I really enjoyed spending time with the effortlessly stylish Garance Doré in the Hamptons earlier this month. She’s the French illustrator, photographer, and Vogue Paris columnist who is also behind the hugely popular fashion and lifestyle blog of the same name. Garance was interviewing me for her blog and we talked a lot about fragrance and my love of roses. Hamptons magazine editor-in-chief Samantha Yanks also interviewed Garance and I for a behind-the-scenes shoot on AERIN Rose de Grasse—it was a busy day!
I put some questions to Garance before our meeting. See her answers below.
What comes to you easier, words or illustrations?
Words! It seems I don’t need to reach too far to find them. For illustration, it’s a more intellectual process, not as intuitive.
I decided to use my own name for my AERIN brand because everything about it reflected my lifestyle and interests. You went down a different path, using Garance Doré after the 19th-century illustrator Gustave Doré when you first became an illustrator, and the name has stuck! Why did you decide on that rather than your real name?
Two things come to my mind. The first and obvious one is that when I started my blog about 10 years ago, the web was still like the Wild West. I had no idea what I was going to find there. Also, having a blog was totally uncool. Only nerds with weird hobbies would have them. When talking about the Internet, people would automatically think about stalkers and things like that. So I felt like not putting my real name out there was the easiest way to protect myself. It took me a long time to even put a photo of me out there. Times have changed! The deepest reason is probably that I needed a fresh start. For me, starting a blog was like sending a letter to the world and I wanted to feel fresh and free. A name carries a lot of meaning and even if I love my real name, I think having a pseudonym allowed me to really be myself.
You’ve written about the similarities between Parisians and New Yorkers in the past, and your blog is influential and popular both here and in France. Do you have the same content for both or do you feel a different approach is required for each country?
I have the same content for both, even though sometimes I feel that I should talk completely differently to my audiences. The French and Americans are very similar in many ways but there are still some deep cultural differences that are almost impossible to explain. Experiencing them is the only way to understand them. So I try to just do me and be real and not try to be a people pleaser. That’s the only solution I’ve found!
I’d love to know your favorite fragrances and why you love them.
I actually love a rose! It’s the most subtle and feminine fragrance—I’m always looking for the perfect rose scent. Yours is absolutely brilliant. I’m also in love with the scents of Corsica, rich and sunny and saturated.
I’m inspired by many things, from art and fashion to memories and travel. What are your biggest influences?
Travel and the travel inside. The journey to self discovery. I’m just back from a trip to Croatia and I experienced a perfect moment of clarity there. The austere beauty of it touched me deeply and I got so much inspiration from it. The same happened to me in Greece last year and the emotion carried over throughout the whole year!
Has living in New York changed your aesthetic?
Living in such a hectic city makes me long for the quietness of my childhood in the South of France. I recognize more and more where I come from and it has informed my aesthetic, which is very bright and colorful.
What’s your process when it comes to working on your blog?
I just borrow from my life. I’m pretty open and I don’t have much to hide. My readers are like friends and I think that’s one of the most important things to me. I share what I love, what makes me laugh, and what inspires me. Those things have changed throughout the years, but the process is exactly the same, simple and honest.
Name your top three favorite places in Paris and New York.
NYC: Central Park, the Greenway around the city for a biking day, and the top of the Standard Hotel for the amazing view.
Paris: the Jardins Du Luxembourg, any little neighborhood café but my choice is the Bar Du Central in rue Saint Dominique, and the Comptoir de L’image for vintage magazines.
And when you want to escape either city, where do you go?
Lately, Costa Rica! I love the simplicity of it.
If you had to describe Garance Doré in a few words, what would they be?
Honest, fun, passionate! (And very humble)