Grace Coddington is a woman who could be described as having an eye.
What do people mean when they say, “she has an eye”?
I take the expression to mean intrinsic style, a natural gift or a way of seeing things and putting them together. “Having an eye” and self-confidence would appear to go hand-in-hand. Some are lucky enough to have an eye and others need practise. I believe we can learn to have an eye; it can be hit and miss and “having an eye” takes effort.
Grace Coddington has had an eye forever and her styling is so much more than a showcase for fashion. Her way of collating pieces and creating shoots is far greater than models, a location and pretty clothes. Her “eye” enables her to tell a bigger story, to transcend fashion and rise to another level; Grace Coddington enables her readers to dream about much more than the images facing them from the glossy pages.
“I wouldn’t call myself a stylist. I’m working on campaigns, but it’s more than just styling. Rather than just putting clothes on the girls, I’m focusing on the overall direction of the campaign. When people think about my style, I think they see that I put a narrative into the story. Because I like to put things in a place—a dress needs a situation. Everything is lifestyle, but an enhanced lifestyle at the same time. It’s always a romantic vision of life.”
When someone is considered as “having an eye” I believe it means we have confidence in their taste. Taste is a very small word for a very large brief. “Having an eye” can be restricted to one discipline or some talented people seem to have the eye for everything. They intuitively have a sense of style which colours their lives and it’s not confined to any one place.
How can we develop our eye? How can we train ourselves to see ‘between the lines’?
Studying those we consider experts and analysing how they “see”.
Looking at style through another’s eyes, with an open mind, can enrich our frameworks and complement our way of seeing the world. We may not like everything we see but reaching further helps us firm up our own judgements.
Refining our likes and dislikes takes practise. Getting it down pat is a huge amount of trial and error and can involve costly mistakes when fashion and interiors are involved. Once your “eye” is in those mistakes become fewer and further in-between.
Knowing when the “eye” is in and when it is on a break.
Even those who have an eye, have off days. The smart people leave the decision making alone on those days.
The “eye” can desert us. It is there, sometimes it just won’t play.
Patience is a virtue.
“Having an eye” is a lifetime of work even for those fortunate enough to be born with such precision.
Grace Coddington, I love your “eye” and am looking forward to your new ventures for they will be sure to enchant. xv