40th birthday party polaroids garance dore photos

9 years ago by

I always told myself I would throw a party for my 40th birthday.
Usually I’m pretty discreet about my birthday, mainly because it just isn’t very important to me, but this time, I wanted to make it count.

And so did everyone else around me – I’d been hearing “You have to celebrate!!!” for months. And, as I explained to you here, I totally agreed.

The thing is, I’m a little terrified of parties. I went through a phase where I used to organize giant, enormous parties at my house (having 300 people didn’t scare me) and I finally stopped throwing them one day when I got tired of cleaning up broken glasses, trying to fend off the police and to wipe footprints off the walls (with a hangover).

So this time I had a few ideas about how my birthday party would be:

1/ I wanted everyone to feel at home, but I didn’t want it to be at my apartment*

2/ I wanted to know and like everyone there**. My idea was that every time I turned around, I’d see the face of someone I love. And I imagined this in slo-mo, of course.

3/ I wanted us all to have an amazing time with absolutely no stress***

So we kept it simple.

Well, simple. Haha. says the girl who’s totally lost all perspective. Simple for a 40-year-old me, I mean. I rented out a suite on the top floor of The Standard East with a 360° view of New York (That part was my gift to myself. Super symbolic, right? As in, we made it in New York) and a big balcony (That part wasn’t symbolic, it was just so the smokers could smoke outside).

One of the most important things for me was that it wouldn’t be too big. I didn’t want to feel forced to invite people just to fill up the party. Especially since I’m prone to getting paranoid at the last minute and thinking “Aaaarargggg no one’s going to show up!!! No problem, I’ll just invite strangers off the street.”
So I only invited people I have an obvious, day-to-day relationship with. The people who know my secrets. My real friends.

40th birthday party polaroids garance dore photos

We had a Cointreau cocktail bar, champagne, and a real bartender (none of this, “shoot, there’s only red wine left!!” at 11pm), a little food, but not too much (I wasn’t too sure about that choice. Were my guests going to die of hunger?) and a gorgeous cake from Ladurée, because I’m worth it.

We also rented a karaoke machine, and bought a bunch of Polaroid cameras so everyone could take photos. And Chris, my boyfriend – I don’t know if you’ve followed since I’ve been a little cryptic about it for months (it’s not that I’m being secretive, it’s just superstition)(but I’ll explain who he is in more detail in an upcoming post because he’s so cool) – is a musician, and he promised to have a concert for me.

I didn’t want to have a DJ, because I wanted it to feel like we were at home and I wanted to be able to listen to Ellie Goulding (no shame) (I love Lights) (I’m sure you do to).
So we all made playlists of our favorite songs.

And that’s it! Now let me tell you how much fun I had.

40th birthday party polaroids garance dore photos

Well, first of all, let me tell you how much I stressed out about it. I was supposed to go meet Emily (who, make no mistake about it, made the whole thing happen) and my team (yes, they were invited – they are all enormously important in my life)(as you know, I’m not the queen of separating work life from my private life) at 7pm, and my walk over to the Standard East was kind of torture.

What if I ended up like Carrie Bradshaw at her birthday dinner? What if it was too cold (it was pretty cold) and nobody wanted to go out? What if there wasn’t enough food? What if the elevators broke down? And I should have gotten a DJ!!! What was I thinking???

A few minutes before the party is also when you get text messages from the people who won’t be able to make it — in other words, for someone like me, the text messages that make you want to commit suicide.

“Shit. I knew it. No one’s coming.”
(I stopped sending those text messages for parties, by the way. It stresses the host out for no reason.)

Once I arrived on location, I had a raspberry margarita, and since I hadn’t eaten anything because of my stress and I really can’t, but I mean, guys, I can’t hold my alcohol, by 7:30pm, before the guests even arrived, I was already completely drunk.

[You can tell in this pre-party Instagram photo. The glass I’m holding in my hand is the culprit.]



40th birthday party instagram garance dore photos


Fortunately, everything had been perfectly organized by Emily and the team at the Standard.

The good thing about being drunk at your own party is that you don’t feel responsible for anything at all. Even if there’s no one around, you dance, you have fun, you say hello (even to the walls).

So that’s exactly what I was doing when suddenly I see someone I don’t know come into the room.
The watchdog in me goes on guard, and I decide to go say hi nicely, but firmly, German Shepherd style: “Hello, are you friends with someone here?” I got a vague response, which made me laugh, because I must have crashed at least 356344 parties in my life, and I know the vague response by heart. So the Labrador in me resurfaced. We chatted, introduced ourselves, and he finally told me his name: “Theophilus”.

And that’s when it clicked.

“Are you Theophilus London?”

“Yeah, yeah that’s me !”


So I say to him, “If you want to stay, you can play a song for me (ah, the uninhibited personality of the raspberry margarita) and he says, “Sure, just a second, let me go get my laptop.”

And I assume he’s never going to come back, but it was hilarious, hahaha. Theophilus London. So cool. So adorable. And I took a picture of him.

In the meantime, (somewhere between when I had my first raspberry margarita in an empty room and when I almost kicked out Theophilus fucking London, the room filled up, it’s already dark outside, and I’m drinking water)(well, a glass of raspberry margarita in one hand, and a glass of water in the other) my friends are singing karaoke at the top of their lungs, and I’m wondering if karaoke was such a good idea after all, since it’s hurting my ears, but they seem to be having fun and I don’t have much time to think about it because I’m on a mission to take everyone’s picture.

Chris suddenly arrives, and Theophilus too.


Not only does Theophilus have his laptop, but – it’s crazy – he’s also brought along two of his dancers.
Chris, who I thought was just going to sing a song for me, has brought along a group of 7 musicians.

And that’s where the party got crazy.

40th birthday party polaroids garance dore photos

Theophilus is incredible and plays two songs (People can’t even believe it!! Me most of all!)

And Chris plays after him and that’s when it’s total hysteria. I don’t really know what’s happening anymore, I dance, my cake arrives at some point (unfortunately, I didn’t even taste it – but I blew out the candles!!!), I get lots of hugs and kisses, and most of all, I feel very, very, very loved (one of the best things that can possibly happen to a person – when people you adore show you how much they love you)(I’ll never forget it!!!) and suddenly, bam.

They tell me the police are at the door.

It seems weird to me since we are in a hotel, but my memories of parties ending at the police station for disturbance of the peace come back to me, and I start to stress out, when suddenly, I have a cop right in front of me.

Yep, a very strange cop. Very tan. Very muscular.

Oh noooooooo! A male stripper!

My friends must have confused my birthday for a bachelorette party, I don’t know, but at the same time, I deserved it. Look what I put on the invitation:

birthday invitation garance dore writing illustrations

So, that’s how I ended up in the arms of a male stripper, legs up, cursing my friends, and laughing hysterically, begging for it to stop.
Fortunately, he and his fringed thong finally left and, after that, the party continued, we put our music on, we danced, we hung out on the balcony, it was so beautiful and cool, and people slowly filtered out without saying goodbye to me, which I think is so much better, because I get way too sentimental when I’m drunk.

By the end, there were just a few of us left, and it was so great. Everything had happened so fast!!! I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and thinking about the party. It’s cool to throw parties, after all.

Next year will be the 10-year anniversary of the blog, and we’ve already started thinking about throwing an enormous party where EVERYONE will be invited… Do you have any ideas how we can pull that off?


* No footprints on the wall or any other nonsense. Have you ever found a couple in full graphic porno action in your bed? I have.

** Have you ever thrown a party and realized you barely know anyone in your living room? I have.

*** Have you ever thrown a party and felt more like a supervisor (or even a bouncer) (or a cop) instead of a host? I have.

Translated by Andrea Perdue

40th birthday party polaroids garance dore photos40th birthday party polaroids garance dore photos


Add yours
  • Sounds like the best party ever ! And from what I can see of you here, you simply deserved it.
    On récolte ce que l’on sème. Dans ton cas : DU BONHEUR !
    Une lectrice fidèle, fidèle, fidèle ….

  • happy birthday! it looks like a great party! :)


  • Happy Birthday <3 !!

    Les polas, c'est une super idée !

  • CHIN CHIN!!! so great! wish you a whole first 40ies year like that, love, good friends, party, good drinks, Ladurée parfois, chansons and all and everything you wish!! Happy Birthday (a little late, but from the heart ;-)) xxSol

  • You are completely amazing to have such fabulous friends! Loved reading your reflection of it all, and love that you know how to have such a fabulous time!

    Warm Regards,

  • C’est ce qu’on appelle fêter son anniversaire dans les règles de l’art, quelle fiesta ! Encore bon anniversaire :D

  • ?????????!
    Waiting for your next big party’s photos & post :)
    Best tip ever for a party hostess : ”before the guests even arrived, I was already completely drunk”!

    I think Theophilus has to switch his surname from London to Athens… since Theophilus is a greek name (means friend of God). It would be so much more cool ;)

  • Katherine May, 12 2015, 10:18 / Reply

    Joyeux anniversaire Garance ! Je suis si contente que tu aies eu un fête d’anniv. aussi parfaite, parce que “tu le mérites bien” ;)
    Je ferai le voyage depuis Montréal pour l’anniversaire des 10 ans de ton blog, je ne manquerais ça pour rien ! Je te souhaite du bonheur … en fait ce serait plus une continuation ? puisque tu semble déjà pas mal comblé ;) (ThéophilusFucking London ?!?!) La barre est haute !

    Passes une excellente journée!

  • Cool Cool Cool et super cool! J’adore.

    Sounds like a F…ing crazy fiesta!



  • Ça fait un bien fou de lire de la bonne humeur sur la blogosphère !
    Belle découverte ce blog.

    Et du coup, bon anniversaire en retard !

  • Joyeuse anniversaire Garance! Avec du retard mais beaucoup de coeur.
    Wow what a party! The best way to start your 40s…and to carry on! I had one for both my 40th & 50th and the 50th was best .
    Keep that spirit of yours alive and thank you for sharing so much with us all.
    Big bises XXXX

  • Whoop-whoop Partaaay! That was Super Cool!

    Next time consider some extended version of Band/Guitar Hero (with guitar, bass, drums and vocals) – more hilarious than a karaoke, especially with comments like: “You suck!!!” or (not so often) “You Rock!”. This game is favorite “Not Guilty Pleasure” of my friends and I (we can’t wait for the next edition that is supposed to come out this fall ;) – I should start taking some voice lessons)
    I’ve never thought about renting an apartment for party…that would be resolution for neighbor’s complaints (I mean come on! It’s my B-day! It’s all about celebrating myself!) and aome polce interventions, police officers can be quite cute though…

    Anyways, joyeux anniversaire Garance!

    Bisous :*

  • Joyeux anniv. 40 ans ça se fête et tu le mérites bien! Tu as sûrement rendu service à plus de personne que 97% de la population avec un seul blog. Forcément, ça se fête!

  • vous avez bu surement..

  • Cette soirée avait l’air inoubliable!! Woauw.
    J’aimerais bien organiser la même tiens…tu me donnes des idées
    Encore un très bon anniversaire Garance! rien de tel que l’amour de ses proches pour passer ce cap

  • happy 40th birthday!!


  • Ca avait l’air d’être une super fete, ça me rappelle la fete que mon mari m’a organise pour mes 32 ans a NY aussi, c’était génial, le meilleur je pense…
    Happy birthday Garance!!
    PS: curieuse d’en savoir plus sur le nouvel amoureux :)

  • Jane with the noisy terrier May, 12 2015, 11:34 / Reply

    Sounds like a perfect way to welcome 40! I’d just moved to New York a few months before I turned 40 and my friends threw me an amazing surprise party — friends from New York, Boston, and Hilton Head, all in the same room. It was funny because it felt like worlds colliding! Plus there were some people I never would have thought to invite who were a blast – that’s what happens when you leave your address book on your desk when you go out to lunch! It was great fun. For my 50th, I rented the private dining room at my dearly beloved but sadly closed Paris Commune and had one big table for 24 of my nearest and dearest. Mixed up the seating so couples were split up, the perfect mix of actors and singers and photographers and artists — my friends are so much more interesting than I am. Songs were sung, toasts were made and it was one of the very best evenings of my life. Great friends are the very best presents on your birthday!

  • I think I feel the same for my 30th birthday. But I always fear about organizing a borring party. But this time I’m thinking it ‘s a good idea to write a good article on my blog!

  • Natalie Hale May, 12 2015, 12:53 / Reply

    Happy Birthday!!
    This party sounds like a blast. My birthday’s soon, so can I just copy the whole thing? ????
    I do think the best time you can have is the one surrounded by your loved ones! I hope every single day will be like this for all of us (sans male stripper lol)!

  • C’est dingue comme mon année 2014 a en quelques points ressemblé à la tienne (bien entendu comme certainement des millions d’autres femmes dans le monde).
    Ruptures parès 6 ans de vie commune, squattage de canapés, nouvel appartement (bien sûr pas définitif l’appart puisque je projette depuis 10 ans de m’en acheter un !?!), nouveaux amis, montagnes russes (ça c’est pour ces p”*-!& de dimanches de “redescente” seule dans son lit)….et mon anniversaire en fin d’année: squattage d’appart chez un ami où on peut tout casser, que des gens que j’aime et qui m’ont montré qu’ils aimaient pendant toute cette année 2014 et juste l’impression que ma soirée avait duré 1h00 alors qu’elle a fini à 06h30 avec un énième verre de Gin Tonic à la main dont l’utilité à cette heure tardive est très contestable…

    Bon Théophilus London en moins mais l’envie également de pouvoir chanter Larusso à tue tête (j’assume).

    Aujourd’hui j’ai rencontré un homme formidable qui j’en suis sure m’aurait offert un feu d’artifice au-dessus du sacré coeur pour mon anniversaire (oui c’était pas la suite du Standard hotel mon anniversaire mais la vue sur le Sacré coeur a fait son petit effet).

  • So nice, great people for a great party!

    Bisous from France,


  • Katherine May, 12 2015, 1:31 / Reply

    I had pretty much the same rules for my 40th in January! I also had: “I want to wear a pretty dress!”, since I never wear dresses. I was just as nervous, because my b-day is Jan.2, and trust me, NO ONE wants to party on Jan.2. They’re still hung over. Practically no one showed for my 30th (just punk-ass apologies for days), so I was terrified.

    But I have much higher quality friends now, and they ALL came, and I spent the night in a little restaurant with a martini bar upstairs, my oldest friends, and a juggling bartender pouring us rainbow drinks. In a gorgeous dress with a peacock on it.

    These are now my party rules for all time!

  • Wow! Ca donne trop envie d’y être! Je sais pas vous, mais moi je dis PREMS!!! sur les 10 ans du blog l’année pro :)
    Je viendrais même de Paris! :))))
    ps: PREMS!

  • Happy birthday G!!!
    C’est un post vraiment super touchant et ça a l’air vraiment top ta fête!!! :)))

  • Colleen May, 12 2015, 3:23 / Reply

    What a celebration! Happy (belated) birthday to you, Garance!

  • I don’t really like parties…. is that weird? Seems like it. If I’m at one, I like it best if I and one other person start talking and end up in a quiet corner with the party as a background.

  • Super fête! L’idée des polas, je prends, le gateau Ladurée aussi… Encore joyeux anniversaire alors!

  • Sounds like an awesome party to me! The suite looks awesome, by the way. Don’t get me started on that gorgeous view, haha.

    The Office Stylist

  • happy 40 Garance, keep your smile everyday:) will you be in Frenze in June for Pitti Uomo?

  • Hi Garance,

    Joyeux anniversaire!
    Is the only black man/woman in your friends and relationsips Theophilius London?…..just a bit surprised

  • Tout d’abord Joyeux anniversaire !!!! Les méga teufs il y a que ça de vrai (et j’ai été *, ** et ***, donc…enfin bon on se comprend).
    Juste pour dire une petite chose (oui tout le monde s’en fout mais bon), je lit ce blog depuis un looooong moment (j’ai pas envie de compter) et là ça me fait drôle cette méga fête et ce gâteau ça me fait plaisir parce que maintenant je fait partie de la Maison Ladurée (à Paris) et que ça rapproche un peu, et qu’il n’y avait pas de meilleur choix ;) EN REVANCHE il faut gouter, c’est dommage c’est beau et bon !
    Allez all the best pour la suite, happy life & love

  • niamhroisin May, 12 2015, 5:06 / Reply

    Happy Birthday! Lá Fhéile Shona Dhuit! (In Irish!)

  • wonderful party and the polaroids are so so so specially awesome! Love that idea.

  • sub_mareen May, 12 2015, 5:38 / Reply

    Dis donc Garance, à voir tes polas on peut dire que tu as une sacrée panoplie de very very very close friends, Chapeau!!

  • happy-pillz May, 12 2015, 5:56 / Reply

    Ahah that seems like an epic day.
    I threw parties but very small ones (20 persons max) and i find it better than those parties where u only know 30% of the guests.

  • You may need a small auditorium to fit all the readers that gets to go! I imagine it to be at one of te art schools, with interviews, looking back videos / slide shows and some kind of mingling time :)

  • I threw myself a giant bash at 40 too. I think it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself! I tell all my younger girlfriends to do it when it comes time.

  • Sounds like mad fun!

  • Happy belated Birthday Garance ! Regardless of the form of celebration , the most important things is you spent it surrounded by everyone who loved and adored you,money can’t buy that.

  • Sefora Mingoia May, 13 2015, 12:45 / Reply

    Joyeux Anniversaire Garance ????????!!!!
    Beaucoup de bonheur et d’amour ??
    J’adore ce que vous faites, j’adore votre écriture, je vous suis depuis quelques années maintenant et vous me faites à chaque fois mourir de rire comme avec ce post!
    Surtout ne changez rien!!
    Merci de nous faire rêver à travers votre blog, vos dessins, vos créations et votre immense talent!
    Sefora from Paris ????

  • The STRIPPER bit…So Hilarious!!! Ha Ha Ha!!! Sounds like a great 40th! There’s nothing worse than planning TOO much….you need surprises and things going a little off kilter to have the party turn memorable! Some ideas for your studio party: make a FILM to show your new/old friends (collect photos and snippets of self made movies of your whole journey/process….crop/edit…add some playlist/music & a film projector). It’s a nice keepsake to remind/celebrate all you have achieved and gone thru! Have done such a thing at many parties. People are always interested in understanding where you “come from” and it beats having to explain the whole journey 10 million gazillion times. DANCE. Was at a party that had all the guests learn a simple dance 2 weeks ahead of time ( everybody got a link to a youtube video to practice). Then we all surprised the recipient with a synchronized dance of 300 guests/people in unison. It was AMAZING! Whatever you do….enjoy every moment! =)

  • Valérie JACQUIN May, 13 2015, 2:47 / Reply

    Super anniversaire!!!!! Tu as de la chance d’être aussi bien entourée et d’avoir des gens qui t’aiment et sur qui tu peux compter.
    Je te souhaite bonne continuation et joyeux anniversaire.
    Gros bisous Garance

  • Je veux la même pour mes 40 !!!
    C’est super gentil de partager avec nous ta fête d’anniversaire. Comme le dit Katherine plus haut, tu la mérites amplement ;-)

  • Funny pictures ;)




  • I would not want to do my 40th any other way! I, too, would have the margarita in my hand way before the guests’ arrival! You undoubtedly made your guests feel comfortable and ready to party as soon as they saw you creating the joyous mood! Happy b-day and I wish you many more lovely parties!!!

    adorn la femme

  • CecileMaki May, 13 2015, 5:12 / Reply

    Une fête d’anniversaire avec des personnes que tu aimes et de la musique live? Génial!!! Ben, c’est peut-être un peu bizarre, mais ça me fait plaisir pour toi que tu te sois éclatée! :)
    Perso, je n’ai rien fait pour mes 40 ans, mais je prévois de me rattrapper à l’occasion! ;)

  • Francesca May, 13 2015, 5:44 / Reply

    Sounds like an amazing party!

  • Garance that sounds like the coolest party ever! And the way you said it I felt like I was there too :) I’m far to lazy to throw a party because I can’t be bother to clean afterwards :) But maybe I should change my mind :)

  • Bernadette May, 13 2015, 7:59 / Reply

    Ayayayayay! Sounds like the greatest bash! Happy late birthday, Garance!

  • Happy Birthday Garance!! It was the perfect party so cool and awesome!

  • Garance, you are amazing! What a great way to celebrate your birthday!


  • Ai-Ch'ng May, 14 2015, 4:53 / Reply

    “Oh what a niiiiiiii-ghhht!”

    Wishing you the happiest of happy birthdays, Birthday Girl. Cheers to yet another amazing year lived on this incredible earth, and another 366 incredible days ahead (how blessed you are, turning forty in a year that segues into a leap year, thereby bestowing upon you one more precious day to enjoy being forty) .


  • Best party ever!!! You tell a fan-flippin’-tastic story!!! I hope that book of yours is going to me absolutely filled with stories like this, none of that Parisian Poseur stuff, pleaaaaze!!! Welcome to 40, it’s a cool place to be :D!!!

  • Tourdivoire May, 14 2015, 2:27 / Reply

    Pour la fête des 10 ans du blog… N’oublie pas Paris stp ! C’est quand même là que tout a commencé et tes fidèles lectrices qui n’ont pas traversé l’Atlantique seraient trop tristes d’être laissées pour compte :)

  • Happy 40th! You just made me feel excited about turning 40 this year… xoxo

  • Looks like you had a ball, ma belle!

  • Camille May, 18 2015, 2:54 / Reply

    Happy belated! That sounds like the party of the lifetime, so glad you had a great time!!!

  • Idem pour moi, pas super fan de mon anniv mais mes 40 ans ont été l’occasion de faire une fête géniale (bien que sans people et pas à NY) mais dont je garde un souvenir un peu flou et un peu magique ! Bon anniversaire à toi !!

  • I hope Chris gets you a baby for your bday or some really sparkly necklace ;)

  • Ça fait rêver !
    J’ai eu la même sensation déferlante d’amour quand j’ai fêté mes 30 ans y a 3 semaines… Un week end en provence, avec des amis du coin et des parisiens. C’était folie et c’était smooth, ça vaut le coup de faire des fêtes !!
    (même si c’est moi qui avais tout organisé, fait la bouffe, gâteaux, etc, et que c’est un putain de stress de ouf !)

  • Your sounds like it was perfect! Just be sure you have a producer who isn’t a friend so you know that at least one non-drunk person is keeping a huge party on track. It is well worth it! You can have your office organize and that person run it…it will be awesome.

    I’m in LA and I’m jealous already…(but if you decide to have one in LA? Let me help – I already work for a very mellow caterer who can feed your omnivore and vegan friends too)

  • Wow what a party !
    Keep that spirit !
    thank you for sharing with us.

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