this post is a tribute to my idol Garance Dore :) blogger, photogapher, illustrator extraordinaire
images sourced from garance doré
by: Rebecca Voight
Garance Doré is possibly the fashion world’s most closely followed blogger. Her site, Une Fille Comme Moi (“A girl like me,” which can be found at garancedore.fr) clocks an average of 50,000 hits per day. A recent uploaded picture of a pair of tawny Vivienne Westwood multistrap pirate boots generated more than 225 comments; if they weren’t a cult item before, they certainly are now. “Garance is our daily bread,” remarked one French fashion editor who preferred to remain anonymous. Doré’s mix of portrait photography, illustrations, collages, and stream-of-consciousness writing—whether she’s waxing on the conflicting pull of “simplicity and flats” versus “dizzying thigh-high boots” (the latter worn in the manner of French Vogue’s Emmanuelle Alt) or the pleasure of eating two cupcakes after a day of greens—has given the fashion world en masse a girl crush.
Doré originally hails from Corsica. She launched her blog while she was living in Marseille, a perpetually sunny town on France’s Mediterranean coast, which she hated because, she says, “There’s no creative outlet and everybody leaves.” Originally an illustrator, Doré posted her drawings every day on the blog to no response. But when she finally added her own text, the comments miraculously started to roll in. The transformation from art diary tofull-on style blog came when she realized the bulk of her most successful posts were about fashion. So she moved to Paris, where she continued to write and post personal monologues accompanied by her own illustrations and photographs.
Her blog is, if nothing else, a rare inside look at the musings of one cool Parisian woman, and as her posts suggest, although French girls do seem effortlessly chic, they also have a lot to say about clothes. I met up with Doré at a local café in the 11th arrondissement.
REBECCA VOIGHT: The spring collections just ended in Paris. Did you attend all the fashion weeks?
GARANCE DORÉ: Yes, I was in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. It’s a marathon. I’ve been going to all the shows for the past three or four seasons. And I’m sending myself. When I tell editors that, they say, “That’s crazy. We go because we’re obliged.” But the shows are where I find the inspirations for my blog. It’s great because people get the impression they’re following me on an adventure.
VOIGHT: There are so many portraits of fashion people on your blog, like Italian Vogue’s Giovanna Battaglia, Alexa Chung, and the Misshapes’ Leigh Lezark, but you’re known for your street-style shots as well. Did you initially aim to cover fashion from an insider’s perspective?
DORÉ: Not really. As a photographer, you’re not so shy at the shows, because people know they’re going to have their picture taken. I still find people on the street, but I’ve kind of had it with street photography. At first, it was great to see fashion on someone going to work, but now there are so many pictures like that that the magic has been lost a bit. I want to take pictures that tell more of a story. There are still some very talented people who succeed in giving the sensation that each street photo is a story. But I photograph less on the street now.
VOIGHT: You’re still doing real people; they just happen to be real fashion people, and you’re shooting them more in their homes, right?
DORÉ: Yes, that’s it. But I want to do it in my own way, not like the magazines. My blog is in fact my own story that unfolds for people. I tend to control things more. For example, I’ve always posed people. I’ll say, “Oh, that’s too perfect,” or “Can you put your jacket on like this?” or “Take off your bag.” My pictures have always been a bit elaborate in spite of everything. They’re not really snapshots.
VOIGHT: Now you’re doing shoots for French Vogue.
DORÉ: My work has gotten a bit strange. I do consulting, and people ask, “Could you give me your opinion on this, and could you take a picture?” And I’ve been approached by a lot of magazines, but I’m trying to take it slowly. In fact, I’m part of the first generation of photographers who don’t have to depend on magazines because we have our own media and everyone sees our photos.
VOIGHT: How many posts do you do per week?
DORÉ: I do about five, and that’s a lot. And today I didn’t post because yesterday I was tired and not inspired. When I don’t have anything to say, I don’t publish. Rather than posting something that’s not very interesting, it’s best to wait until you have something that really inspires you and makes you laugh. If I show Scott a picture and he says, “Oh, I don’t know,” then I wait. Since neither of us has an editor, we look at each other’s work.
VOIGHT: You attend the shows, but mostly fashion shows themselves aren’t really the main subject of Une Fille Comme Moi.
DORÉ: I’m very interested in fashion shows. For me they’re at the center of everything. What happens on the side, that’s the energy—it’s fashion week—but fashion shows are at the heart of it. I function more like a stylist. I’m inspired, and then I try to find it on the street. What’s great about a blog is that you can do completely crazy things like take the moustache shoes Marc Jacobs did for Louis Vuitton for spring and talk about what that has to do with moustaches. In fashion, what people are looking for is inspiration and new ideas all the time. My blog is five ideas per week; it might be a meeting, a show, or a new model.
VOIGHT: Recently you wrote a post about a pair of pants from Isabel Marant worn by a friend of yours who works at the store. You couldn’t resist them, and after I read what you had to say, I wanted a pair, too. What kind of feedback do you get about posts like that?
DORÉ: A year ago, I wrote about a young designer, and that afternoon she had 50 people in her shop and 500 e-mails to buy the sweater I’d mentioned, which was then out of stock for months. And recently I did a post on my friend Anna Laub’s glasses. I talked about them before she had commercialized them, and it was amazing how many e-mails I got asking for more information and from magazines wanting to use the pictures. Now she has her own brand, called Prism, and she sells at Dover Street Market. I do have influence, but I only write about the things I really love and wear.
VOIGHT: Your boyfriend, Scott Schuman, has his own blog, The Sartorialist. How did you meet, and what’s it like doing the same job as the love of your life?
DORÉ: Did you know both Grazia UK and The Guardian voted us the coolest couple? So we’re at the top of coolitude. We met each other during Paris Fashion Week three years ago. I think he fell in love with me very quickly. In general I don’t like meeting the people I admire, but when we met, we found we had a lot in common. We’re both laughing all the time. He opened my mind and showed me so many things. I told him I took pictures, but I was an illustrator. He was the first one to say, “You have an eye, you have everything you need, and you’re going to be a big photographer.” My blog was a year old, and I had never published a photograph. In fact, he bought me the camera I use now, and that was before he was even my boyfriend. Now, we travel together, but our work is very different. I always seem to fall in love with the people I shoot, and Scott is very focused. He says that he sees his photo, and I create mine.
VOIGHT: Do you think blogs might one day replace fashion magazines?
DORÉ: There’s an enormous difference between the two. Street style in blogs is instantaneous and very personal. You have to work a lot harder for a magazine photo, but you’ll never have the same intimacy.
Rebecca Voight is a Paris-based journalist. Her writing has appeared in IHT, T Magazine, i-D, and L’Uomo Vogue. She blogs at superfluparis.com.