Garance Doré

We should have known upon interviewing fashion illustrator, writer, and photographer Garance Doré that we were about to receive some of our favorite answers in The New Potato’s history of interviews. And no, it’s not just because she’s one of the world’s favorite chic French women (though that does always help) it’s also because she’s arguably one of the most talented women around today. Her new book – Love Style Life (which one of our founders, Danielle, happens to be in! Page 160 people!) – came out last week, and we’ll be no doubt reading it with the same fervor as we do instructions before sky-diving.

Besides plying our favorite ex-Parisian for tips on how to be more French (I mean, when in Rome), we also were relieved to hear her tell us to stop freaking out, slow down, and let go sometimes…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day? 

It starts with coffee! And then I make myself a bowl with a mix of fruits (I love pears right now), Greek yogurt, cereals and a little bit of peanut butter, because what would be a life without peanut butter? That’s my ideal breakfast. Another ideal breakfast is a full on breakfast at Hotel Thoumieux in Paris, with croissants, jelly and all, but I eat so much I feel dizzy after, and that’s not ideal.

Lunch with my boyfriend is the best, and I love to go to Café Mogador, which is super close to home, healthy and delicious. Right now it’s getting colder so I’d get a vegetarian couscous. We down a full mint teapot, but we stay cool on the sugar.

I love an afternoon tea. Always Earl Grey. It’s been like that forever – even in the summer.

Usually, I also can’t help myself from having a bite of chocolate, but again, I don’t consider it “ideal” diet-wise, because I don’t know very much about moderation.

An ideal dinner is either cooking simple things at home with my boyfriend and/or some friends. The other night he made amazing meatballs while I was having a conversation and a glass of wine. Ideal!

I’m not very much into restaurants in the evening; it gets very, very noisy and busy. My ideal time to go to a restaurant is at six, when I’m the only one there.

What’s your personal definition of good content? 

It can be anything, but of course, good content is something shown with a new, different angle. It’s all in the angle, the point of view, and the light you put on things.

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I believe it has to be easy, personal and happy. I am not into crazy regimens; I’m very French in that sense. I walk a lot, dance a little, and always talk about getting a trainer to learn how to lift but never do. It’s the same with my diet. I’m getting better and better at only eating food that makes my body happy (if you pay attention, it really does tell you), I probably drink too much wine and coffee, but I have a natural taste for vegetables and simple, wholesome foods. And chocolate. And peanut butter. And margaritas.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

In the morning, I clean my face with Crealine or with an Aesop light scrub. Then I put some La Mer lotion and La Mer eye cream. I don’t believe in putting too many ingredients on your face at the same time. I put a drop of oil in my hair – any oil will do and I have so many. I love them because I love the scents of oils.

Then a bit of makeup: Lancôme light foundation, a fast smoky eye (& Other Stories) and always the Clinique chubby stick for cheeks and lips. Right now I love the Dior Iconic Mascara.

In the evening, I take off makeup with Crealine, brush my teeth and put some Kypris rose oil on while I go to bed. That’s it. I’m lazy! Oh and I have a spray by Aveda that I love, Chakra 2; I spray it on before I go to bed. Scents! So important to me!

How do you always start your day? What’s your go-to breakfast and coffee order? 

Drip coffee, at home, or I can’t start my day. I have a Krups coffee maker that looks like a Ferrari and I love it.

Why are American women so obsessed with French women?! And (more importantly) how can we be more like them? 

I think American women are awesome and they should totally own their Americanness. To me, Jenna Lyons is the idea of the American woman. I think the obsession comes from that sense that it’s a bit easier to be cool in France, because we don’t demand so much perfection of women. We don’t get our nails done, our hair done, or our makeup done. We dress a bit the same everyday; there is not as much pressure. But because we have less to do, I guess we do it well? It’s like if you only make one recipe, you will end up making it the most awesome possible, right?

How has your food routine changed from France to the America? What are the differences in the food world there and here? 

This…is a whole story in my book. My way of eating has changed in some ways, because I eat out all the time and it’s hard to eat as balanced. I think that’s the main difference, and also, I think the health obsession is very strong here, so it makes people more insecure about the way they eat. They love something but they are like, “Is that good for me?” I believe that the answer is in the middle. Be health conscious but also follow what you love and what your body craves.

Five tips to looking completely effortless and chic simultaneously (aka looking French)…

1. Be happy.

2. Be kind.

3. Let your boyfriend mess up your hair.

4. Open one more button on your shirt.

5. Go minimal on makeup. Show the real you.

If we want to be thin and not work out, what advice would you give us? 

Walk, walk, walk. Best advice ever, given by Emmanuelle Alt!

Any surprising ways in which French women would want to be more like American women? 

I think French women secretly love the assertiveness of American women. “I want to be successful” is not something you hear a lot in France.

Do you have any DIY home beauty remedies? What are they? 

Sleep. Curl up in my bed. Relax. Cry if I need to. Beauty is also letting go of control. You can come back to the world happy and quiet, in other words, beautiful. (Sorry I’m cheesy but I truly believe it.)

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?  

“You’re the one who decides your measure of success.” Scott [Schuman] told that to me and that’s how I live my life now. I don’t want to get trapped in someone else’s idea of what it is to be happy and successful. And trust me, it’s not that easy to do!

What is the worst advice you’ve received?

“Catch it – the opportunity might never come back!” The first time I was asked to do a book, people told me I had to jump on it because I might be “no one” tomorrow. It was eight years ago, at the beginning of my blog. The truth was, I had no book inside me at that time. I didn’t do it and felt horrible, but I thought I’d rather be “no one” (what does that even mean anyway!) without a bad book. And now I know. If you have it for real, the opportunity will come back at the right time. We have to stop freaking out!

Do you have a dinner that was most memorable? What was it? 

It was not a dinner, it was drinks. I was with Jefferson Hack and okay, Jefferson knows everyone, but I didn’t realize. We were at the Bar Hemingway in Paris, and suddenly, some of his friends popped in, and there was Mike D from the Beastie Boys, Spike Jonze, Jack White, Alison Mosshart, and I mean, the list goes on. They are all personal heroes, Mike D to a level that I can’t even explain, because I spent my life listening to the Beastie Boys. And here he was, talking to me for an hour, so nice, and so simple. It felt to me like I was in a movie. I’ve met many celebrities, but rarely am I so starstruck. I don’t know if Jefferson realized what a moment it was for me, but I guess now he knows. Thank you Jefferson!

Another one? A day at my village in Corsica. For some reason, my whole family was gathered – Mom, Dad, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, nephews. My Dad is a chef and we were on the terrace of his restaurant that was closed for the day. My parents are divorced. I could see him talking with my Mom and laughing, in good spirit, which, as a child of divorce, is always such a wonderful moment, seeing your parents together, isn’t it? Everything started rolling in slow motion, and I knew I would carry this precise moment of happiness, bonding, family love and peace forever and ever. God I’m so cheesy.

What are your favorite restaurants in NYC? In Paris? What do you get at each spot? 

Here are just a few of my favorite spots in NYC:

John Dory Oyster Bar (I love their lobster roll), Omen (I love the sake with salt), La Esquina (fish taco!), Seamore’s (fish taco!), Sant Ambroeus Soho (Say hello to Alireza!), Narcissa (the garden in the summer is just amazing), and Morandi (at it’s best in the afternoon for a late lunch).

And from Paris: AnahiYa LamaiCafé de FloreGrazieKunitorayaH.A.N.DBREIZH Café and Castiglione.

The fall item you are coveting…

Did you see my Coach coat [worn above]? That’s the thing I was coveting.

What products are always in your purse? 

Clinique chubby stick and Frends headphones

Advice you’d give to women getting up, looking in the mirror and getting dressed…

Okay, just one thing I learned. If I wake up in a bad mood, it means something needs to get fixed in my life. It can be small or big, but I always wake up in a great mood, so that’s a sign. Apart from that, mornings are the most personal, intimate times, so I really think, to each his own! No advice.

Or…Okay, be kind to yourself.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

Slowing down. There will soon be an industry just for that, believe me. Our lives are crazy!

If you love Garance Doré, read about our friend Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller. Looking for more amazing French women? Read about model Aymeline Valade and jewelry designer Aurelie Bidermann

*Garance Doré, photographed at Miss Lily’s in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Garance wears a Coach coat, & Other Stories sweater,  AMO Denim jeans, and Stella McCartney boots