Fashion Magazine

Fashion and Francophilia

By Stephanieregnif @OnHerBookshelf


Gwendolyn  is a francophile, foodie, and photographer living in a Connecticut and working in New York’s magazine industry. She specializes in large format film photography.

What are you reading right now?

D.V.:Diana Vreeland – It’s the autobiography of Diana Vreeland, who was the Fashion Editor of Vanity Fair and the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. The fashion industry owes so much to her.

What led you to it? 

I had just seen the documentary based on this book; it charmed me to no end. One of our interns at Vs., Marie, brought it in when she finished it. She was kind enough to lend it to me. I love used books – the way they look, feel, smell even.


What do you love about it?

I love that it’s essentially a conversation. Plus, Diana Vreeland is one of the most fascinating people to come through the fashion industry in the past century. The best editors, artists, photographers, etc. have this special way of seeing the world. Diana had that vision. Someone in the documentary said it well, something like, “She would set her gaze on you and you just started blossoming.”

Is  D.V.:Diana Vreeland  indicative of your bookshelf at large?

Yes and no. I generally read non-fiction and biographies, but most of the books I read are even more historical in nature. This is a bit of a leap into the contemporary world for me.

Do you have a favorite biography?

This might be it. It reminds me of listening to the adventure stories my father, godfather, and grandfather tell. They were mostly accurate, but certain details were embellished or minimized because their edited version of the events was more pleasing to them; the kind of editorialized memory they wanted to preserve.


Tell us about your photography? 

Much like me,  it has a bit of a split personality. I have an enormous body of street photography, which is generally unplanned – often a bit rough around the edges. I also love working in the studio, where I will research and plan the images long, sometimes months, before the actual shoot. Although I leave room for improvisation, my studio work is pretty strict in composition and concept, especially when I work with my large format camera. Regardless of the style though, I mostly shoot in film and black & white.


Does what your reading ever inform the work you make? 

Yes, very much. Much of my work has strong allegorical references either to literature or historical paintings. I’ve created a few series where I select a topic or theme and spend a month or two researching until I start constructing the images. I typically won’t start shooting until I have visualized each shot.

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