Grace Coddington, American Vogue’s iconic creative director since 1988, has stepped down today… kind of. The Business of Fashion confirms that Coddington will be scaling back her duties at the magazine significantly and taking on the new title of Creative Director at Large. “At Large,” as magazine folk will tell you, tends to translate directly to “figurehead.” Coddington, however, will continue to work on a handful of Vogue editorials a year, while pursuing other projects, including her forthcoming fragrance with Comme des Garçons.
“I really love Vogue, it’s been in my life always, they discovered me as a model at 19,” Coddington told BoF. “I’m not running away from Vogue, because it has opened so many doors. But it will be nice to collaborate, and nice to go out [and] give talks to people. It’s just another approach. I’m certainly not going into retirement. I don’t want to sit around.”
It will be interesting to see how the move effects the magazine, which, despite Coddington’s prowess, has been quite stale for some time. It was pretty evident in the documentary The September Issue that the corporate magazine world no longer has the resources to support Coddington’s unique, meticulously over-the-top vision. At the same time, Coddington was really the only thing keeping American Vogue relevant in a fashion sense, both because her name carries weight and because of the singular style of her shoots. On the flip side, this is an opportunity for a magazine that’s reluctant to change to reinvent itself.
I, for one, think it’s an exciting moment for both Vogue and Coddington (who, if you ask me, is really better suited to working in film)… but something tells me it’s only the latter that’s capable of stepping up their game.