photography

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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