When we caught the news that Garance Dore, one of fashion’s most (effortlessly) aspirational bloggers, illustrators and authors, was coming to DC on the occasion of her Love Style Life book tour (which happens TODAY at 3295 M Street Club Monaco, 6-8pm, and you can JUST show up for it) we NATURALLY angled for an interview.
Somewhat less naturally we were granted said interview at which point the kind of panic we haven’t felt since we got to chat with Mark Duplass (a very different but equally major BYT staff crush) set in. So, in the name of research, I sent an email around asking assorted other cool women I know for questions they wanted to ask Garance, and the pretty universal reply seemed to be: “Um, I don’t know, just … WHY ARE YOU SO COOL?”. Which, in many ways, perfectly sums up the state of mind she provokes.
And, once on the phone, you do need to restrain yourself a little from asking just that. Garance sounds exactly what you image Garance would sound: a melodic French accent that is picking up little transatlantic invocations, an easy laugh, and a certain balance of girlish enthusiasm and very womanly balance that almost dares you not to develop a crush on her.
On that note, we’d like to ask you to try and imagine THAT VOICE as you read her discuss everything from day-to-day routines and uniforms to instagram pet peeves and her favorite author below.
And since “WHY ARE YOU SO COOL?” is off the table, we start with:
BYT: If time/space continuum didn’t matter-what would your ideal day look like? What would you do if you could do ANYTHING you wanted?
Garance Dore: Oh, let me think. I’d definitely want to start at my home in the morning, with my fiance. Which, in this scenario, is by the beach (Garance normally lives in New York City in her non-fantasy fantasy life – ed). And I love breakfast, so I’d probably spend a long time on that. And breakfast food matters so I’d make sure it is the best food – great fruit and such. And then we’d get ready and go to Corsica and hang out with my family. Then good coffee. Then, lunch in New York with my friends. In the afternoon, I’d want to do some cool activities, with my fiance, something that makes my heart beat – kite surfing or snow boarding or similar. Then, I feel at this point I’ve spent a lot of time with people I love so maybe some alone time. And then …. cocktails.
BYT: What cocktails?
GD: Margaritas are my favorite. And my fiance makes them just perfect. So…. margaritas, yes, and he’d be making them.
BYT: That all does sound lovely and actually mostly attainable. Now, sadly, we have to pull back to reality: What does your actual TYPICAL day look like?
GD: (laughs) Well, there is much more work involved. It still involves a pretty big breakfast to start with. I love breakfast. Then I start answering emails around 8am and go down that road. I work out as a break mid-morning. In general I try to spend the mornings connecting and keeping things organized, and then try and do more creative work in the afternoons. In some ways, there’s no typical day with all the shoots and travel and projects, but I do try and stop by my studio every day.
BYT: With your work being both so lifestyle based and so YOU based, is it hard to sometimes draw the line between the two?
GD: With the business growing, work has become a little more detached from my life. But in the start, before I had a separate studio and a team, everything happened in my house and it was hard to separate the two. But it is still important that every project we do we do something real, that feels true to me.
BYT: You have a reputation for being very careful about who you collaborate with, very selective. How did this Club Monaco Book Tour and collaboration come about? What are some of the things you consider when deciding who to work with?
GD: With the book, we wanted the tour to be a nice experience, before anything else. And I feel at Club Monaco, they understand that. You feel…. well taken care of in their stores. Their Fifth Avenue flagship is one of my favorite places: the bookstore, the flower shop, the clothes are lovely of course, but it is the whole experience.
BYT: How did the book project come about? And how did you decide THIS was the book you were going to do?
GD: The concept of the book took A LONG time. It was just something that was difficult to define and if you are trying to sell someone your idea and you can’t even define it to yourself, then that is a problem (she laughs). I didn’t just want to do a fashion guide. We wanted it to be about style, but also about love and life and our relationships with other, a HOW TO book on being a stylish person in everything we do. And I wanted it to be a collaborative effort, a book of shared experiences. Once those things came together, then it was easy, you are simply executing your idea. And now, we are sharing the book with the world, showing it off.
BYT: Was it difficult to transition from writing a book to TALKING to people about the book?
GD: The touring makes you take a step back. It makes you realize how your lifestyle has changed. You spend all this time inside, alone, writing. And then it becomes about travel and new places and new people. And I do love talking to people about the book, but ideally, I like a little less disruptive lifestyle, I like it when things are more organized.
BYT: With all the travel, what is your uniform these days?
GD: I think I always keep coming back to certain pieces, the idea of this essential, elegant, easy wardrobe I talk about in the book too. I have always loved sneakers and sweaters, and I wear a lot of them. And a good t-shirt or a pair of jeans can make you feel so good. And then I love great coats, and I pay a lot of attention to them and own a lot of them. I think a great piece of outerwear can really make you stand out.
BYT: And as a result your look is very effortless and timeless and feels, above all, very natural to you – did the way you dress change overtime (even subtly) and how and do you feel it changed compared to, say, 5 years a go?
GD: If we are talking specifically about five years a go, that was the time I was really entering the fashion world for the first time. So, I would say that I probably tried a little too hard to fit in. The photographers, the attention, you feel the need to wear brighter, more showy things, things for them. I would say that now, I know it is never a good idea to not be comfortable, to succumb to that kind of pressure.
BYT: Speaking of pressure, and speaking of things changing in the last five years… we have to bring up social media. @GaranceDore has almost half a million followers on instagram and it obviously matters more than ever these days. Are there any lessons learned on your end and any social media pet peeves?
GD: Of course, first thing is, we try to be careful. But we also try to remember that everything is changing all the time. Numbers matter, and it is something we keep an eye on, but still, whenever we post something (both on @garancedore and @studiodore), we have to ask ourselves: is this something real that we are putting out there, and keep our feet on the ground and focus on our actual work. I discovered that, for example, instagram, if I was to truly spend time on it, prevents me from answering my emails. Because the time I’d spend in cars or in between meetings catching up on my inbox, I’d spend. And that is very disruptive. It matters now, but who knows what instagram will mean 5 years from now.
BYT: Who are some of the people you personally enjoy following? And, on the flip side, is there anything that would make you UNFOLLOW someone?
GD: I like people who make it seem easy. Like Diane Kruger (@dianekruger). She is very natural and real and fun. And non-desperate. That is one thing I notice and don’t like on social media: this desperation to be seen. And I love National Georgraphic (@natgeo) and funny instagrams, fashion people are wonderful and I follow them to stay in the loop, but I like different views to life too. But I am not on it too much, sometimes for days on end. And I have friends who are stepping away from instagram. They think it is too overwhelming. A friend of mine unfollowed EVERYONE. And another one only snapchats now, though I think that takes even more time away. In the end, you have to ask yourself: what does this take away from my everyday life? How invasive is it?
BYT: And finally, all the girls in line today will be reading Love, Style, Life, what is on your nightstand?
GD: My favorite, and the author I wish I was reading right now and always is Nora Ephron. I love the humor, the awareness, the sense of self-deprecation. She is such a role model to me.
BYT: We wholeheartedly support this Nora Ephron plug. Thank you and see you at the signing!