The New Garconne – what’s it all about?

The New Garconne book Navaz Batliwalla Disneyrollergirl
Three years ago I had a lightbulb moment. “Why doesn’t someone do a coffee table book on women with ‘gentlewoman style’?” I said to Mr DRG. Nothing new, as we have one of these “why doesn’t someone do/design/invent…” conversations at least thrice a week.

“You should do it,” he said, most likely as a conversation stopper. I filed it in the part of my brain marked, ‘good ideas that will never see the light of day’, and started a Pinterest board instead.

Fast forward to, um, today and the lightbulb moment has trasitioned into a real, living, actually-on-the-shelves physical thing that you can hold. Guys, I did it. I wrote a book – and it’s released today!

So The New Garconne – How To Be A Modern Gentlewoman is a tribute to the kind of cool, discerning, grown up tomboys that I admire. I’m not a fan of putting people on pedestals so I won’t use words like goddess, icon or girl boss (gag) but just say that the women I profiled are soooo inspiring and relatable yet have that unknown quantity that makes them a bit enigmatic. I interviewed them in person or by phone and then had them photographed Apartamento-style in their home, office or studio. That is, without fancy styling or props, just as is. If you’re as nosy as me, you’re going to love visually rooting around Bella Freud’s studio, on Caroline Issa’s desk, or in Laurence Dacade’s shoe-filled bathroom.

Hmmm, who sits on a chair like this…?
The New Garconne book Navaz Batliwalla Disneyrollergirl

I loved this garconne so much, I made a film about her
The New Garconne - Phyllis Wang by Elise Toide

This interviewee was so hard to track down, it made me even more determined (it was totally worth it)…
The New Garconne book Navaz Batliwalla Disneyrollergirl - pic by Max Dworkin

Alongside the interviews are pages that give more specific info on where to buy the perfect examples of enduring ‘garconne’ classics and why. And we also have a great street style section that shows achievable ways to emulate the look. I’m glad to say that the message of the book is not all about buying new stuff, but shopping your closet, reworking vintage or heirloom pieces and tapping into your own gentlewoman style. The book is also not just limited to style. Being a ‘new garconne’ is about a way of living, being independent-minded, creative and risk-taking.

The New Garconne book Navaz Batliwalla Disneyrollergirl

The New Garconne – How to be a Modern Gentlewoman is available from today in all the usual bookshops including Waterstones, Foyles, WHSmith and fabulous arty places like the Tate Modern bookshop, where one of my friends has already seen it. If you see it (or buy it!), please let me know on social media (@Disneyrollrgirl on Twitter and @Disneyrollergirl on Instagram) and tag it #thenewgarconne. And do let me know what your favourite bits are…

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Kasia Bobula; Elise Toide; Max Dworkin; Disneyrollergirl
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Introducing my big, fat, anti-fashion book

The New Garconne - How To Be a Modern Gentlewoman

I have some exciting news that I’m finally able to share with you! I’ve spent the last two years working on a personal project that has been as fulfilling as it’s been challenging. Somehow I’ve managed not to breathe a word to anyone online, but later this month it will be unveiled to the world.

OK, it’s not big or fat or even anti-fashion, but I have written and creative directed a book! *Pauses at the enormity of that last sentence.* The New Garconne – How to be a Modern Gentlewoman is being published at the end of September (in the UK, everywhere else it’s about a month later) and in short, it’s an exploration of today’s creative, entrepreneurial woman who appreciates aesthetics, craftsmanship, quality, history and culture. (more…)

Carnival vibes

Converse Notting Hill Carnival trainers

I might have to put aside my allegiance to plain off white All Star high tops, in deference to these Carnival tribute Chucks from Converse. Aren’t they jaunty? Converse has released these exclusive limited editions today on (Β£70) along with two customised styles by British music artists Lady Leshurr and Clara Amfo.

I have a love-hate relationship with Carnival. (more…)

The Isaac Mizrahi Pictures by Nick Waplington

Isaac Mizrahi Pictures by Nick Waplington

I finally saw Nick Waplington’s latest gem of a book, The Isaac Mizrahi Pictures, which gives us a glimpse of nineties New York fabulosity. As with Alexander McQueen: Working Process, Waplington juxtaposes two different habitats, the design studio of one of the 90s’ most celebrated designers and the raucous dancefloor of NYC nightlife.

But of course, the funnest part is looking at the models, the clothes, the details and nuances of 90s style that in some ways (i.e. in my head) don’t seem that long ago, but in others, feel like a lifetime away. Scroll below to see what I mean… (more…)