This week, we’re celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the site – can you believe it?! The stories posted will commemorate the different phases of fashion, life, story telling, and everything else that has happened since 2006! We’re so happy to look back and share some of the best moments with you, and hope you’ll enjoy the ride ;)
We were so busy, the date almost went by unnoticed, but on June 20, my blog turned ten years old. A whole era, a whole movement, a whole generation, almost, has passed right before our eyes, whether you were one of the first readers or a brand new one who’s just started.
It’s surprising to see how far a little idea I threw out there one day in June could take me. I remember each moment, each emotion, each success and each failure as if it were yesterday.
That’s why I thought to myself: why not trace back through the story of the blog – and tell you about each phase from today’s perspective. Because at a distance, everything is a lot funnier, a lot more ridiculous and a lot more touching. So here we go!
I’m a little lost. I have a comfortable life but it’s a bit disappointing. I thought I would do something more interesting with my life, but I’m starting to face facts. No, not necessarily very interesting. Oh well. Unless…
I opened it in June, with one idea in mind: to get better at illustration. I give myself one objective: post at least three times a week. Oh and another one: never say I don’t live in Paris. With my work as an illustrator in France, I quickly learned that not living in Paris puts you at a big, big, big disadvantage. So I just make sure never to say I’m writing from Marseille, basically.
At first I don’t even write, but the comments encourage me to open up a little more. No one ever saw my face and I was absolutely not ready to show it. Ten years ago, blogging was anonymous!
In 2006, I’ve got style…for a girl in Marseille. I’m still living in the south of France and it doesn’t take much to be trendy. I already love fashion, but my interpretation of the magazines is approximate at best. I love vintage, and my most beautiful bag is the one my mom gave me.
The incredibly feeling of discovering that my work is reaching people I don’t even know.
My very first one, of course. It might not look like much, but if you only knew how much courage it took me to get started. I felt dizzy like I was about to jump off a cliff into a lake.
Like that, without even thinking, I started dreaming about a high waist. I imagined myself with a perfectly placed butt (talking about the pockets here) so muffin top relaxed, with a little touch of “low waists are over!” in my eyes.
Moving to Paris. After a few months of writing my blog, more and more things are happening. You could even say the blog is blowing up quickly. Three weeks after starting it, I’m getting phone calls, invitations, interviews. Everything happens in Paris, of course. So I tell myself if there’s one time in my life to take a risk, this would be it.
So I pack my bags and head to Paris. Without a dime.
Meeting Géraldine from Café Mode, who also has a blog and lives in Paris. She becomes my first blogger friend. Thanks to her, I discover a new world, and also a new, much more Parisian way of seeing the world, and fashion.
I’m thrilled. I threw myself into this without a backup plan, and very soon, people are offering me little illustration jobs (and to my surprise, writing gigs) that allow me to survive in Paris. I feel like life is smiling at me, and even though Paris seems very gray, I don’t have too much time to think about it, since I’m spending my days working, and for the first time in my life, I actually adore what I’m doing.
Until October, my blog sticks to the usual format—a drawing and some text, except that I’m slowly opening up more and more and I’m starting to share more about myself. Then, in October I post my first photos. And yes, I’m living in Paris now, and what’s happening in Paris?
Fashion Week! My photos are a little awkward, but my eye is there. And my curiosity, and passion.
Parisians kind of floored me with their sense of style, and I have no experience and no budget. But I still have a little taste! So I do what I can with what I have in my closet, which is nothing. I pull things together, make up looks, go to H&M and sometimes my clothes don’t look like much at all.
My first fashion week: the incredible joy of feeling like I was at the center of the world for the first time, and also, though I didn’t know it at the time, the joy of being totally unknown and being able to do exactly what I want (= wander around the shows) with absolutely no pressure (= wear whatever I want).
I love this post—it says it all about who I was back then. Mocking and a little clumsy!
“I have to get dressed, it’s imperative if I want to go out. In a frenzy of inspiration, I take out a pair of big plaid pants. But the extravagance of the fabric stops me right in my tracks. It’s either sublime or completely ridiculous. I need confirmation. Punk confirms, she says: ‘If you don’t wear it at fashion week, you’ll never wear it.’ I wonder about the ambiguity of her statement, but I go ahead and put on the pants.”
A little perfectly prophetic sentence foreseeing lots of future clothing disasters.
Publishing my photos. I debated it for a long time, because I would say to myself: “No, you’re an illustrator! Not a photographer! But I really wanted to share what I was seeing, so I decided to let myself go. It changed my life because the photos added a totally new dimension to the blog.
Meeting Scott, and the very particular feeling of that moment.
I’m in a car going two hundred miles an hour and I don’t want to hit the brakes. The relationship I was in when I arrived in Paris self-destructs under the pressure of all these changes. The truth is I’ve found a new passion—my blog, and that’s all I have time for.
Oh la la!!! I’m posting a lot! I’m basically spending my life posting. I spend my time drawing, writing, taking photos, sharing. I’m in love with my readers, who support and encourage me. I discover a new life where I’m invited to shows and parties, and I don’t even have the time to pinch myself to see if it’s real because I don’t even have time to sleep—all I want to do is live it all and share everything.
I’m stuck on heels at the time, and I’m not the only one. It’s the beginning of the “fashion editor” trend and girls are all starting to take it a little too seriously. So I spend my life in heels with my camera, which is also:
It’s really, really, really bad for my back. But I won’t realize that until years later, of course.
My first fashion week in New York. No…my first trip to New York!!! I’d always dreamed of going, but the trip just never happened. So I decide to go to New York with Géraldine. I fall madly in love with the city.
In 2008, I lost my grandmother, Mina. I decide to publish a text that I wrote to share my feelings. It’s still my favorite post to this day. So full of love.
By the breasts of Donatella, I’m not turning into a horrible fashionista, am I? Oh Saint Gap, patron of simplicity, do something! The spirit of John Galliano is going to strike me down and I’m going to end up injecting hyaluronic acid into my feet*!!!
Quitting the book project I was working on at the time. I wasn’t ready. It was hard, but I had to let it go. People told me “seize the opportunity, it might not come again!!!” So I was afraid, but I can see now that it was a great idea to leave it behind…you shouldn’t always take the advice of well-intentioned friends.
This was the year I met all my fashion friends. Some became real friends who have motivated me and supported me all these years.
Exaltation. I’m traveling a lot. I leave Paris behind – a city where ultimately I didn’t live very much. Australia, the US, Italy, Scandinavia, I can’t stop. I take millions of photos. I’m in love, with Scott, and we are both carried by our passion for street photography, traveling, the internet, and our cultural differences. I think my feet never really touched the ground at that time, both figuratively and literally.
It’s going well…with Scott, I’m going to all the fashion weeks and we open a new page for the world of fashion. The blog opens the doors to a new and fascinating world that I have never been seen before—from the vibrant and glamorous runways to the more authentic street style. And it’s all happening with incredible immediacy. It’s not always easy for us, because in 2009, the fashion world still thinks of the Internet as an anomaly that’s not very chic. Magazines still reign supreme and no one (myself included) understands how much things are about to change.
I’m coming up with my own personal style. I’m slowly appropriating the masculine-feminine style that eventually becomes my signature. I have a few it-items (hello Vuitton bag – Sofia Coppola!) but I stay cool. I feel the popularity of the blog growing every day but I’m not feeling the heat of the spotlight yet, but I feel free to dress however I like, no pressure.
So many things happen that year. My first exhibit. My first fashion series for Elle France. It’s a year of discovery.
There are a lot, but I really like this one. Because it predicts the hysteria we’re all about to be a part of, me and my blogger friends. Our famous “front row at Dolce & Gabbana” (not my first front row, but definitely the most mediatized). Because I have the courage to communicate the discomfort the event put me through. Because it’s the real beginning of the marriage between fashion and the Internet.
Fashion is a very organized little world. There are rules, customs, kings, queens, jesters, princesses, an etiquette, codes to follow—you never stop learning, and it’s really fascinating. Unlike what I thought, most people are delicate and distinguished. You’re expected to be detached. But everything is visible, everyone knows everything.
The front row of a show is, above all, the best place to see the clothes. After the third row, you can’t see the shoes, and from the fifth row, you’re lucky if you can see the hair. Spots in the front row are expensive. Because that’s also where you are the most visible. You earn those seats through celebrity, experience or power. They create a lot of drama and give rise to some lovely ego crises.
To always think of my readers. For me, nothing I do, none of the doors opening to me are worth experiencing unless I can share them with you. That’s what anchors me and helps me keep my head on straight, whether people are treating me like the Queen of England for no reason, or treating me like I’m worthless for no reason.
Sonia Rykiel, probably, who opens the doors of her studio to me and draws for me and tells me stories—it’s an unforgettable moment.
Creative. I’m expressing myself better and better, I’m starting to master the tools I have at my disposal. I write, photograph, illustrate, make videos…I’m having a great time, I go from fashion week to fashion week to fashion week, the doors to the fashion world are opening up to me more and more. I move to New York. A big life change, and for the Corsican girl that I am, it’s a real moment of growth like no other.
I don’t realize it yet at the time, but my work is becoming more established. I start doing regular photo shoots for magazines and ad campaigns…I’ve got tons of illustration projects. I have a photo agent, everything is slowly falling into place. The blog gets more and more beautiful, more and more complete. My posts are less personal that year. I think I’m starting to feel a certain kind of pressure that makes it harder for me to express myself freely. I’m also probably exhausted. I remember working from morning to night, in planes, in bed, in cafes…
All the time, all the time, all the time.
My style has matured, it’s very menswear (from Scott’s influence!) but with a very feminine twist. I’m starting to cringe at the thought of fashion week a little bit, because I feel too exposed, maybe. It leads me to make a lot of bad purchases because sometimes I’m trying to look a lot more sophisticated than I really am. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s really ugly!
I move to New York, but I’m traveling so much, I barely even notice. I think I counted that year, and I never stayed more than ten consecutive days in one place. New York included.
A Month in Fashion, one of my first videos. I don’t know why, but it brings back a lot of joy. It must be the music. Your reaction to the video too, I think, because at the time, people aren’t revealing much about themselves, and then suddenly, it’s like everyone is completed exposed…
This post that shows I still have room to grow in terms of living arrangements, and that is also my first interior post, because I loooove interior design…
If I never talk to you about interior design, it’s not because I don’t like it. Oooooh no. It’s because I live in an apartment so small that I could be getting work done while cooking and taking a bath all at the same time, and then on top of that, any new piece I get forces a different one out. Okay, out the door you go. Poof.
Living! Going with the flow, the crazy energy of the moment. Too bad if it means I’m also exhausted?
Peter Lindbergh, a monster of talent, kindness and simplicity. One of my idols.
And Delphine, my agent and one of my best friends to this day.
Live in New York, check.
Go to Fashion Weeks all over the world, check.
Work non-stop, check.
My little world has taken shape, and I slowly develop my network. I’m used to my new life, and even though I’m still surprised by my “celebrity” I’m managing it. New York welcomes me with open arms (a little too open, actually, I have a tendency to lose myself a little with false friends) and for the first time, I have a little money, I’m living it up, I don’t struggle anymore. People tell me I’ve made it. It’s almost strange, I have a hard time believing it!
It’s taken on a more complete form—a mix of street style (I’m wandering the streets of New York with my camera) and posts about my life, what’s happening to me. Little by little, I become a real fashion insider, but to me, the most important thing is still my readers. The glamour and bling is fun, but I know I started this blog to bring a new voice into play, not to just keep telling the same story “Oh! It’s fabulous!” like everyone else.
I’m starting to discover another facet of fashion – evening wear, which throws me into a whole new category of reflection and fashion faux pas. I’m so slow, it’s still going to be years before I learn to stay true to myself and stick to my own style, even when I attend a gala.
My series of “Changing Lifestyle” posts on the weight I gained after moving to New York. I talk honestly about my problems with balance, especially in the fashion world, who values being thin above all else.
This post on the funny things people say at the shows…
Oh you know, this time around, I decided to live fashion week a little differently. I’ve decided to only go see shows I REALLY want to see, see some of the young designers, you know, where you find TRUE inspiration = ever since I changed magazines, I’m not invited to any of the important shows.
What are you doing after the show? Argh, I just have to go backstage after, pffff. = I know the designer = I’m more powerful than you.
What did I think of the show? Oh! It always takes me a little time to digest what I’ve just seen… = I haven’t had time yet to check Cathy Horyn’s twitter to see what I thought of the show.
What did I think of the show? Oh! I loved the music = I hated the show but the brand buys 30 ad pages in my magazines every year. And we don’t know each other well enough for me to tell you the truth.
What did I think of the show? Oh! My god, what a tragedy! Those clothes must be burned! Outfits like that, it’s a famine of beauty! = It’s the end of fashion week. I’ve lost all sense. My life is a soap opera and I’m the hero of it. Or I’m Andre Leon Talley.
Not just focusing on fashion, not putting blinders on, not closing myself off, basically. I start talking about the art of living, a subject that’s really important to me.
Emily, who was very young when she starts working with me (and who is now our COO, wooohooo!) but who supports me through every challenge and every circumstance, professionally and often personally too.
We’re expanding. I feel like I have my life, my work, and myself under control. I’m working like crazy, as always. I’m having a great time.
I receive a CFDA award, I’m writing a monthly column in Vogue Paris, I’m the face of a campaign for Net-à-Porter, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier.
It’s like, concretization.
It’s also probably the moment when I start to lose myself.
We’re working hard! We launch Pardon My French, our series of videos that’s a little too ahead of its time, but fairly successful, and it brings us moments of pure joy followed by moments and pure distress. It’s hard!!! It’s expensive!!! But we love it. I know everyone in fashion, a little too well maybe. It’s becoming difficult to keep an honest point of view without hurting anyone. The videos save me, for the moment.
I’m trying to dress for a role. And that role is “Garance Doré likes fashion” haha. Street style has become such a huge phenomenon, everyone is kind of disoriented. The crowds at fashion shows become a kind of circus—people are wearing crazy things to be noticed. And even though I make fun of them a little bit, I put enormous pressure on myself: to be good enough. Good enough for whom? Good enough for what? My style has always been rather simple, easy, but it’s not enough anymore. Basically, I lose myself a bit.
Receiving a CFDA award with Scott. To this day, we are the only bloggers to have earned that supreme distinction of the fashion world. It marks the end of a huge era. Fashion legitimizes our work. In one night, we go from being underground to being part of the establishment.
This post where I talk about how the content of the blog is evolving, and I explain how difficult it is to move forward without having to wade through a bit of criticism…
Thousands of photographers are pushing and shoving to photograph more and more elaborate outfits—way more elaborate than anything we see in the actual show. The clothes look a little too new, the photos all look the same, people are photographing the girls who have become the celebrities of street style without even caring about their looks. If they’re wearing it, it must be good. Which is often true, actually.
Not to mention the system that’s been put in place with fashion brands. The New York Times explains it very well here.
I understand exactly what’s happening, and actually, I don’t condemn it at all. It’s normal for the system to adapt and for things to evolve.
But personally, I felt it was time to communicate in a new way.
To make lots of videos! It was also my worst idea, but I learned so much, and I loved it. We eventually had to stop because to make a real program is a full time job. But maybe we will bring it back one day, in a different form?
I meet a number of incredible people thanks to Pardon My French, like Franca Sozzani, Costanza Pascolato, Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten… The list is long. Not all of them become friends, of course, but sometimes just meeting someone is enough to inspire you for life.
Mixed…My personal life is starting to suffer. I’ve forgotten myself a little bit, adrift in the current of my success. The first signs of my exhaustion start to appear. I’m having a harder and harder time dealing with the hysterical ambiance of fashion week, but I try not to show it. I’m supposed to be happy to be there, right? I’m lucky, right? I don’t have a right to complain, right? Right?
My blog is now a well-oiled machine. It’s beautiful, full of ideas! These are years full of creativity. I open the blog to other voices, other sensibilities, while still keeping a strong imprint on it, of course. I learned that I couldn’t do it all by myself at that pace.
I cut my hair, so all my clothes feel new. It’s easy to have style when you have short hair. I love it. That doesn’t keep me from succumbing to the monster of Fashion Week, though.
My solo trip to Bali, looking for myself in a kind of failed attempt at Eat Pray Love. It’s going to take me a little longer to understand that on a personal level, nothing is okay anymore, I’m out of balance. But I like the idea that I tried, before even being able to put into words the big crisis I was going through, and the breakup that was on the horizon.
The Chop! I cut my hair very short and make a little video, which becomes a phenomenon. I receive nearly a thousand comments saying how great it is. I feel different, beautiful. People also tell me that when a woman cuts off all her hair, it’s often a predictor of a breakup, but I turn a deaf ear to them. Me? No, everything’s great!
From this post:
I see it all the time because I meet a lot of very beautiful girls. In my line of work, it doesn’t take long for a beautiful woman to get invited to all the parties and get invites to be in the front row at fashion shows. It might seem comfortable to have it easy like that, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Beauty is a double-edge sword: it tries to guide you down paths without true substance, with no real future—paths where you only live through your beauty.
Cutting my hair—important, striking, symbolic of me taking control of my destiny again.
Mary Kate and Ashley, actually, because they are super legendary ;)
Lost. I start to get tired of running all over the world to fashion weeks, and I want something else. My work is to communicate my inspiration and at the time, I feel like I’m just repeating myself, but what’s easy to see from here isn’t at all clear in the moment, so at the time, I just feel lost.
I start the big project of writing my book, Love Style Life. A project that will take me two years to complete. But I’m finally ready, I have things to say, I have a message.
I’m writing again. I’m writing better. With Emily and my team, we try to organize my time better. We cut back on my traveling. Erik starts working with us, he lightens my workload—before he came, I was creating 100% of the visual content for the blog, so it was a lot of work. The blog is now a whole ecosystem of social networks—we adapt slowly, at our own pace.
I finally get back to simplicity. Finally!!!
My breakup with Scott. The end of an era, and the chaotic and thrilling beginning of a real renaissance for me.
My breakup post—very short, very simple, a bit hesitant. I got so much respect from you, my readers. It was a truly beautiful moment of respect online.
From this post:
There are so many Parisians like that. Chic, nonconformist, unapologetic about their tastes and choices. To me that’s such a critical part of style – a way of thinking that’s truly your own and profoundly personal, which never goes out of style.
Creating an Open Studio for the launch of my stationery line. To this day, it’s still one of my best memories of meeting my readers.
Myself. I found myself in Greece, during my post-breakup trip, one of the most beautiful trips of my life with Carole, one of my dearest friends. After that, without really even realizing it, I started on the path toward truly knowing myself.
Oh, and just after meeting myself, I meet Chris, haha.
Confused but thrilled. I’m beginning to really change deep down and it’s not without its share of crises and doubts, but there are also moments of pure joy. I’m in the middle of writing my book, my business is blowing up, we have to hire more people, I’m madly in love…It’s amazing even though it happened kind of fast, just after my breakup. It’s a lot at once, there’s a lot to manage.
We arranged things so most of my time could go to the blog and to my book. I’m traveling a lot less, and we limit fashion weeks, which not only take a crazy amount of time, but are also exhausting. I send Erik and Brie, but we don’t try to cover everything. You were as tired of fashion weeks as we were, which we see in the comments. Not sick of style, but sick of the fashion world, sick of overdone street style, sick of the endless amounts of clothes, the false excitement, and most of all—seeing the same content everywhere.
So we decide to slowly change directions. IT WAS TIME.
I finally know who I am. I accept my simplicity and even though I have fun with fashion, I stay true to my basics, which I describe in my book. The book helps me to finally define my style, after all!
The release of my book. It’s still one of those moments where, carried away in the craziness and excitement, I don’t have a lot of time to reflect and see all the progress I’ve made. When I learn I’m on the New York Times Best Seller list, I shed a tear. The image of me, this Corsican girl, daughter of immigrants, on that list…It’s the thing I’m most proud of. Well, actually no. The thing I’m most proud of is writing and creating (illustrating, photographing, conceptualizing) a book that I think is really, really, really good. And daring to say so ;)
This year, I turn 40, and it’s not at all what I imagined. I write a letter to my 20-year-old self (I’ve just reread it and it still makes me cry!)
My dear 20-year-old self, I know you so well, so here’s the most important thing I want to say to you. What I want is to send you a little perspective.
No, seriously. Stop freaking out.
The truth is, everything you’re afraid of is going to happen to you.
You’ll be poor. You’ll get dumped. You’ll lose someone you love. You’ll be ridiculous. You’ll make mistakes. Oh yes, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll make so many mistakes!!!
Sometimes you’ll feel completely lost.
But whatever happens, you’ll always have yourself.
Taking my book tour very seriously and taking time to talk with my readers. So many beautiful things came out of those encounters, and most of all, I came away with a much clearer idea of what I have to offer, and how I can do it in a better, more beautiful way.
That’s the year I make tons of new friends, I feel liberated and open and full of love. I also meet therapists who are going to be an incredible help and who light my way.
I get engaged, I go through a period of horrible burnout, and finally, I find myself again.
And I’m still evolving right before your eyes, but I hope that on top of it all, thanks to this site which is no longer a blog at all, I still inspire you, and open doors to different worlds, styles and ways of life that inspire you and go a little bit off the beaten path.
More than ever, it’s important to have a place you can rely on for a perspective and voice that is calm, clear, honest, authentic and not caught up in random trends.
We live in a world right now where there’s less and less counter-culture, where pop culture and Instagram culture (chasing after followers, posting images that don’t tell a story, and the trend of amassing more and more clothes) are invading our lives. It’s difficult to escape the Kardashians these days, for example. And even though I really respect them, I’d like to be able to open a magazine or webpage without them being there, omnipresent.
So without claiming to be counter-culture (even though I was in my beginnings, redefining the contours of fashion, and I’m very proud of that) I think it’s more important than ever before to stay clear-headed, full of humor, perspective, excitement, and inspiration.
That’s what excites me in 2016, anyway. What about you?
Translated by Andrea Perdue