies into.   Murphy talks of 'Control' as a key word in this brave move.  By scaling back their operation and returning to the roots of the shop as one that nurtures designers they believe in, they get the freedom to dictate how they run the business.  They're not after a retail empire but they do want to be a strong singular destination shop, which bStore was.  Other is a fresh start but they do have the head start of having nurtured labels like Peter Jensen, Christophe Lemaire and Stephan Schneider over the years.  Now they get to go out and do more interesting buys.  

We wanted to go out and find young creatives and talent and make the shop exciting again.  The reason why we're still here eleven years down the line is because we've stayed independent.  It's been a different view to what's going on.  It's never been for financial reward.  It's passion that drives us.  The store was for me the heart of what we did.  Without bStore the shop, what did the brand mean?  The fact that we had people shopping with us for ten years who have avidly followed us on a journey and they thought it was great when they found a lot of new brands.  In a way, that was what kept them onboard for ten years so we wanted to get back to that.  There are so many people that we saw out there that we passed up but now we have the space to support them.

It may not be evident just yet as Other goes through the transitional period of phasing out the previous 'bStore' set-up but for S/S 13, I'm promised some interesting labels from Berlin with designers like Alice Knackfuss and the underrated but consistently-good Reality Studio.  On the menswear side, I can look forward to stealing colourful knits from Trine Lindegaard, who Steve and I are both loving at the moment

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IMG_0320bStore shoes will carry on…

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IMG_0348 IMG_0352Sophie Hulme really excels in outerwear as seen in this pink-sleeved coat // Murphy and Beattie have been a longtime supporter of Belgian designer Christian Wijnants

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IMG_0345Other have been a fan of MM6 accessories

IMG_0353 IMG_0357Peter Jensen's foxy appeal // French menswear collective Etudes is a new label Other are really excited about

IMG_0364Awai leather camera bag

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You may have thought that Murphy and Beattie would shy away from producing their own clothing line altogether after the problems that arose with bStore.  However, they have forged ahead by creating Other's own clothing line, something that sticks to their original vision of a small in-store label that fills the gaps in the shop.  

Other is a lot smaller collection.  It's what we intended the bStore clothing line to be.  It's staples.  It was about taking back control.  That's the key word.  It won't be a wholesale brand and so we will keep it back just for the store and online.  We made it all in the UK in small factories in the UK.  The first collection is called Collection 1.  We'll do one that we launch in March and one we launch in June, dropping it into store as we go along with no official launches.  It fills in the gaps.  We want 60% of the store to be brands and then the rest can be about plugging in with simple trousers or the right sweatshirts, testing out different fabrics and seeing what works.   It will be more informal.  The collections will just happen.  

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Other's offering for women is indeed a lot more androgynous and simpler than what bStore had become by the time of its demise.  You're never going to get trend-driven fare from Murphy and Beattie in both their label or their shop buy and that's precisely what has kept their customer base so loyal and diverse.  In the end, what makes Other (admittedly it's very hard to stop myself from saying bStore in my head) so great is that it's both universal and niche all at once.  There's nothing in there that is too precious or stuck up the arse of high end fashion.  Every piece has quality and design in mind.  Useful but never boring.  At the same time, Other manages to projects an outside of mainstream lifestyle, that's fortunately not ruled by fashion solely but one that invovles art, design, music, film and food – i.e. the things that make a lot of us more than just fash-obssessed hollow shells.  

As for Other's take on bricks n' mortar versus online, it seems both are equally important to the duo.  Murphy's eyes really twinkle though as he talks about loving Soho, being based in Kingly Street and being in a physical hub where you can go into one shop, physically chat to a shop assistant and then go next door for a coffee or a nice a bit of food.  As a Londoner who has walked many miles, eaten many meals and drank copious amounts of coffee on shopping trips, I firmly agree that the experience is something that cannot be replicated online.  That said, Murphy is keen on building an identity with the website, injecting their personality and point of view.  Just as all the internet retail biggies are going all out with their editorial strategy, making big name hires, likewise, smaller operations like Other need to create an identity online.  For Other, they see the benefit in producing content online that isn't there purely to shill product.  It's about creating an environment that seduces the customer to click and it's a process that Murphy and Beattie are still exploring and will clearly play out on the website in the future.

The last thing we mused on was the curious thing about London's independent boutiques.  A good independent seems to have a lifespan of about ten years or even less in some cases.  So many seem to go under, erased in people's memories over time.  I'm now conscious that my own footfall in London stores has decreased given that I travel so much now and seem to have less and less time just to look at my own city.  I'll be doing my bit and getting out there a bit more.  As it happens, I'll be working closely with a new start up that will serve to celebrate the individuality of London's retail scene exemplified by Other.  They shouldn't be lone rangers though.  Murphy is right.  Without a hub around the store, all you are is a singular entity which is hard to build up footfall.  Let's hope that London independent retail gets its own kick starter.  

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Grace Coddington's unexpected elevated status of everyone's favourite fashion heroine was inevitable as soon as the R.J. Cutler film The September Issue had spread its gospel.  Previously the flame-haired creative director of American Vogue went about her business in a quiet fashion and now she is stopped everywhere she goes.  She has become the "good cop" figurehead of American Vogue for the public to root for, sympathise with and molly coddle, whilst Anna Wintour has been cast as the "bad cop", riddled with aspersions put forth by films such as The Devil Wears Prada.   

Now we have another reason to go on counting the reasons why the general public (fashion loving or not as it turns out‚Ķ) have taken to Coddington so wholeheartedly.  Her memoir was released last week to great fanfare and especially in London where she was doing signings and appearances all over the place.  I went to see her in conversation with Sarah Mower at Central Saint Martins on Friday where they talked about Coddington's life and I along with every famous CSM alum such as Phoebe Philo, Hussein Chalayan and Christopher Kane and the present students went to get our copies signed.  She even popped up on Twitter, a medium that I suspect she isn't too bothered by, to do a Q&A.  One wonders how willing Coddington is to be pushing her life out to the world given that she's loathe to step into the limelight.  She initially refused to be filmed by Cutler for The September Issue and rebuffed him constantly until she eventually relented.  Whilst she has released two previous books before (Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue, which is an expensive rarity now and The Catwalk Cats), her memoirs would open up a personal can of worms that I somehow thought she'd never reveal, remaining an enigma and leaving a legacy of unbounded creativity that's testament in her work.

I bought the book on Thursday morning and had finished it by the end of the day, chomping through the the thematic slash chronological chapters set out in 416 pages of big font, punctuated by Coddington's infamous sketches and wonderful photography both of Coddington herself as well as of her editorial work.  Whilst Michael Roberts, style director of Vanity Fair, edited the book with Coddington, it's immediately apparent that the written voice is all her own.  She admits to not having read two books in her life that weren't picture books and as a teensy weeny down point, it definitely shows in the prose.  

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The upside of that though is that the memoir rings true.  She flits about chapters in her life, recounting her days as a model working with the likes of Norman Parkinson and David Bailey with nonchalance.  She skims over traumatic experiences in her life such as the car accident which resulted in reconstructive eye surgery, her miscarriage and the death of her sister in a matter of factly way.  Some might read that as emotional detachment but I'd say it's probably down to the fact that Coddington doesn't want to play the victim card because in all other respects her life is so rich with vitality, friendship and creative stimulation.  

Where the memoir really comes to life is when Coddington describes her observations of the various epochs in fashion from the early sixties to the nineties, where so much change was going on, from seeing the stiffened designs of English couturiers of Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell and Dior, segued to the likes of Mary Quant and Andr√© Courr√®ges and Pierre Cardin.  The ready to wear sector was growing and English designers were beginning to hold their own with names like Ossie Clark, Zandra Rhodes and later Vivienne Westwood.  You latch onto Coddington's feverish descriptions of Yves Saint Laurent's collections, which informed her style throughout the seventies.  Then came her eighties Americana phase, bought on by Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.  She reacted against the excess of the early nineties bling by being one of the first fashion editors to explore the grunge aesthetic with Steven Meisel, weirdly foreseeing Marc Jacobs famous "grunge" collection for Perry Ellis.  Throughout the decades, she has been true to her own aesthetic and taste predilections, favouring and championing the visionaries of her time from Yves Saint Laurent to Azzedine Alaia to John Galliano and through to Nicolas Ghesqui√®re today.  

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It's a well known cast of characters that flit in and out of Coddington's life.  Photographers like Irving Penn, Norman Parkinson, Helmut Newton, Bruce Weber and many more are interesting to read about as key collaborators in Coddington's styling work.  Accounts of Coddington's past colleagues such as the former editor in chief of British Vogue and American Harper's Bazaar Liz Tilberis and her British Vogue boss in the seventies Beatrice Miller are heartfelt and speak of close friendship and camraderie.  Her charming anecdotes relating to designers like Azzedine Alaia, Karl Lagerfeld and Calvin Klein (the most surprising fact from the book was that Coddington briefly worked as creative director of the American super brand) crop up frequently for light relief.  You get the feeling that Coddington far prefers to document observations of her friends in the industry rather than negotiate with her feelings relating to her private life.

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She also talks about her work in great detail, each shoot telling of the period it took place in.  Coddington frequently reminisces of a time when shoots were shot on film, when there were less people, when you had to think on your feet and when things were more spontaneous and less about fashion credits.  She's careful not to disparage the modern day way of shooting.  She can see the pros and cons and has a very diplomatic way of seeing the way the industry is today.  

There really aren't that many people in the industry who has such a breadth of fashion related tidbits, connections and tales through so many key fashion decades, to call upon and so living vicariously through Coddington's penned words is definitely a treat, despite the fact that often her paragraphs leave you hanging for more details and description.  I'd be surprised if most readers didn't get through this tome in less than a day.    

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No doubt, the book will further cement her fan base and have many a young fashion lover growing up aspiring to a career like Coddington's.  The tale isn't quite finished though.  At seventy, it doesn't look like Coddington is ceasing soon.  As Wintour says to Coddington in one chapter "No, as long as I'm here, you will be, too."  

You can see that my copy has been well thumbed and folded in many places so it was hard to pick out my favourite bits but I've attempted to narrow it down…

On Coddington's early model make-up look…
My particular thing was to draw an extra-wide stroke emphasising the crease of the eye socket and add extravagantly long, spidery lines below the eye, a little like doll's lashes, then paint a dot towards the inner corner of the eye for reasons I can't exactly articular except that it looked nice and 'now'.  Later I discovered my crazy new eyelash look being called 'twiglets' and credited to the young British model Twiggy.  Well, they were very much mine.  I was probably doing them before she was born!  

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On the new wave of French ready-to-wear and chic vs. cool…
For me, the French were always so superior in matters of style.  england was cool but never chic.  During this particular moment i was very into the angular designs of Pierre Cardin, so my dressmaker would run me up copies of Cardin couture.  Emmanuelle Khanh, Dorothee Bis, V de V and Christiane Bailly were among the absolute leaders of the new French ready-to-wear designers.

On attending shows when Coddington began working at British Vogue as fashion editor…
At the shows, the team from American Vogue, with Vreeland in the centre, usually sat in comfort on a deep sofa, and American Harper's Bazaar sat on another.  Lowly British Vogue didn't qualify for a sofa. 

On meeting Tina Chow (who married hip restauranteur Michael Chow, Coddington's first husband)…
I had already heard from several sources that Michael's bride-to-be, Tina was a very pretty, cool and avant-garde young model of Japanese-American extraction.  So, to make an impression, I rushed over to the Yves Saint Laurent salon to borrow something cool and avant-garde to wear.  The outfit they lent me was from Yves' notorious Forties couture collection, the one that scandalised all of Paris and included a green box-shouldered fox-fur coat called a 'chubby' that came with leggings and wedge shoes.  I then put on my make-up and my little blue velvet hat and went over to the hotel.  Meanwhile, tina had apparently heard that I was a very well-dessed person, too, which to her way of thinking translated as very classic, so she was dressed to meet me in a super-traditional English twinset and pearls.  Thus, in a strange way, when we did meet, we were wearing each other's clothes. 

On Anna Wintour coming to British Vogue as editor in chief and attempting to instil a different way of working at the publication…
It was such a different way of working for me.  Anna's mission, coming as she did from the commanding heights of American Vogue, seemed to be take its whimsical little cousin by the scruff of the neck and propel it forward into a brave new world.  
I honestly don't know how Anna survived.  THere was no spirited atmosphere, no determination, everything was deemed 'impossible' or 'Oooh, i don't think so', and the solution to most problems was 'Mmmm, let's have a nice cup of tea.'

On the competitive atmosphere at American Vogue as Coddington battled it out with fellow editors Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Polly Mellen and Jenny Capitain…
It was pointless complaining to Anna, saying things like 'She stole my dress', because the reply would simply be 'This is not a girls' boarding school.  Deal with it yourself.' However, despite outsiders' elevated view of Vogue as a temple of cool and sophistication, a girls' boarding school – with its sulky outbursts, tears and schoolgirlish tantrums – was exactly what it occasionally resembled.

On working on the Alice in Wonderland shoot (which Coddington says is one of of her favourites she's ever worked on) with Annie Leibovitz in 2003 and Nicolas Ghesquière's hardworking attitude…
The only problem was the dress Nicolas (Ghesqui√®re) had so exquisitely made for the story had asymmetrical rows of ruffles all concentrated on the wrong side of the body for Annie's composition.  Outrageously, and to my horror, Annie suggested we either put it on backwards, or he remake it.  Without a murmur, Nicolas and his seamstress politely obliged, reconstructing the dress to be a mirror image of its former self.  

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On dressing the girls herself to this very day…
I think that I am probably the last surviving fashion editor who actually dresses the girl rather than leaving it to an assistant.  It is so important to me.  The dressing room is the only place you have left to communicate with the model and get your opinion across as to how she should stand and what mood should be conveyed, without interfering with the job of the photographer.  I'm told other stylists sit down and direct from behind the camera, preferring to have their assistants tug the clothes straight, turn up the collar and push up the sleeves.

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