If you were reading fashion blogs in the 2000s, you are probably familiar with a street-style blogger named Scott Schuman, better known as The Sartorialist. Schuman, along with other mid-aughts blog personalities, helped popularize a particular kind of impromptu fashion photography — capturing elegant or eccentric outfits, not just on the runway or in the front row, but outside industry events and, eventually, anywhere he happened to see them.
The early virality of those images made him an industry, even tabloid, personality for a time — a minor celebrity status helped along by the fact that he tended to give outrageous quotes. In the three-year period between 2009 and 2012, Schuman told various outlets that fellow fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson’s nascent success was “a conspiracy by established print media that wanted to show that this blog thing is not that important;” that he might sue a college student for starting a blog called “the Campus Sartorialist” (he’d trademarked the name); and that, quote, “I’m pretty good at the sex. And pretty good at picture taking. That’s about it.”
Another factor nursing his fame was his extremely public relationship with another aughts-era fashion blogger, Garance Doré. Schuman left his wife of two decades to start dating Doré in 2007 (many forum posters of the time, including one commenter claiming to be his ex-wife, speculated that there had been a degree of overlap), and both halves of the niche-celeb power couple chronicled their seven-year-romance in real time on their respective blogs. Then, in August of 2014, both bloggers issued near-identical responses announcing that they had decided to live and blog separately. Doré ultimately left the blogosphere entirely; Schuman carried on and soon after began dating a 26-year-old Parsons graduate and fashion influencer named Jenny Walton.
When their relationship became public in late 2015, 48-year-old Schuman claimed he planned to keep things private. “I don't want to talk about it that much,” he told The Standard, “I don't want another public relationship. It takes a lot out of you.” But that didn’t last long — over the past seven years, as Instagram oustripped Blogspot, his original medium, in popularity, the two have diaried an extremely luxe and jet-setting partnership on social media. They’ve adopted two dogs together, flown to various fashion weeks, published books, completed ad partnerships, gotten engaged, granted tours of their tasteful apartment, and, eventually, moved to Milan late last year. The latter event was profiled in at least two Italian papers. But that all ended on May 13 when, yet again, Schuman and a fashion-influencing girlfriend found themselves releasing joint statements about posting and living separately henceforth.
The fallout has been somewhat messy, as The New Yorker’s Kyle Chayka brought to our explicit attention on Thursday, or at least messy enough for a long and dedicated Reddit thread dissecting the breakup. Walton, the apparently more chipper of the two, has been posting through her move-out from their widely publicized Milan home and appears to have taken custody of their dogs. Schuman, meanwhile, has deleted nearly every mention or image of Walton from his Instagram, including his post announcing the breakup. Based on Instagram stories from Friday morning, he appears to be missing his former dogs. He also posted a cryptic shirtless mirror selfie with the caption: “Never too late to be in the best shape of your life.” We wish him well and hope he finds a nubile new assistant promptly.
Given the stated public interest in this breakup, we have acquiesced and dedicated probably more time than it’s worth to investigating the formation and dissolution of a relationship that belongs to another era of web blogging. Here is a rough timeline of events:
Walton graduates from college. Schuman is 44.
Their first known meeting — Schuman photographs Walton for his website. He was, as far as we know, dating Doré at the time (though both have said publicly that their breakup predated their announcements).
Schuman photographs Walton for a second time. Again, before he and Doré have announced a breakup.
Schuman and Doré announce their split.
Schuman and Walton are first linked either professionally or romantically, judging from an anniversary photo Walton posted in September 2018 with the caption “Four more years!”
Schuman hires Walton as his “Fashion Director,” according to her LinkedIn.
The Sartorialist photographs Walton two more times in February and March. His four photographs of her appear in his first book, on which Walton worked, which comes out that fall. Before their book tour in October, they are linked together several times.
First known interview with Schuman in which he confirms the relationship.
They meet Jared Leto, in this outfit.
They get engaged. The antique ring from Gioielleria Pennisi looks nice.
Big year for the duo. Walton mentions Schuman at least 25 times. Walton again refers to Schuman as her “Instagram husband.” They go back to Venice, where they apparently first traveled in their courtship. They give a talk together. They celebrate the four-year anniversary of their relationship. Walton reminisces about the first picture Schuman took of her.
Walton doesn’t seem to be wearing an engagement ring in January, although she may just be changing up which hand it’s on. Goop profiles her. In the spring, she gives The Times of London a tour of their SoHo apartment. In the fall, they move to Milan. They spend the holidays together. Walton had been maintaining a separate career as a fashion illustrator, but in June of that year her website expires.
Throughout the beginning of the year, Walton mentions Schuman only six times. They do a joint ad campaign for leather and stationary brand Pineider. The last time Schuman likes a photo of Walton’s is on March 2. The last time Walton mentions him before the breakup is on April 4. Schuman mentions her one final time on April 5. They announce their split on May 13. Schuman deletes most non-work-related photos or mentions of Walton from his account and posts a shirtless thirst trap. Walton finds a new home and posts a series of Instagram Stories that include a mirror selfie with an admission of crying, a repost of someone else’s relatable video about cleaning when your life is falling apart, and an apartment snapshot captioned “To new beginnings” with a smiling emoji.
There you have it: the chronology of a relationship you may or may not be inexplicably invested in. Good luck to both of these people in their now-separate endeavors.