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Seven Questions for Fashion Guru Garance Doré

The French style blogger–turned fashion icon talks normcore and winter duds ahead of her Chicago visit this week.

Garance Doré will receive a Fashion Inspiration Award from the Museum of Science and Industry this week.   Photo: Scott Schuman

It’s been six years since the New York Times Magazine declared Garance Doré "the guardian of all style,” and the New York–based fashion blogger hasn’t let up since then. She still maintains her compelling street-style blog, but now has collaborations with J. Crew, Dior, and Tiffany & Co. under her belt as well.

And now she has something else to brag about. Doré will receive the first-ever Fashion Inspiration Award from the Museum of Science and Industry on November 13. This will be her first trip to the Windy City, so I asked her about her plans while she’s in town, as well as what exactly makes her a museum-sanctioned Fashion Inspiration.

Is there anything you’re particularly excited about seeing, doing, eating, or experiencing during your first Chicago visit?

I want to try the Chicago lifestyle. I’m excited about staying at Soho House Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry will be cool, but I also just want to feel the city. That’s how I go around—I talk to people and they recommend special places. I’m gonna try to make time to go around with my camera and to really be able to feel what it is to be living in Chicago.

​By the way, Chicago is known for its awful winters, and the only way we know how to make it through is by wearing those ankle-length puffy coats. It’s a survival tactic.

It’s the same in New York—everybody gives up. A day comes and we’re just like, “Eh, let’s just wear Sorel boots and parkas.” If the weather is horrible and you have to walk in dirty snow and the wind is gonna slap your face, just give up and put on the good parka and a pair of duck books. We’ll talk about fashion when the polar vortex is behind us.

You’re being awarded the first-ever Fashion Inspiration Award. So what inspires you?

As far as people, it’s always the same few, and from there, it’s always somebody who’s made something interesting. Right now I’m very inspired by TV shows—like, Shonda Rhimes, how did she create her TV shows? My inspiration is very diverse and scattered. For everything, Jenna Lyons. For style, Emmanuelle Alt. There are a lot of different ways, and that’s part of what inspiration is. When you use it, as an artist, try to keep it pretty vague so you can make your own story.

Is there an area of fashion or beauty that you feel like you haven’t sufficiently explored enough in your work?

As an artist, the depth of my message about style—I’d like to maybe go deeper into that. In the beginning you just try to communicate who you are, and then the world forms and people want to be part of it. I’m working on a book right now, and writing that is really pushing me to put things in perspective. What is the message, what do I want to say? For me, it’s reaching even deeper.

A question for us at the studio is how to shoot fashion so that it’s still something new and interesting, and how to keep that spirit alive. When the blog started, everything was so new, and now it’s so recognizable. The revolution has happened. But how do you keep things inspiring for people every day? What I like is something very relatable, but elevated. How do we do that better, how do we create something new?

I think in that sense, it’s just the beginning of fashion on the Internet. We think, “Oh, it’s right there, luxury is everywhere,” but nobody has yet invented a new way to shoot a fashion story. I think there’s still so much to do with all the tools we have. Fashion has never been so alive, but it’s taken such a different shape. It’s all abut reinventing a new language. People are ready for that.

Do you have a favorite era in fashion?

My teenage years were in the ’90s, so for me it’s a very meaningful moment in time. Grunge, taking everything down, no logos—I always respond very much to that type of aesthetic.

Speaking of no logos, what do you think about normcore?

I just think it’s a micro-trend that’s coming and going, but personally I try to get back to [fashion that is] as simple as possible. I’m probably the blogger that’s shot the most girls while wearing just jeans and a t-shirt. There are so many ways to make it look cool.

The Museum of Science and Industry is honoring you for your inventive approach to fashion and design. How would you characterize your approach? What makes it different from everyone else’s?

When you have a certain set of things you like to do, and you make them work together in harmony, you hit a spot where nobody has ever been before. Nobody has the exact same set of talents and tastes. For me, it was a mix of my love for the Internet, communication, fashion, and storytelling. I think that’s what makes me special. Nobody has the same skill set. I’ve been able to find a medium to communicate all of that. I think it’s not necessarily that I’m special but that I’ve been able to express myself. That, and a lot of curiosity. Trying to push. There were many moments at the blog where I got called for another job, to be the editor-in-chief of a magazine, but every moment I was like, “Is that going to be more challenging than what I’m doing right now? Am I gonna be able to say something new?” And the answer was, “Probably not.”

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