I love European magazines and have stacks of old issues cluttering my house, mostly World of Interiors and Gardens Illustrated. But now and then, I grab a Tattler or the British edition of Vogue when the issue contains a bit of fashion fantasy. These poetic pictures are from a fashion layout from the December 1984 Vogue, styled by the great Grace Coddington and photographed by Bruce Weber.
Coddington was a notable model back in the day, but I think her true talent lies in her editorial work. This week Coddington announced she's stepping down from her role at American Vogue to freelance. The photos below are from one of my favorite Coddington creations.
The spread was titled "In an English garden: A style that could grow on you."
The introductory paragraph of text goes on to say: "Englishwomen are best at this — a look where pieces have been pruned but the whole is wreathed with imagination. Here the tradition branches out into charm and charade, tweeds are tweeds, but mackintoshes and especially hats go further into the landscape . . . "
One reason these images grabbed me so forcefully is certainly the garden theme. But they remind me of the time my roommate Mary and I adorned ourselves in 1950s evening gowns, long gloves and corsages made of vegetables; radishes for me and banana peppers for her. Thus attired, we made a late entrance at a housewarming party for a recently divorced male friend and brought down the house.
In her autobiography, Coddington described these clothes and the photo shoot as "ravishingly romantic." Though Mary and I were clad in outfits and bouquets that were not quite as romantic as these, I think they were equally memorable.