Garance Doré Talks Blogs, Books, Style… And Social Media

What Blogger Garance Doré Has To Say About Shyness... And Social Media


by Edwina Langley |
Published on

Garance Doré has the mesmerising gift of speaking to strangers like friends. She's not over-familiar – and no, there's no apparent efort to make you her friend. She is just at ease – with you, with herself, with the situation.

Interviewing her is to be in 'friendly chat' mode for virtually the entire conversation. It would be the best trick in the book if it were, indeed, a trick. But it's not. It's just Garance, being Garance. Like she is in her blog.

'I used to be very shy,' she says, on the topic of the relatable tone of *Garance *Doré, her blog. 'My best friend... [is] a very natural person. She [grew] up with boys – she had two brothers – [and] they were always picking at her. She [has] that thing where she [is] so herself. Sometimes she's not smart, sometimes she's not perfect, but people love her for that.

Garance Dore At Her Love x Style x Life Book Signing In LA – Dec 2015 [Rex]
Garance Dore At Her Love x Style x Life Book Signing In LA – Dec 2015 [Rex]

'It made me realise that my 'shyness' was very self-centred. I didn’t want people to think about me 'this way', I didn’t wanna show that I didn’t know something... The day I realised that everybody was the same, had the same type of feelings, totally broke something. And I stopped being shy in one second. You know, if I fall on my face or if I say I don’t know about an event that's just happened – it’s alright!

'[I was] 20 then, but it took a while to change my personality, to change the way I was with people. By the time I opened my blog it was really part of me... That thing of: 'I'm a girl, I have doubts, I have all these things, and I'm going to put them out there.' [...] That was just something I wanted to put on the blog.'

Garance Next To Solange Knowles On The FROW Of Alexander Wang x H&M Show In New York - Oct 2014 [Rex]

Born in 1975 to an Italian father and Algerian mother, Garance (her pen name, her real one is top secret) grew up in Corsica. She has said in the past it was so remote there she found it difficult to buy a pair of Converse. She studied literature as a student, and shortly after graduating, decided to dedicate a year to becoming an illustrator (her dream job at the time).

She moved to Paris and picked up work. But whilst her illustrations were published in numerous magazines, she felt there was still something missing. 'I opened the blog in the first place because I could see my illustrations in magazines, but it was so underwhelming. You put that thing out there, and you have no feedback. Once your mum has called you and said: 'Oh I saw your thing,' [it gets] boring because it becomes the new normal.

'I wanted to post my illustrations [on the blog] and one day I put three lines of comment. I [realised] my illustrations did not speak for themselves. I got so much more feedback, because people could see there was a person [behind them]. It pushed me to do more of that because, when you get comments and people react to you, it kind of motivates you.

'So I got very addicted to the reactions and to being able to communicate with my audience very fast.'

This was 2006, and the blog 'boom' (if one may call it that) was just beginning. At the forefront, was Garance, scribbling away about her life, her style, her love of food and everything else she loved. 'Ten years ago, people were looking at me like I was a weirdo,' she recalls. 'Fashion brands didn’t get it, didn’t think it was cool. Now you see all the designers are on Instagram!


'I don't think I'm that smart to understand [trends] like that,' she continues. 'But I knew what I liked, and I knew how it felt, how amazing it was to have a voice. What I knew very early [was] that I was very lucky. I think that’s one of the reasons why it worked out. [Because] the end goal, if there was one, was not for me to find another job. I knew I had something that was irreplaceable.'

In France at the time there were a number of bloggers doing what Garance was doing. But she stuck steadfastly to her guns. 'With the first wave of success, people were asked to integreate into magazines,' she says, 'and I remember saying ‘no’ many times, even though some offers were very attractive.

'I think I had a sense that there was something special happening, and that I shouldn’t let go. A lot of bloggers were like, 'Oh, I can work at that magazine! Im gonna do it, gonna get a salary'. But I [didn't] want to let go of what I had. It was more personal.'

Via word of mouth, her blog gathered momentum. And after meeting The Sartorialist founder and photographer Scott Schuman (who she went on to date for seven years) Garance moved to New York. There she embraced all creative avenues, garnering a reputation as an esteemed photographer and fashion influencer, as well as an illustrator and writer.

Designers fell over themselves to collaborate, resulting in videos for L'Oreal and Net-A-Porter, and iPhone covers for Kate Space. She even broughout out her own line of stationary. 'It's very interesting to work with brands because brands are fascinating,' she says. 'The access [they] give you to creatives...'

Dressed in her 'very French' style, as she calls it – a loose-fitting jumper, loose pants and brogues – she is drinking a black Americano. A few times in conversation she makes pointed reference to her age – 40 – but she looks a decade younger. Her 'feminine' chic haircut looks youthful and her skin is almost flawless; she might be one of those people who drinks 5,000 litres of water a day and goes to bed in a skin hydration facemask night after night, but it's doubtful. Like her character, her beauty is natural.

So it's litle wonder she has amassed such a following (nearly half a million followers on Instagram). And now her fans can learn even more about her because she has just bought out a book. Love x Style x Life is part style guide, part diary, part window into her life as an 'influencer' (though one imagines she loathes that moniker). The Guardian called her 'the best thing to happen to style since Grace Coddington,' and legions agree.

What's interesting though, is that she is more than mere fashion adviser. She's more than an 'it' girl, more than someone to watch and follow and copy. Because it's what she has to say that's most stylish.

For example, she gets onto the subject of social media, specifically, how to keep up with the endless demands it places on users, famous or not. Now, she's a photographer. How tempting would it be for her Instagram account to be an endless reel of perfect snaps – perfect her, perfect things, perfect scenes with perfect captions? Quite tempting.

But for Garance, that would be perfectly dreadful.

Garance Taking A Breather During Paris SS16 Fashion Week - Oct 2015 [Rex]

'On Instagram you don't write so much and I'm not so good at catchy little phrases,' she admits. 'I overshare, I write a lot. So I'm doing a post every week, where I comment on [my] Instagram photos. I say: 'Ok, this took me an hour to do, and that’s how this came about...' I don’t want it to become: 'Look at my pretty life,' you know? It took me a very long time to adjust to Instagram because of that. But now I understand, I'm actually having fun.'

She currently lives in New York with her musician boyfriend, Chris Norton, but reveals they are considering a move to LA. When asked what she likes about the West Coast city, she responds: 'I think it's more: what is it about New York that I'm ready to leave? I think it's the race for success. You can do so much but I don’t want to spend the next 10 years in that same thing. I want to cultivate something different.

'I'm worried about looking back [and] thinking: I just spent 10 years working and going to restaurants. You know, because that’s kind of what you do.

'And even if I decide not to go to LA, I think I'll organise a lifestyle in New York that's a lot more [about the] countryside. Life goes so fast, and I think turning 40 makes you [ask]: what do I really want?

'You're on a train that goes so fast and one day you wake up and you know, that’s it. So you want to be able to go the beach and surf and have a house with a backyard and all that.

Garance With Her Boyfriend, Musician Chris Norton, In New York – Feb 2015 [Rex]

'I feel like this is going to be much more interesting for my work as well. And that’s why I'm also thinking of LA. Because there is a whole side to [it] – like entertainment [and] cinema. [I'm thinking of] a different angle, to cultivate more.'

'With the book,' she concludes, 'people ask me a lot of advice, so I want to represent the life that I believe in. Which is [one] where you're very connected [to] yourself, and not just running after fame.'

She's stylish, she's grounded, she's honest, she's great. That's Garance Doré – the person, the blog. Is it any wonder both are so popular?

Love x Style x Life by Garance Doré is on sale from most bookshops

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