dress by Vera Wang
One of the best advice that I've ever read about breaking into the industry to become a stylist is to "Study the work of stylists you admire to see how they set themselves apart. Then start developing your own styling trademarks." So along with that and other words of fashion wisdom I began flipping through and collecting several photography books and magazine fashion spreads of my favorite stylists. I'm a hopeless romantic, daydreamer, and an ardent believer in fairy tales and anything remotely whimsical and playful. So it was only a matter of time until I've fallen in love with the works of my favorite stylists Grace Coddington, Havana Laffitte, and Rachel Zoe. But I have to admit that there are no other stylist as visionary and influential as Grace. If I haven't emphasized it enough [and I have on several occasions] Grace is my hero and the reason that I've finally found my life's calling.
"I love our December issues. We always mark the holidays with a fantastic, and fantastical, fashion portfolio; and this year Creative Director Grace Coddington has conspired with Annie Leibovitz to produce a stunningly dramatic spin on the Wizard of Oz. The project began in the summer, when Grace was captivated by the idea of a very specific look -- in her words, "Bonpoint for grown-ups" -- on the lovely Kiera Knightley. Grace got going, as tends to: instructing our top designers to make sweet Empire dresses that transitioned from nursery to cocktail; persuading artists such as Jasper Johns and Chuck Close to take part in the photographic pantomime."
- Anna Wintour's Letter from the Editor, December 2005
Grace Coddington has been American Vogue's Creative Director as long as Anna Wintour has been its Editor in Chief which is sufficient to say, a really long time. Almost ancient, but without the negative connotation. She has been styling longer than I've been alive and her work is the kind of art that I would frame and hang up on the walls of my home. And if the September issues of Vogue is the January of Fashion, then December is when fashion storytelling comes to life thanks to Grace. So for this very first segment of Grace Coddington for Vogue, I'd like to celebrate and share with you, our readers, her most legendary and beautiful work in Vogue starting with her December 2005 Wizard of Oz shoot featuring Kiera Knightley.
|Dorothy: dress by Vera Wang|
shoes by Marc Jacobs
This December 2005 shoot was inspired by L. Frank Baum's classic American fairy tale, The Wizard of Oz. The spread, which was shot by world renowned photographer, Annie Leibovitz, is one my all time favorite Grace Coddington creation. Of course the 1939 movie rendition of the book featuring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of the classic tale, but I can't agree that the same goes for me. When I was a junior in high school, I was taking an AP (Advance Placement) U.S. History class and learned how this classic American tale which speaks to a deep archetypal longing of wanting to explore the unknown and return home safely, can also be interpreted as a political allegory of the time. But enough about American history, let's talk fashion!
The imagery and inspiration of the shoot is made easy enough due to the influence of theatricals and illustrations about the story and characters, but for this shoot, Vogue along with Grace Coddington, assembled a team of contemporary artists to play alongside Kiera Knightley who takes the role of Dorothy. I can't decide if I'm more in love with all the dresses that Kiera wore in the entire spread or the classic ruby "there's no place like home" heels, or should I say slippers, that adorned her feet in each shot. From Christian Louboutin to Miu Miu, every scene was complete with a red, glittery pump. Besides, Dorothy can't be without them or she'll never find her way home! Come take a look at the rest of the fashion spread!
|Glinda the Good Witch: Dior Haute Couture dress by John Galliano |
Dorothy: dress and t-strap shoes by Marc Jacobs
|dress and shoes by Balenciaga|
|dress and shoes by Oscar de la Renta|
|dress and shoes by Rochas|
|dress and shoes by Lanvin|
|dress by Comme des Garcons|
shoes by Commes des Garcons x Repetto
|dress by Donna Karan New York|
shoes by Christian Louboutin
|Dorothy: dress and shoes by Yves Saint Laurent|
Wicked Witch of the West: cape by Chanel Haute Couture
|dress and apron by Prada|
shoes by Miu Miu
Cast of Artists
Aunt Em: Alba Clemente
Uncle Henry: Francesco Clemente
Glinda the Good Witch: Kara Walker
Scarecrow: Brice Marden
Tinman: John Currin
Wizard: Chuck Close
Lion: Jasper Johns
Winged Monkey: Jeff Koons
Wicker Witch of the West: Kiki Smith