Woman of the World ( Wide Web)
midway through making a cup of coffee in her New York studio (the steaming of milk is audible over the phone), Garance Doré pauses. “How would my life be different without the Internet? I’ve thought about it, and it’s not very fun,” says the 40-year-old Frenchwoman. “I don’t know what I would have done with myself. I knew I had something inside me, but I didn’t know where to put it. I come from Corsica; I was living in the south of France, and all my friends were starving artists. There was nothing for us on the horizon.” That was the view from her laptop in 2006, just before the Internet changed Doré’s life (and her name—she was actually born Mariline Fiori)... and then she changed the Internet.
Her eponymous blog is the fashion destination that launched a million quirky-cool copycats and paved the way for bloggers to sit in the front row at fashion shows today. She also virtually invented street-style photography.
Ten years ago, barely getting by as a freelance illustrator, Doré set herself a challenge: Draw for two hours and, whether the illustrations were finished or not, post them on her new website. “I didn’t have any money to train myself, so I put them online to see what people said,” she says. “I felt the contact I had on the Internet was more real, less jaded.”
Doré was not an overnight success. “It grew slowly! I remember thinking ‘This is cool; maybe I’ll be able to find a job now!’ It took me a while to realize what was happening.” Others in France’s first wave of successful bloggers did find jobs as magazine writers, cookbook authors—and shut down their websites.
Doré kept going... and found that it got her into the shows at Fashion Week and landed her work with brands like J.Crew and Chanel. “Everybody is like, ‘You changed the landscape!’” she says. “But I remember even three, four years ago going to fashion shows as a blogger and people looking at us like ‘What the fuck are you doing here? You’re not legitimate.’”
The question of being “taken seriously,” however, is not something Doré really thinks about. What she does care about is unexpected: “I am so lucky to have a voice,” she says. “Whether it’s two thousand people or a million, when you have people listening to you, that’s the real treasure.”
She continues: “My readers have taught me that being vulnerable touches people. I can talk about anything with them as long as I talk about it in a way that’s authentic.”
We ask blogger Garance Doré to
contemplate a world without the