Grace Coddington Cottage in East Hampton – Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you,” Grace Coddington famously announced from the backseat of a car driving through Paris in the 2009 documentary The September Issue. It was the moment Vogue’s longtime creative director quietly stole the show and became a household name. That mantra—which has since made its way onto greeting cards and motivational posters—came to mind during a recent visit to the Wainscott, Long Island, weekend retreat of the woman responsible for some of the most iconic fashion imagery of our time.
It’s unseasonably cold and rainy on the day of my visit, and the scent of burning firewood tinges the air when I pull up to the unfussy three-bedroom ranch house Coddington and her partner of 35 years, French hairstylist Didier Malige, bought back in 1988.
Malige, in black Adidas track pants, is pruning a bush in the front yard, blissfully ignoring the drizzle. Coddington, whom I am honored to count as a mentor and friend, bursts through the screen door in matching track pants, a Céline pullover, and garden clogs, her famous shock of fiery hair spilling out of an off-white bucket hat.
After directing me to take off my shoes, she leads me inside. “It’s not very proper; it’s just very comfortable,” she explains. “It’s just a place where you can come in and throw yourself on the sofa and put your feet up.” Indeed, nothing—from the antique Native American rugs scattered on the floors to the vintage pillows and throws—is too precious to be used. Even the large all-white linen-slipcovered sofas by George Sherlock in the main sitting room seem to have a come-hither quality.
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Source: Architectural Digest