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The Street Is Their Oyster

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Schuman and Doré in Milan for Fashion Week 2009.  

Each had an early career on the fringes of the industry. Schuman, who “was probably one of the few straight young men in Indiana who read GQ and Vogue,” came to New York and worked in wholesale, eventually opening a small showroom where he represented designers like James Coviello and Peter Som. That business closed in the post-9/11 recession, and he decided to be a stay-at-home dad. He began photographing his kids. Then classes at ICP encouraged him to try more adventurous subjects (the Fulton Fish Market, a sassy Hasid, a pretty girl shopping at the Chelsea flea market), and he started posting his images every day.

Doré was raised in a “very wild” part of Corsica. There weren’t many roads, but one could still get a subscription to a fashion magazine. She grew up helping out at her parents’ restaurant (“It was very remote,” she says. “You had to get there by boat.” “But Agnelli went there!” Schuman is quick to point out. “Yes,” Doré says, “and my mother was always in the most outrageous Mugler”). Eventually, she made her way to Paris, where she found work as a freelance illustrator for fashion magazines. Her original reason for starting to blog was to give herself deadlines. She wanted to speed up her work. But then she started hanging out at the shows and taking pictures, and then there was Scott, who gave her a better camera, and now here she is describing a game of charades she’d played that weekend with Schuman’s 12-year-old daughter, Isabel.

Schuman’s blog caught the eye of the editors at men.style.com, who started sending him to Europe to cover the scene outside the shows. His scope began to widen. The subjects of his early posts are cute and stylish enough, but you can see him really falling in love with the people who wear high-fashion, in-season clothing. And his photography begins to improve, too. The quality of the light changes. Another change: He starts posting photographs of himself. One of the moody ones, a black-and-white of Schuman crossing the Place Vendôme in an unbuttoned trench, is credited to Doré.

Doré first appears on his blog in 2007, wearing khaki trousers, a Breton top, a fringed shawl, and a black jacket. The subject heading is “The Illustratoriste, Paris.” Later, she shows up in military shorts and stiletto heels under the heading “Garance just shops in my closet (and by ‘in my closet’ I mean the green shorts, not the heels!).”

Gabriel Byrne hurries by on the street. “If he looked more cool, I would have shot him,” says Schuman.

In 2009, Schuman published a book of his work, and Doré sat next to him in a strapless cocktail dress at the Barneys-sponsored signing that September. They nuzzled. They were officially official, and they (and their relationship) had become online presences, every bit as important as their subjects. In this way, they were now the opposite of Bill Cunningham, so anonymous in his blue work jacket and khaki pants. He’d never dream of dressing like his subjects, of posting photographs of himself. The documentary Bill Cunningham New York, out next month, is revealing in part because it discloses just how little even his closest collaborators know about him.

Schuman and Doré are more of an open e-book. They refer to each other all the time on their sites: “Darling man” on Doré’s blog might be a link to Schuman’s blog, for example, and she recently wrote a whole entry on why Scott doesn’t like cowboy boots, and how he doesn’t think she should change her hair. “I like your hair the way it is,” he’d texted her. “Clean and fresh and healthy.” In an interview with French Elle about her beauty regimen, Doré said: “My weight loss coach, a.k.a. Scott, makes me eat muesli with fresh raspberries. He says they’re the best fruit in the world.” She also described the face massages he gives her at bedtime using a special oil from Kiehl’s.

“In the beginning, Garance was like a soldier,” says Anna Dello Russo, Japanese Vogue editor and a street-style legend because of her tendency to wear head-to-heel runway evening looks at ten in the morning. Doré would be “waiting outside in the snow, in the rain, in the cold. She always would say, ‘I feel so underdressed next to you,’ and I would say, ‘You should.’ Now if you see her, she’s beautiful. She maybe takes less pictures, but she dresses very feminine, very elegant.” The relationships Doré and Schuman have built with their subjects have paid off: Dello Russo has given Doré assignments for Japanese Vogue; Carine Roitfeld (the outgoing editor of French Vogue and another major Sartorialist subject) has commissioned work for her magazine. Sarah Rutson is the fashion director of Lane Crawford, an Asian luxury boutique. Schuman photographs her regularly, and ultimately photographed a campaign for the store, which bore similarities to a campaign he did in 2009 for Burberry called the Art of the Trench. Doré and Schuman are often involved in casting decisions for this sort of commercial work, whose effect is always to suggest that the subjects were found—trench coats and all—out in the wild.


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