Writing an introduction on the legendary Grace Coddington is a little bit like attempting to scale Kilimanjaro—it's been done many times before (and well), which makes it all the more intimidating. Coddington, of course, doesn't actually need an introduction. Her storied career has spanned six decades, the most famous chapter of which involves Vogue, Anna Wintour and some of the fashion world's most fantastical imagery. Coddington's red hair is also iconic, and her love for cats well-known. (She has several.) There's no doubt the former creative director is a talented stylist, but she's now also the maker of a very lush perfume, Grace by Grace Coddington.
Created in collaboration with Comme des Garcons, it was inspired by a life-long love of roses ("I was trying to evoke a memory from childhood of my mother’s garden roses just after it had rained"). Unlike many rose fragrances that have come before, Coddington's namesake scent is a peach blossom-spiked triumph. Sweet but not saccharine, it's refreshingly herbal which gives it both a pure and modern feeling. We caught up with Coddington to chat fragrance design, her signature red lipstick and why you won't see her on Pinterest anytime soon.
Keep scrolling for more.
Byrdie: How would you describe your everyday beauty look?
Grace Coddington: Clean face, clean hair, sunscreen, occasionally red lipstick (until I eat it off), Grace by Grace Coddington ($156) fragrance.
B: How has your beauty routine changed as you’ve gotten older, if at all?
CG: It’s changed very little. I have fair skin which I haven’t always taken great care of—now I have to take great care and always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen.
B: What’s most important to you now, skincare or makeup?
CG: I’ve never been a huge fan of makeup on me or anyone else. I love natural beauty so my answer would be skincare, then and now.
B: Which are your top three beauty products and why?
B: Your hair is so iconic, what products do you use to look after it?
CG: Well it’s two men, not products. For the color, it’s Louis Licari, I see him every couple of weeks to keep the grey at bay. And two, my boyfriend Didier Malige, who I convince to cut my hair once a year.
B: What does fragrance mean to you?
CG: It’s very much a reflection of who you are; it’s a very personal thing.
B: Why did you decide to create your own scent?
CG: I had been thinking about it for a while, but I needed a push. When a friend offered to help get it done, I thought, 'Why not? It’s now or never!'
B: What were you aiming to create with Grace by Grace Coddington?
CG: I was trying to evoke a memory from childhood of my mother’s garden roses just after it had rained.
Effortless and understated, just like Coddington herself, this sunny rose scent is housed in a playful feline flacon. Dressing table candy? Tick.
B: How involved were you with the product development side of things?
CG: I was very involved, probably much to my collaborator's horror because I care passionately about details.
B: What’s the most interesting thing you learned in the process of creating your perfume?
CG: Well it’s really about a mix of unexpected ingredients that create the scent you want. In our case, I thought rose would be the top note, but it was actually peppercorns and mint and bergamot oil, amongst other things. That surprised me.
B: What do you do to stay healthy?
CG: I’m very much engaged in my work, and I am still really curious about lots and lots of things, so I hope that keeps me healthy. You won’t find me on a StairMaster anytime soon.
B: What’s your best energy-boosting trick?
CG: A good night’s sleep.
B: What's been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
CG: Impossible to answer—that’s like asking me which of my cats I like most.
B: Which is your all-time favorite Vogue shoot?
CG: That’s a difficult question, I have more than a few favorites. I guess one that stands out was with Annie Liebowitz, where we created an Alice in Wonderland story for Vogue’s December issue. One of my favorite models, Natalia Vodianova was Alice, and the designers were characters in the story too.
B: Who do you follow on social media for inspiration?
CG: Oh god, no one. I don’t even know what Pinterest is. I love drawing and I’m happy to share those on Instagram, but otherwise, I don’t engage in social media at all.
B: What’s interesting to you now, in all the digital noise?
CG: Nothing, it is just that. Noise!
B: What’s something no-one knows about you?
CG: I love television series that often tend to be quite soapy. (Not to be confused with reality television which I hate!)