Vogue's Princess Grace Coddington

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Anecdotes and illustrations fill the creative director of Vogue US’ new memoir

Over the last few years, the role of fashion stylist has moved from behind the scenes to front and centre. This in part is down to an increased interest in the machinations of the industry and the more transparent nature of style blogs, but it also owes a lot to one steely-willed septuagenarian.

Long a celebrated figure within the closed industry of fashion, Grace Coddington's star remains firmly in the ascendant. In The September Issue, RJ Cutler's documentary that charted production of the September 2007 issue of Vogue US, Coddington's titian hair and determination usurped editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for the star role. The cover of the latest issue of i-D (main image) is further testament to her staying power.

But it is Grace, the longawaited memoir, that affords readers a chance to soak up the details of a fashionable life well lived, while learning about the industry from the viewpoint of a true visionary.

Born in Anglesey in 1941, Vogue had long been a lifeline for the young introvert - delivery of a three-month-old copy would transport her to an altogether more glamorous existence than that of a convent-educated daughter of hoteliers. At the age of 18, a move to London brought with it enrolment at a modelling school - which although not a great success led to a sitting, or rather streaking, for photographer Norman Parkinson and entry into a Vogue modelling contest.

Winning the Young Idea category marked the beginning of a working relationship with Vogue that has spanned decades - in front and behind the camera.

Grace Coddington will be signing copies of Grace: A Memoir, on Thursday 22 November, 12:30 - 14:30, at Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1.

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