Collector Par Excellence Grace Coddington

Grace Coddington’s Long Island retreat is a great backdrop for her many collections. The Vogue creative director at-large surrounds herself with things she loves and manages to display them in a sophisticated but totally relaxed way.

Case in point: the master bedroom pictured above, which marshals up only a handful of her many cat-related treasures–from the cat paintings over the bedstead, to the vintage stuffed Steiff cats arranged by size on the headboard, to the faux leopard-cat pillows on the bed itself.

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More cat art and vintage Steiff cats populate the top of a wardrobe. “This home isn’t actually designed,” Coddington, 77, admits. “It’s just full of stuff because my life is full of stuff—I can’t help myself.”

But, looking at the result, that seems like a good decorating mantra.

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You get a bit of glimpse of all that stuff in the living room/dining room. Not only does she group her cat collection beautifully, for impact, but singles appear here and there. Can you spot them in this room?

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More cat art over the mantel, of course, but don’t miss the cat andirons in the fireplace hearth.

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Witness as well this collection of photo portraits of cats past and present by Coddington’s partner of 35 years, Didier Malige.

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Lest you think her collections are all cat, check out these incredible picture ledges filled with works by famous photographers she knew and worked during her tenure at Vogue.

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She also has a fun collection of vintage pitchers on display in her kitchen–big-beaked birds and a lobster-shaped look-alike, as well as the ubiquitous cat.

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In a house full of cats, a vintage Mickey Mouse bookend is a quirky touch. And while I don’t know if the painting overhead is part of a collection, it would be a fun start to one…

…because it looks like Grace herself but isn’t actually. That could be a fun stepping-off point for anyone collecting art, even if you don’t have a signature wild shock of red hair! One of my favorite paintings of all time–“Paris Street; Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebotte–is partically beloved because the man in it looks like my husband Chris. (But with the original at approximately 7-feet by 9-feet I’ve had to settle for just a print, LOL.)

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“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” It’s advice she’s famous for, and it’s been memorialized on greeting cards and posters since she first dispensed it from the backseat of a car driving through Paris in the 2009 documentary The September Issue.

It also happens to be GREAT advice for collector-wannabes. And it’s collections that bring cohesion and warmth to homes.

If you want more…

“Paris Street; Rainy Day,” Gustave Caillebotte, 1877, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Stay tuned for future posts of how and what to collect, as well as a peek at some of my very own collections.
  • Get the full scoop on Grace Coddington’s East Hampton, NY, cottage by reading Andrew Bevan’s “State of Grace” from AD‘s August 2018 issue. And don’t forget to check out the accompanying slide show.
  • If you love cats or just like to watch them and smile, check out “Grace Coddington Trains Kittens to Ride Roombas,” also at AD online.
  • Browse Grace’s website and check out her unique handbag designs and more.
  • Follow the (affiliate) links below to read her memoir and more: