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Why Grace Coddington stepping down at Vogue is good for the future of fashion

It has just been announced that Grace Coddington, the flame-haired fashion maven, is stepping down from her role as creative director at American Vogue. The news comes via The Business of Fashion, who spoke to Grace for an exclusive interview where she revealed her plans. “I really love Vogue, it’s been in my life always, they discovered me as a model at 19,” Coddington explained. “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.”

The breaking news has come as a shock to those in the fashion industry who like myself have continued to be floored by her stunning editorials during her time at Vogue. She is the last of the old guard it seems, committed to getting the perfect shot and making art on the pages of the most iconic fashion magazine.

So of course, I’m saddened by the news, but this might actually be good news. Grace plans to stay on in some styling capacity and with a new title, Creative Director At Large, still serving up her fashion magic at Vogue, committing to several shoots each year, but freeing up much more time for herself. In the time-poor frenzy that the fashion industry often is, I celebrate the idea of her taking some ‘me time’, and making way for the new generation of talent.

This industry only works if we foster new, young and eager talent. Fashion needs to keep reinventing, to create space for new ideas and new fresh blood. The magic of fashion is that with each departure we get a new injection of talent, a new point of view and that adds to the rich fabric of the industry. You only need to look at the appointment of Alessandro Michele at Gucci to see how great it can be when new people breakthrough on the fashion scene in a bigger way. Also, fashion definitely needs to work on upping its diversity count.

Finally, in an age of over-saturation, I think it might be quite wonderful to see Grace’s styling pop up once every few months in Vogue, an unexpected delight to enjoy and savour.

Bottom line: it’s not all bad news, and in fact I’m excited to see the new path that Grace creates for herself and the industry, because this sudden announcement goes to show that Grace continues to surprise us and inspire us, after over 50 years in the business.

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