She is everywhere.  It seems that lately we can’t make it through the day without bumping into Garance Doré’s illustrations (I just picked up some note cards at J.Crew), mention of her eponymous blog, beautiful images (hello, Zara campaign), or one of her web video series (I’m particularly digging this episode of Pardon My French where she sits down with Jenna Lyons).  Garance Doré is everywhere, yet there is never the risk of overexposure with this equally beautiful and talented woman.  It’s possible that you’ve never heard of Garance Doré, and that wouldn’t mean you’ve been living under a rock, per say.  Garance’s brand is such that it’s never in your face, she’s never begging for your attention, yet upon a closer look, there she is (and has been for years).  She’s an illustrator, a blogger, an author, a photographer (often credited with the birth of the street style movement) and perhaps one of the ultimate fashion industry insiders.

Garance, who is originally from France but has resided in NYC in recent years, made her first trip to Chicago last week to be honored with The Museum of Science and Industry’s Inaugural Fashion Inspiration Award.  It goes without saying that there was no way we were going to let this one slip through town without taking the opportunity to chat about her background, career, and the current state of the blogosphere…

You grew up in Corsica.  Now to a Chicago girl that sounds very exotic and Euro-chic, but you’ve mentioned that it’s far from the center of the French fashion industry. Were fashion and style a part of your early life? What advice do you have for young women and girls looking for career in fashion but find themselves far from the world’s fashion capitals?

It was very small, but a lot of very elegant people from all over the world came to visit. My dad had a restaurant where Brigitte Bardot and so many other celebrities would come. We met a lot of people and got in touch with what was happening in the rest of the world.

For the advice, I think it depends what you want to do in fashion – you can open a store anywhere. But if you want to be a fashion editor, you have to go to the capitals – at least for a few years, to get the experience and bring it back. Feel like you’re in the beat of it.

Somewhere along the line of covering and collaborating with so many iconic fashion brands, you yourself have become a brand. How would you describe the Garance Doré brand?

It’s a warm and welcoming place, very stylish but with a sense of humor.

How does your working style and work ethic differ across mediums (illustration, photography, writing, etc) or does it?

It’s the same! It’s just the techniques that vary and the way to engage in them. Illustration is very solitary while photography is about engaging with people. I love the balance of all this works, the difficulty is the time where I have to do all at once!

You’ve met and mingled with countless fashion icons. Who surprised you the most and how? Is there anyone you’ve been truly starstruck by? Anyone you’re still dying to sit down with on Pardon My French?

I’d love to have Azzedine Alaïa cook one of his legendary diners for me while we chat about his career and his vision of fashion. It’s really a dream.

I’m still starstruck with meeting Peter Lindbergh. Such a legend and the funniest, kindest of men. He’s really an idol and one of the few ones that I loved even more after meeting in real life.

Street style blogs seem to be a corner of the internet where overt advertising and the constant dropping of brand names aren’t entirely welcome, how does this remain the case in an industry and culture where everybody expects a link to every product? How have you seen advertising evolve in the world of street style and where is it headed?

It’s completely changed, when I started, there was no advertising and now it’s everywhere and you can’t even tell what is what. I just try to keep my vision and stay real with my readers, while evolving with my time!

What do French women seem to inherently know about fashion that us American’s are still learning?

It’s probably a sense of easiness and of doing less, because you’re confident in your own skin. Women all over the world are yearning for that but the standards that are projected on us are getting more and more unreal. French style is about doing less, accepting who you are, which is pretty cool!

So much of what you share on is personal. Do you ever have a difficult time deciding what to keep private? Are there clear areas of your life where you draw a line? Have you ever shared anything that you’ve later regretted discussing publicly?

Never really. Being a writer is sharing. I draw the line to where it touches other people than me, I don’t want to draw them into anything they haven’t decided. I’m not at all a private person, because I think we all go through the same experiences in life and that as soon as you open up, people connect.

Do you think the blogosphere has become over-saturated?  Will the bubble burst at some point, or will there always be room for new voices? What advice would you offer to someone just starting to blog today?

It’s not over saturated. It’s always missing more interesting, strong voices. I’m always looking for that! But I think today, the idea of success has tainted the fun naivety of the beginnings.

[Photos via Garance Doré by Taea Thale, Sandra Semburg and Lou Mora for Zara]

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