Last fall, they moved into a big, long apartment in the Village, the kind with one wall of exposed brick and two adjacent bedrooms in the back, one of which is for Schuman’s two young daughters from the marriage that ended not long before Doré began to appear on his website.
The first big thing the couple bought together was a Chesterfield sofa—brown leather, with lots of buttons—and they were sitting on it one afternoon, describing how they met at Paris Fashion Week. It was, Schuman says, four years ago.
“Can I tell the story?” Doré says. She is wearing a denim work shirt (his), navy-blue pants (“We bought them at Céline in Rome,” he says. “They look really great”), and ballet flats with a leopard print.
“Go ahead,” says Schuman. He is short and stocky, and he looks exactly like the former midwestern football player that he is. Something about him calls to mind the word leatherhead.
“I was a big fan,” says Doré. “Sometimes when I was looking at Scott’s pictures, I wanted to be with him. I wanted to be on his shoulder.” Doré looks at Schuman with a bit of a blush. “I don’t know if I ever said that to you. But it’s because of the light.”
She reluctantly tears her eyes away from her boyfriend. “I didn’t know his face or anything, but a friend of mine introduced me. She was like, ‘You’re going to meet Scott, but don’t bother, you know. He comes to Paris, and he wants to drink Starbucks.’ I was like, ‘Oh, yes. Bad American.’ ”
Schuman: “In the beginning it wasn’t a love thing.”
Doré: “Scott started having a crush on me. For me, it wasn’t a question: He was American! But very fast he changed my mind.”
Schuman: “Garance is very beautiful. And she has a great body. Which I had no idea at the time, by the way. She was very covered up.”
“In the beginning, I never thought my blog would be a success,” Doré continues. “I didn’t want other bloggers to be mad at me if I got too popular. It was my fake French modest side. Scott was the opposite of that. He helped me become more myself.”
“I hate to say it, but it wasn’t even super-sexual in the beginning,” Schuman says. “I was going through a divorce and stuff, but I just kept thinking, You’re going to be so great when you’re old. Here’s this beautiful young French girl, and I’m going, She’s going to be really great when she’s old. I grew up reading designers’ ideas about women, like: She’s so strong, she rules the world, whatever. I wouldn’t want to be with a girl like that, who’s type A. Garance is smart, driven, all these great Corsican qualities of self-determination, but she’s totally fragile. Totally insecure. That’s a real human. That’s the whole package.”
“I am very lucky,” says Doré.
The couple beams.
The world of who, exactly, makes the images that become our idea of “fashion” has, for a very long time, remained shockingly small. There are a few photographers who are on contract with several magazines, and they produce not only those magazines’ covers and editorials but also, more lucratively, the slick and shiny ads that appear between these pages. It’s been very close and very cozy for years.
But the Internet changed all of that, or some of it, and Schuman, 43, and Doré, 35, were there at the right moment, lingering outside (and, as time progressed, inside) fashion shows with their cameras around their necks. It’s not that the concept of street style was invented by these two—Bill Cunningham’s been at it forever—but they introduced the world to its latest commercial possibilities. If once upon a time the idea of “street” fashion suggested looks that were somewhat off the fashion grid, either in opposition to or in advance of the runway, Doré and Schuman are the opposite of that. “The thing that is really different from street style that came before is that it always seemed like they were trying to find the really different thing, find the crazy people and take a picture,” says Schuman. “I’d take a picture of a guy in a suit, and people would say, ‘That’s not street style,’ and I say, ‘But he was on the street!’ There’s much more subtlety on my blog than on other blogs.”
What Schuman and Doré do, in effect, is to remove one layer of fantasy from a typical editorial shoot. Their subjects still radiate glamour, but they are very rarely models. They are on Sixth Avenue or the Rue de Rivoli rather than in a stark-white studio.