Grace Coddington was born on April 20, 1941. Born in Wales, Grace spent her youth living in a hotel owned by her parents. At the age of 18, she moved to London where she began her career as a successful model before joining British Vogue as a junior editor in 1968.

Grace began working at American Vogue in 1988 and spent 27 years as the magazine’s Creative Director. She has collaborated with countless leading fashion photographers and in 2002 received the prestigious CFDA Lifetime Achievement award.

Along the way, Grace and her partner, Didier Malige, did published The Catwalk Cats in 2006, a book of drawings and photographs of their cats. Grace is hopelessly devoted to her cats, Pumpkin and Blanket, who she’s put front and center in many of her fashion collaborations. And now also with Louis Vuitton!

 

 

 

 

The personal and professional pedigree of legendary editor, stylist and ailurophile Grace Coddington is one of note: “In New York, I’m cat central: Everyone calls me for advice.” A cat devotee throughout her 77 years, she currently owns two Persians, Blanket and Pumpkin, and her distinctive doodles have been published in the 2006 book The Catwalk Cats. Her feline companions will receive even more fashion notoriety this October with the introduction of a Louis Vuitton capsule collection including monogrammed handbags, shoes, leather goods, hats and silk separates, all reimagined with Coddington’s whimsical illustrations.

“We had so much fun sketching and designing bags in the shapes of cat and dog heads,” says Louis Vuitton artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière by email. He is a longtime Labrador owner. “It all started with our love for animals; that’s how we connect beyond fashion—the collaboration was born from this mutual affection.”

It’s a union of two of fashion’s most idiosyncratic and influential voices; they first bonded on a Vogue shoot in 2000 featuring new Parisian designers, which Coddington was overseeing in her role as Vogue’s creative director. She subsequently asked Ghesquière to appear in a fantastical Annie Leibovitz Alice in Wonderland–inspired fashion shoot that ran in the December 2003 issue. Leibovitz decided she wanted the cascading ruffles on his custom dress on the other side. “Like it’s easy! I was horrified,” says Coddington. “We were both respecting Annie, but at the same time cursing her.” In about half an hour, he transferred the whole of one side of the dress to the other.

 

 

 

“Grace is an eccentric. Throughout the years she’s experimented but has remained faithful to her own particular style, and I find this fascinating,”

 

“When I became freelance, I said to him, ‘Well, I’m free, so I think I can do that, and that would be incredible,’ ” says Coddington, who stepped down from her 27-year Vogue tenure in 2016 and has swiftly become a septuagenarian impresario, launching a perfume with Comme des Garçons, book projects and an imminent talk show for digital TV channel M2M (in which Ghesquière “absolutely” will be interviewed).

But it was at the start of this year that their Louis Vuitton conversations became a reality and Coddington traveled to Paris, sketches in hand. “At one point, I was going every 10 days, putting to work what we had discussed,” she says.

 

 

 

 

“We all know how important leather goods are to Louis Vuitton,” says Ghesquière. “It’s why we focused on bags.” Simplicity and functionality are paramount to the capsule collection—Coddington decided not to include a steamer trunk, a Louis Vuitton hallmark. “Too antiquated,” says Coddington, preferring the lightweight coated-canvas alternatives, which she can lift herself. “I wanted things that would immediately give you something fresh but work with everything you have—classics,” she says.

Coddington’s take on the Louis Vuitton heritage monogram print is scattered with her caricatures of Pumpkin (age 12) and Blanket (age 3) and Ghesquière’s 18-month-old black Labrador, Léon.

 

 “Grace is an eccentric. Throughout the years she’s experimented but has remained faithful to her own particular style, and I find this fascinating,” “Grace is an eccentric. Throughout the years she’s experimented but has remained faithful to her own particular style, and I find this fascinating,” “Grace is an eccentric. Throughout the years she’s experimented but has remained faithful to her own particular style, and I find this fascinating,” SaveSave