It's the end of an era at Vogue: Grace Coddington, the glossy's creative director of nearly three decades, is leaving the influential role, reports Business of Fashion, which broke the news of the major media shift late last night. "After more than 25 years at American Vogue, Grace Coddington will assume the role of creative director at large and take on additional projects outside the magazine," a Vogue spokesperson told Refinery29. While "at large" titles can be quite nebulous, you'll still be seeing Coddington's touch in the fashion tome's pages: She's on contract to produce a minimum of four editorial shoots annually for Vogue. The new role will (finally) allow Coddington to work on an array of projects beyond the fashion bible she's been synonymous with for the first time. First up, she's working on a fragrance project for Comme des Garçons, according to Business of Fashion. Coddington will now be represented by Great Bowery, a mega-agency founded last year that includes a dozen fashion and photo agencies in its portfolio. "We are extremely honored to have Grace Coddington join Great Bowery and look forward to supporting and working with one of the most original, iconic, and deeply creative figures in the fashion world,” a Great Bowery spokesperson told Refinery29. “I’m sure it comes as no surprise that we are already receiving very significant and interesting inquiries, which we look forward to exploring.” The work she has done beyond Vogue has been very successful, so now being more of a free agent should prove fruitful for her. Her 2012 biography, Grace: A Memoir, was well-received, and her 2002 coffee-table-apropos compilations of her finest shoots for the magazine, Grace: Thirty Years Of Fashion At Vogue, was reissued in November.
Before joining Vogue in the '80s as fashion director, Coddington first crossed paths with the venerable title at the age of 19 — that's when the magazine's U.K. team discovered her as a model. She then spent over two decades at British Vogue, which is where she first worked with Anna Wintour. The world became privy to the duo's longterm relationship and rapport when The September Issue came out seven years ago. The documentary introduced an audience far beyond the confines of the fashion industry to Coddington. "Anna and I always check in with each other. It grew out of those conversations... She has always been really respectful of me, just as I am respectful of her," Coddinton told Business of Fashion. "[Anna] saw that I wanted to branch out a little bit.” Condé Nast editors will still spot Coddington's impossible-to-miss, bright red tresses in the elevator from time to time, though: She's keeping an office in Vogue's digs at 1 World Trade Center. Coddington will also remain on the title's masthead. “I’m not running away from Vogue, because it has opened so many doors," she told Business of Fashion. "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.” Coddington would be a pretty tough act to follow — but for now, no one will have to try. Vogue currently does not plan to name a successor for the creative director gig.