Grace Coddington probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of Vogue magazine, said Eva Wiseman in The Guardian (U.K.). But if the 2009 film The September Issue taught us anything, it’s that the cartoonish-looking creative director, cast as the “anti-Anna,” has been nearly as much a force in fashion as the esteemed Ms. Wintour. The September Issue is “the only reason anyone has ever heard of me,” writes Coddington in her new memoir, Grace, which dishes heavily on what she labels “the creative push and pull” between her and Wintour. Debates between the two have often been heated, but Coddington, 71, insists she isn’t the angel to Wintour’s devil-in-Prada. “That depiction is a bit stupid,” she says. “The smarter people can see it’s not a question of fighting; it’s how we work together.”

Coddington had quite the life before Vogue, too,said Alexandra Jacobs in The New York Times. She was a beauty in her youth, a successful 1960s model. Much of Grace shares stories from those times, from fashion shoots to romances to clubbing with the Beatles and the Stones. There were hardships as well. A car accident cost her an eyelid. “Luckily, they found my eyelashes,” she writes. Five surgeries later, she was herself again. But the experience imparted a lesson. Too many young models and designers expect a gilded path to the runway. It wouldn’t hurt them, she says, to have a few things go wrong in their lives. “I hate to say it, but it teaches you a hell of a lot.”