The Sartorialist Signs On in Paris

Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) launched his blog in 2005 with daily photographs of eccentric fishmongers and fashion editors. That snapshot procedure has enhanced and expanded with Schuman’s audience (and his comments!) and has culminated in a new book, The Sartorialist (Penguin).  Schuman launched his book Saturday at Colette, chaperoned by girlfriend and fellow street style blogger, Garance Doré. A line of fans waiting to get their copy signed stretched the block in the polished rue Saint Honoré—the mix of blasé Parisians, trans-continental hipsters, and teenage girls with their older siblings drew startled gazes from the well-groomed locals, and typical bedazzlement from the tourists.

“I wasn’t looking for stars or trends, I’ve never been interested in celebrities,” Shuman explained at his signing. But he admits he does have a great eye for market people and a knack for catching recognizable front-row faces on the street. Having spent 15 years working in sales and marketing for luxury brands in New York, Schuman initially was drawn to photograph the field he knew best, menswear. He clicked away, documenting diaristically his haphazard sartorial encounters. At the time of The Sartorialist’s inception, blogs were primarily text-based, he said, “I had no idea if people were going to like the concept, but I thought, there is nothing to lose… Worst comes to worst, I’ll pretend it wasn’t me, it doesn’t have my name anywhere.” Indeed, even if Schuman sometimes appears on his own blog and speaks in his own voice, “The Sartorialist” as a moniker  retains “a certain vagueness” he appreciates.

Being at the right time at the right place soon became Schuman’s trademark, and he was among the leaders of early style blogs as they became worldwide phenomenon. Today, being in the right place isn’t even so necessary, as his aptitude with Photoshop and his access to fashion weeks world wide has improved. Today, his multiple exploits include editorial in French Vogue and Interview, for whom he shot the editors of Fantastic Man. Carine Roitfeld, Anna Wintour, and Karl Lagerfeld are frequent subjects, because Shuman knows where to find them, and because they know he’ll catch them at their best—and do his own dilligent post-production.

Schuman’s coffee table book—complete with a limited “bespoke” edition has little of the look of the harsh, flash-focus most street-style blog photography. It’s got a glossy, embellished presentation that favors no-longer-strangers throughout the world. The 500 pages are loosely arranged under various themes: cities, style, recurring individuals coincidently photographed in different locations; they are intercepted by Shuman’s journal-style comments, as well as anecdotes by stars he’s shot, like Kanye West and Mario Testino.

Colette is located at 213 rue Saint-Honoré, Paris.