WHAT A FEL INE !
Grace Coddington brings her love for animals to Louis Vuitton in a special collaboration that’s sure to put a smile on the face.
To say that Grace Coddington is one of fashion’s most respected and b e l ove d f i g u re s is an understatement. During the course of a celebrated career that has spanned five decades and counting, the Creative-Directorat-large has orchestrated many beautiful images that combine romanticism and storytelling into one visually rich narrative. Coddington’s creative streak is also evident in her quirky illustrations, each one boasting a sense of humour and wit as spirited as her head of flaming red hair.
The other thing Coddington is famous for? Her love for cats.“Do I dream predominantly about fashion? No. I dream much more about cats,” the 77-year-old once said. Coddington’s drawings of her furry companions have appeared in magazines and her own memoir—they were even the subject of a tonguein-cheek tome conceptualised by the stylist. Now, Coddington’s feline illustrations are ready for their next big fashion close-up, turning up on the catwalk of Louis Vuitton’s cruise 2019 show as a series of clutches that take the form of their adorable likeness. Titled Catogram, the collaboration was three years in the making. Coddington designed the capsule collection of leather goods, accessories, shoes and ready-to-wear pieces alongside friend and close collaborator, Nicolas Ghesquière. His canine companion, Léon, also appears alongside Coddington’s cartoony depiction of her two cats, Pumpkin and Blanket, either bounding across or lazing amidst the brand’s famous monogram print. Why do you like cats? You’re either a cat person or a dog person and, in my case, I’m a cat person. I usually find I don’t like people who don’t like animals—it doesn’t matter whether it’s cats, or dogs, or horses, or mice, or guinea pigs, although I like for birds to be wild. It’s tragic g to see a bird in a cage, only fluttering around a few square feet… There’s something rather weird about people who like birds in cages.
What inspires your illustrations of cats?
I’ve been drawing cats for a long time: I did a whole book inspired by my cats, The Catwalk Cats! So I pulled out their characters again—Baby was always fat, Henri was always chunky; Coco was the thinnest of all cats, she was Coco Chanel, the fashion cat.They all have their own character, and that’s what I illustrate.
What do you like about Nicolas’ dog, Léon?
Well, I first met him when he was a puppy, always knocking things over with his tail, and I liked him very much. I was having trouble drawing him because he’s totally black and was disappearing into the Monogram, but we worked to make him shiny so that he’d stand out against the matte. Dogs are more like cats when they’re puppies, so I drew Léon when he was a puppy.
The collection includes a broad range of handbags, accessories and ready-to-wear. How did you decide what to include? I was always thinking of myself—what would I want if I were a client? For example, I would really need an umbrella in case it were raining cats and dogs… And I was desperate to have a blanket printed with [an illustration of] Blanket, my m cat. I even made a trunk—but it’s a soft trunk that you y can lift and since I love drawing, it contains bags each e filled with crayons, pencils and paper… All things t connected with what I’d like to do if I were to go on a picnic. I have a tablecloth, a few stools… My pyjamas to wear so s that I’d be comfortable. ■
Clockwise C from top: Clutch, $2,810; bag, $4,250; clutch, cl $4,250; clutch, $2,810; bag, $6,250,Louis Lo Vuitton. The collection debuted on the cruise 2019 runway. ru OPPOSITE: Coddington’s iconic backview, as lensed by acclaimed photographer Craig McDean