Seated at the helm of one of Australia’s most progressive fashion publications, RUSSH Magazine, Jess Blanch may seem an unlikely candidate to indulge in time-tested ideals. However, Blanch’s pragmatism, gentle confidence and knack for injecting classic style with renewed zeal made her a first choice as fashion consultant for Westfield’s One Generation autumn/winter 2017 campaign.
Captured at the historic Swifts Gothic Revival mansion, the campaign details an offbeat Westfield “family” preparing and serving a feast around a sprawling dining table. While Blanch presents rather differently to the campaign’s flamboyant, lamé-clad matriach Dame Edna, her realness has never been more pivotal.
“The industry is demanding authenticity right now and I felt family was the truest bond of all,” Blanch says of the direction for the campaign.
Meet the talented editor-in-chief laying the foundation for a cross-generational fashion revolution, all the while worshipping Woody Allen’s heroines, questioning the relevance of high heels and elevating the oft-forgotten power suit to supreme rock star status.
Westfield: In a fashion environment that seems to be speeding up by the hour, you have a distinct flair for mixing timeless pieces in a way that feels remarkably fresh. Did you always gravitate towards this aesthetic? How did you develop your signature look?
Jess Blanch: I’ve always been attracted to a masculine look. I just love those images from the late ’80s and the ’90s, of oversized suiting, trousers and silk shirts by Armani, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, YSL Rive Gauche, Calvin and Hermes.
I find the sensibility of the middle-class woman very intriguing. I like Woody Allen’s women, pinstripes, herringbone, beige, mum jeans. Anything bourgeois.
W: Are there any pieces would you be completely lost without?
JB: Jeans. I honestly don’t know what I’d wear every day if it were not for jeans! Lately, I’m wearing Rollas and Levis. I’m also forever betrothed to my many black pantsuits. My most-ever worn piece is a Saint Laurent tube jacket. I actually have two.
W: You are a great admirer of the humble power suit. What details do you look for in tailoring? Can you describe the most treasured sets in your collection?
JB: Yes, I’m drawn by the uniformity of the suit and how it makes a quiet but definite statement. Look at how it worked for Leonard Cohen, or now Nick Cave.
I look for longline jackets with one or two buttons, but sometimes double-breasted. A very fine wool is important for movement and comfort. My most treasured pieces include a YSL smoking jacket I bought at a Sydney market – it was almost ruined when I let it fall on a Paris dancefloor so now it is packed away for a temporary retirement –and my Celine and Stella McCartney suits.
W: What’s something you’d like to see more people wear?
JB: What makes them feel comfortable. I’ve had some girls confide in me that they feel they need to wear super high heels or flaunt lots of skin to feel beautiful. I think it would be nice for them if they could find other ways to get the attention they deserve.
W: When a new season rolls around, which stores do you frequent first to feed your wardrobe?
JB: While I often pre-order or shop online, I really love to see the pieces in store when a new season drops. It’s a good way to understand a collection and there are often so many hidden pieces you won’t notice in editorials or campaigns but the store assistants know about them. There’s nothing like speaking with the people who work for the brand about what they like to wear or how they wear it.
Originally published on westfield.com.au