Happy New Year, everybody! Today I’m sharing one of the books I dipped in and out of over the holidays, the new memoir/style guide Love Style Life by famed French photographer, illustrator and blogger Garance Doré. If you don’t recognize the name, you might know her work — Chapters has carried a selection of her prints, greeting cards and notepads for a few years. (Naturally I fell head over heels when I first saw them — ahhh Chapters! you get me! — and had to bring a few pieces home with me.) This year marks a decade since Doré started her wildly popular fashion blog but somehow it is the book — something tangible to hold in one’s impeccably manicured hand — that establishes her as an authority on style, beauty and elegance.
Garance Doré (one of the few pictures of the author in the book)
Doré’s writing is the same here as it is on her blog: a kind of free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness style that seems as effortless as it does genuine. She deftly mixes the practical (how to find your own style, how to look better in pictures, stupid things that can kill a friendship) with the personal, and in sharing her own struggles and missteps, endears herself to the reader. We can’t hate her for being impossibly chic knowing that for years she was desperately shy, that she felt like the ugly duckling to her sister’s teenage beauty, that she’s cried for days with a broken heart. (Okay maybe we can hate her a little. But then she’ll make us laugh and all will be forgiven.)
My favourite parts are her comic comparisons between Parisians and New Yorkers, the chapter charting her career trajectory, and the 100 lessons she’s learned in love. (At just 40 years old, Doré has lived. And loved.) Although the book was released just three months after she and partner (The Sartorialist‘s Scott Schuman) announced the end of their seven-year relationship, Doré addresses their love story from beginning to end (lessons 74 to 100). She shares but never overshares, deftly walking the line between the personal and the too personal. And that is perhaps my only complaint: I wish her stories were a little more revealing, a little more dramatic, a little more raw.
Love Style Life is a beautiful book. Writers, wanderers, fashionistas and romantics will find much to love in its pages. Doré’s musings are interspersed with her own photos, illustrations and interviews with friends like the actress Drew Barrymore and J. Crew President, Jenna Lyons. Doré opens a window into a world that is as glamorous as we’d expect, if a little tricky to navigate. It’s a world I enjoy visiting regularly on her blog and treasure in book form.
Penguin Random House Canada Ltd. sent me a copy of Love Style Life in exchange for an honest review. Photo of Garance Doré copyright © Thea Thale and illustration copyright © Garance Doré.