Woman of the World ( Wide Web)

Elle (Canada) - - Radar -

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

In­ter­net...

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