Garance’s book LOVE STYLE LIFE is a stunning visual memoir and unique narrative journey that invites us into Doré’s inner world – from her childhood in Corsica, to her rebellious teens in the south of France, to her inspiring and unlikely path to the frontlines of fashion in Paris and New York. LOVE STYLE LIFE features chapters on style, career, beauty, elegance and love, and Doré surprises us throughout with her candor and intimacy, blending deeply personal storytelling with all new emblematic illustrations and photography.
￼￼What inspired you to write Love Style Life?
Well, it took me a while to form the idea of the book. Since I started the blog, people have ￼￼￼always asked me, publishers. It was hard to say no, but I did because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to do something just because it was supposedly a “good timing”. The thing is also that, I don’t only write — I also illustrate and take photos. It works well for a blog, but I didn’t know exactly how it would translate into a meaningful book?
So I just waited until I felt, “Okay, I really have “when are you doing your book?” and I had been contacted many times by ￼￼￼something to say, I know my message, and I know my voice. which is what I’ve done with the blog since the beginning, but to me, style goes way beyond just clothes. Style is, you know, the way you live your life. The way you are with other people, and so, always, through storytelling and my personal point of view, I try to show what I’ve learned.
You’re an illustrator, a writer, and a photographer — do you think of yourself as one more than another? How do they come together in your book?
No. I don’t see myself as “one more than another.” I think that it all depends on the moment, and I don’t like to choose much. And I think it’s also everything that enables me to tell stories and to invite people into my world — that’s what I’m interested in. I do think though, that writing is the thing that makes people feel like they know me the best.
I’ve never had training in writing, because I’ve always had an easy way with words, it kind of just comes naturally. So, I don’t force it, and I don’t hide behind words. I’m just very myself. That’s probably the thing that stands out. And also, it was very important for me to do a book that was not just style advice, but something that would be deeper and more intimate, and I think that’s what you feel when you read the book.
Do you prefer one medium of artistic expression over another? How are they each different for you?
I don’t think that I have a favorite one. I think that they all complement each other. I started as an illustrator, and I soon realized that it was kind of an isolating job. And then the writing came, and the communicating with people, and then the photography, where you have to actually be with people, and so it kind of gave me a balance, you know.
And now, ten years later, it’s totally different because I have a studio and several people around me. The way I now balance my work, my life, and like, things that inspire me, is very organic, shifting all the time. To this day I ￼￼Let’s do it.” I’m talking about style don’t have a favorite one. I think they all express my vision of beauty and life, and I think that’s what any creative person would be happy with… just to convey that this is what I have inside me, this is how I see things.
￼In what ways is print publication vs digital publication for you?
To me, the main difference and it’s defined in time. So, I finish writing it, and new things are ￼already growing inside me. With the blog, it’s an everyday work, and it’s kind of like an animal that never really stops. You have to feed it and everything, but it’s a great honor and pleasure to do it. With a book, you kind of give everything you have, and then it’s out of your hands a little bit. So, I think that’s the thing…
It’s just like setting a date and being like, “Okay, that’s what’s for me now?” In a funny way, even though making a book is really, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I’m already thinking of a next one because it’s a completely different type of expression than a blog.
How long did it take to write the book, and what surprised you most about the process?
￼It took almost two years to complete! But I’m pretty busy, and I didn’t stop working to make the book. So I had two jobs at the same time, but thank God I have an amazing team because, even now, everything around the book is like having another job. But if you put together all of the time I actually sat down and wrote, maybe it’s not that much, but then there’s also all the experience and all the ideas, and so, it’s very difficult to define how much time it took to write it. I know it took me a very time to mature the idea of the book. Years.
On some things, I’m a perfectionist, and on some things I think I love unfinished work, and that’s why a blog is so amazing to me… it’s that you can be a perfectionist, but you can also say, you know what, I’m not sure, like that illustration is probably not perfect, but I’m going to put it out there and I can. There is that kind of fluidity, and to me that’s what allowed me to become an artist – before, I would have been too freaked out to put anything out there, because I could never ever change it again. ￼￼￼￼￼come back to it later having the blog as my medium.
￼Sooo, with the book, you have to check every little detail. And, I think that’s the main difference, the book is a finished work and I cannot change it. It’s also an incredible work on details. So, I think it was challenging to my perfectionism and to my non-perfectionism, too… a tough one!
What was the most enjoyable part of working on Love Style Life? The most challenging part?
I guess it’s working with a team on a common project, and seeing all the parts come together to life is very exciting—yeah, that definitely. The most challenging part is having to work with a team too! You’re not the only one making the decisions.
As a blogger, you’re very free. It’s not like working with an editor who tells you “No, you can’t do that, you can’t do that.” So for me, it was the first time that I actually had someone be like, “No, maybe not this,” and I had to deal with it.
This book is a visual memoir. In what ways do you think readers will connect with it?
￼I don’t know how they will, but I would like them to feel like a friend that you can carry with you and want to give to, your best friend. That’s why I wanted a format like this, and not a coffee table book. What I wish is that it sends “good vibes,” you know.
Basically, you’re going to put it on your table, and you’re going to think happy thoughts. It’s like when Maya Angelou, I think, said, “People won’t remember what you look like or what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” I just want people to have a great feeling when they close the book and when they look at it.
￼You are a successful artist and entrepreneur who has grown without compromising your content – what’s the secret?
The number one secret is that I’m not scared of being broke. I don’t want to be, but I started ￼late enough to have gone through the ups and downs, and I’ve realized that what’s of value in life…
I mean, I don’t have the secret to life, but I know that it’s not all about money. It really isn’t. That’s not what’s going to make you happy. What makes you happy is many, many other things, and money is a part of it, but I think you have to make all your decisions with not just like the end goal being money.
It’s more something like, “Are you happy? Are you proud of what you’re doing? Are people around you excited and proud of what you’re doing? Are you inspired? Is it something you feel like you’re doing because you’re forced to? Or because you’re forcing yourself to do it?” In the job that I have, if I force myself, people will feel it right away. So that has always informed my
￼choices. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who respect that, like Emily or Delphine.
If we decide that “this is not for us,” or we feel like it’s going to be fake, they support me in my decision to not do it. Actually, they’re the ones who are like, “You shouldn’t do it.” But the first thing was just knowing that it’s not just about an entity that’s a blog, it’s the spirit you put in it. It’s trying to keep that spirit alive. Several years ago, you called your blog “your dream job.” Do you still feel the same
What are three of the most unforgettable moments that you’ve had in your career to date?
Oh, yeah! And you know what? It’s even better now because I realized that I can also change jobs inside my dream job. Like my job has completely changed…
As I was saying earlier, it used to be just me, and like Em or two people, and it would feel so light, and now it’s not that anymore, but I’m actually very excited. I have a team working with me on the blog, which is a new development too, but I also work on products, and on many, many other things. I think I’m someone who likes to change. I like cycles, so it’s amazing that I’m able to create a new job within my own job.
Well, there are many moments. I guess the outside moment of recognition was getting a CFDA Award, which was a big moment of validation and was unforgettable, for sure. The inside moments that were very important were, I think, the very beginning of the blog where, for the first time in my life, people were interested and listening to my voice. It was probably the most life-changing moment. It was not like, “Oh, I’ve done it,” or “oh, it’s happening,” but now, I can tell you that it changed my life.
And then, lots of moments of meeting people that helped me along the way, people that—they’re not really my best friends or something—but they just point in a way, or just changed my life in a way. Sometimes, I don’t even remember what they did, or sometimes they’re people like Emily who has been working with me to build the Studio. ￼Or someone like Diane von Furstenberg, who is an amazing guide, and I know I can call her if I have question. Her and Jenna Lyons are in the book, They’re great guides.
You’ve collaborated with some of the world’s leading brands and corporations – what about those partnerships is rewarding to you? What do you take from each experience?
￼I think in the beginning, when you start, just associating your name with other amazing brands is ￼such an ego booster, and as a struggling artist you’re like, “Wow, okay, cool, that’s kind of what I was looking for… I never even dreamt of associating my name with that name.”
As you get over all that stuff, you’re like, “Okay, now I’ve done enough of that, and it’s probably going to keep coming.” Today, I think what’s most interesting is when this all feels as natural as possible, and it’s a great way to stay true to your voice. And those collaborations are amazing because it’s the different types of resources people can bring… and I’m not just talking money or productions or things like that, but like, knowledge, expertise, country you know, like traveling.
I’ve just come back from Japan because I was working with a brand there, and it’s amazing how there’s this kind of energy that comes together when both parties are really interested. And the projects are beautiful, and so that’s the main thing. And the thing is, when you meet someone, it’s like,￼“Wow, suddenly, we’re kind of better together for a little bit.” Your website is now written by a team of writers, an evolution from how it started.
What was behind your decision to provide your readers with different voices, experiences, and perspectives aside from yours?
I wanted to open it up to people of different ages, and different points of view. Then, I started to feel the weight of writing every day. It also simply was a different time for the blog and I wanted to evolve. And I was like, “You know, what do I stay attached to?” and, “What do I want?” Because in the beginning, people were like, “Oh, you know, we want to read you”. And I was like, “Yeah, I know,” but you can’t always give people exactly what they want and you have to do something that feels right. So it was a mix of that, and also, you can’t stay stuck…
I don’t think I’m going to have a medal of honor if I’m still writing, shooting, and illustrating every day on my blog. I think the magic is being able to transform and being able to stretch, and have time, for example, to write a book. It only happened this year, where I actually took a step back and had more of a team of writers. Most of it was created because I had to write the book. It was also a way for me to put my energy into something that’s different. So I think that’s interesting, and for me, that was the decision. And I might come back. I’m never like, “Oh, this is the way it is,” but I’m going through a transformation myself as well. The blog is almost 10…you have to grow.
In your book, you essentially describe yourself as a small town girl with big city dreams. What do you think was the first significant step you took toward achieving those dreams?
The first-ever concrete step was to decide to give a try at not having a “normal job” and starting to train myself as an illustrator. It put me on the way.
What advice would you give a twenty year old who wants to break into the fashion industry, whether as a blogger, a designer, or any other role?
￼It’s very true, the only thing is I almost couldn’t even dream of the big city, it was almost too far from my reach. So it happened in small steps, figuring out one element after another. I first opened my blog, having no idea that one day I would be so in demand that I would have to ￼move to Paris.
￼￼Try to intern as much as you can. ￼ it’s easy to say though, and that not everyone can afford coming to intern in New York. So I would say, depending on what your skills are, try to put them out there. The internet is amazing, and I think it’s a great place. People are looking every day to notice new people. I go on Instagram and find new people every day that I want to feature on the blog.
So, I think we’re lucky to be in a time like that, so it’s not as unrealistic as it I know used to be to get noticed for one of your talents. If you’re a writer, write a blog. If you’re a designer, show your designs through Instagram, but do it a way that’s original, so people notice it. And there are many other jobs—it’s not all creative. Then you have to do kind of what I did, like, work your ass off, be a waitress, and just get to the city. It’s hard to be working in the fashion industry if you’re not in the big cities, you have to be honest with that.
Unless you want to have a shop or something in a small town… So, I would say, get your ass to New York or Paris, see how it works, and, how do you say, “hustle,” “struggle,” and just do it. It’ll teach you a lot. Even if just deciding you want to go back to the city!
And, what is the best advice anyone has given you?
￼Well, the two that come to mind are from Scott, who told me that if you can create emotion, you can create a business. I thought it wasn’t very, you know, French and Romantic. I was like, “That’s crazy,” but I think he was right in a way. And the other is a beautiful quote, a beautiful ￼thing that Diane von Furstenberg told me. She said:
“Sometimes in life, when you look like you’re on top of everything, you’re feeling miserable inside, and sometimes when everybody thinks that you’re down, and that you’re never going to make it is when you have the best moments of your life so don’t dwell on these things, try to always look for what’s really inside and not what people think.”
I think that’s a good thing to live by because it’s absolutely true.
You talk about your parents and your grandmother in Love Style Life. Who would you say influenced you and your style the most?
I guess my mom. She was very, very fashion-forward when I was a teenager, like, too much… It was like, “I can’t talk with you, mom,” like, “You’re wearing Jean Paul Gaultier cones,” you know, the things with the boobs. But she loves it, and she expressed a lot through that, and also, she showed me a lot of things, like how to dress, and she doesn’t glorify money. She loved beautiful things, but at the same time, she was always cutting through vintage clothes and making them hers. I think she’s a very creative person. She really kicked my ass in that way. And so, she probably kind of shaped—obviously, it’s my mom—she probably shaped the way I look at things.
Do you have a sentimental piece of clothing at home, something from when you were a young girl? Who are your style icons?
￼I don’t… because I’m not very sentimental with stuff, and thank God because you lose them, and it’s the worst. You get attached to them. I have one thing though. It’s a watch that my mom offered me when I was seventeen. It was kind of cute because it was a Rolex, and, for me, it was like, “Wow! That’s crazy, it’s so expensive.” And she was like, “Here is a present for you,” “always have it with you,” and “one day, if you are in trouble, you can sell it.” (Laughs). So, I ￼thought it was kind of cute to give it to me like a bunch of money, basically saying “I’m always right here with you”.
They change all the time. Like now, I feel like I’m in the moment when I’m changing styles because I’m tired of the way I used to dress. So you probably won’t see it, but I’ll feel like it’s new because my style is still pretty contained, and I don’t like many colors and all that. I guess, Lauren Hutton, Jenna Lyons…You know, even if I don’t necessarily dress like her, I love the way she does her own thing, and I think anybody can look up to her for that and do it in their own way. So my style icons are people that are very independent and individual. Like Lauren Hutton.
￼I remember stories about her style, in the 90’s, how she was so cool and casual, and was wearing khakis with plastic shoes —she was the only one dressed like that and she felt very confident and beautiful like that. So people like that. Strong, confident, kind individuals.
What advice would you give to a woman looking to discover her personal style?
￼It’s all in the book! I talk about the four ways there are of discovering yourself. Let me pick it up because I have it here. The first one is to dress according to your lifestyle, so that you look good but also at ease. On my days of shooting for example, I rarely wear high heels. Then it’s about knowing your body because fashion is nothing if we don’t know what looks good on us, and it only goes with trial and error. Then it’s about what you want to say to the world, about who you are now, and about the woman you want to become. For example, if you’re an intern, you want to look cool, but you don’t want to overshadow everybody that’s on the team. Fashion is really communication.
What’s one item every woman should have in their wardrobe?
A good pair of jeans, a perfect tee-shirt, and a lot of self-love!
What’s your most recent discovery regarding style?What is your definition of style, in the context of fashion? What is your definition of beauty?
￼￼I think that’s the most important thing that I discovered is that it’s much more interesting to dress according to your body than to try to conform or try to get skinny, just to fit into some clothes. I think we’re seeing that more and more with the fitness movement, where girls can be more fit and strong. I think the same goes for, girls who have curves…But the real secret is to feel really good in your own skin. It goes beyond clothes and it projects a real aura. So, I think moving and dancing and hiking and inhabiting your body, filling it with joy and experiences is the secret to elegance and style.
Well, it’s funny, you know, I was thinking about it yesterday. What is style today? I think what people used to define as style was something that’s recognizable, like, oh this is Garance’s style, and it’s not somebody else’s. But with the recent street-style craze, Instagram personal style feeds, people just dress differently every day, and they’re a different person every day – it’s more about outfits that personal style. They have a new bag, a new thing everyday. And you’re like, “What’s your personality? Who are you?” I see all these clothes and all these brands, but what do you tell me about yourself?
To me, beauty is like light. You can see that in people. It’s people who shine from the inside. It really has nothing to do with perfection—that’s for sure. And that glow comes from what I was ￼saying earlier, from really interesting people, kindness, generosity…
Also, probably from being healthy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. I think it’s really, like, being tuned into the world. It sounds so cheesy, but that’s the one answer about beauty. One other thing about beauty that I think is important is, if you take care of yourself, show self-love, and express that self-love out to the world, in the sense that even if you’re not the most beautiful person or not perfect, you still love yourself, and you show up looking the best you can. It shines through!
You live in New York now, what do you miss the most about living in France? What’s next for Garance Doré? ￼
I don’t miss much about living in France. What do I miss? Croissants… Being far from my family. I ￼lived in Paris for five years and I don’t miss Paris. I mean, there is a reason I came to New York, and I love New York. I love Paris as a tourist or as someone who doesn’t live there. It’s amazing, but what I miss about France is that I come from the south and the Mediterranean, and that is something I realized was important to me when I was in New York. And that’s what I miss the most: my culture and my south, the clear water, the sun and the slower pace of life.
￼Sooo many things! We keep expanding, and we’re doing more, but we’re trying to stay very slow. You know, for years, people have told me, “Come on! It’s happening now! You have to do all that stuff.” I’ve never been fast enough – I’m more like : okay, I know when I have to catch a chance, but I also know when to take things one at a time. But now, I think we’re ready to get
￼into some bigger adventures. But I want to do it slow and easy, because if there is one thing I want to tell to myself and to my readers right now is that we can relax. It doesn’t need to be a race, and you can accomplish beautiful things without driving yourself crazy. Life can be simple and beautiful.
Garance Doré, the voice and vision behind her eponymous blog, has captivated millions of readers worldwide with her fresh and appealing approach to style through storytelling. This gorgeously illustrated book takes readers on a unique narrative journey that blends Garance’s inimitable photography and illustrations with the candid, hard-won wisdom drawn from her life and her travels. Infused with her Left Bank sensibility, the eclecticism of her adopted city of New York, and the wild, passionate spirit of her native Corsica, Love Style Life is a backstage pass behind fashion’s front lines, peppered with French-girl-next-door wit and advice on everything from mixing J.Crew with Chanel, to falling in love, to pursuing a life and career that is the perfect reflection of you.