As she welcomed us into her elegantly minimalist Woollahra home with fresh green juices and healthy carrot cake, we quickly fell in love with Jess Blanch's style, evident in both her wardrobe and interiors. As Editor-in-Chief of Australian fashion bible RUSSH, she is indomitably chic - made even more so by her intelligence, thoughtfulness and strong sense of self. While she invests in art and considered fashion pieces that stand the test of time (think Saint Laurent blazers and Chanel pumps), she also has a refreshingly low-maintenance beauty roster and reveals she has had the same hairdo since she was five (hey, if it ain't broke...) Both a realist and bon vivant, her love for food and sunshine is so strong she doesn't mind any free-radical ramifications that go with it. Most importantly, Jess believes real beauty lies in accomplishment and learning to love what you have. Amen to that.
"One of my first ever beauty interviews was with Ben Gorham from Byredo.
His gift was a bottle of Le Blanche, which is coincidentally my last name. He told me he made the fragrance for his wife and it was his perception of ‘white, evoking the feeling of clean sheets and purity.' He told the story with such sincerity that I found the whole thing very romantic, so, while I don’t actually wear it, I have always kept a bottle and use it around the house from time-to-time. It makes everything feel so clean.
I have to be honest and say I really struggle with keeping a beauty routine.
Everything happens very quickly around shower time. In the absence of a bathroom vanity, my products sit here above the sink for easy access. I’ve really been trying to move over the natural toothpastes lately but can’t find one with quite the right taste. Marvis is still a favourite due to the strength of the fresh!
I have a very minimalist approach to most things. I guess I just believe that we look how we are destined to look, which is probably quite a startling thing to say when I work in this industry.
A gift by photographer James Nelson sits above my dressing table. I don’t have a lot of time for beauty that takes place outside of this room, but I do what I can when I can.
Melanie Grant’s light therapy treatments are amazing even though I think it’s been a year since I made it to one of my appointments.
My friend Jess Gomes from Equal Beauty sent me to Japanese facialist Fumi Yamamoto. I go to see Fumi for a facial whenever I’ve been through a really busy period or travelling, as I always leave feeling nourished on a deeper level.
I go to Jocelyn Petroni for manicures and pedicures. I don’t wear polish on my hands so I really like her naked manicures that are designed to strengthen the nails and leave them with a natural looking gloss. She does Chanel pedicures and they have the best colours.
I’m incredibly faithful to my beauty products.
I’ve worn the same fragrance, Amarige by Givenchy, since I was 13, for sentimental reasons (I chose it with my mum). I take a fairly natural approach to beauty. When I am cooking, I rub some olive oil or coconut oil into my arms or lips. I’m quite conscious about using products that are natural, as I feel my lifestyle exposes me to enough toxins without adding more by choice.
These are quite new pieces in our home, one of which I just bought for my husband last year.
That one is the ink on paper at the top is ‘The Lifetime Friendship’ by Christiane Spangsberg.
The bottom work is by Los Angeles-based artist Mattea Perrotta and is called 'Looking Like A Queen In A Sailor's Dream'. It is the first piece I’d bought of hers.
I’d describe my personal style as edited.
I’m inspired by people who manage to live very simply and I am constantly striving to un-complicate my relationship with the material world.
I am attracted to a very bourgeouis aesthetic. Think Steve McQueen. I’m quite classic I suppose, but not afraid to buy into something over-the-top if it humours me.
In my role at RUSSH I’ve been afforded conversations with people I could have only dreamed of meeting and travelled to some truly amazing places.
I also love that RUSSH is able to give a voice to emerging creatives – that is the most fulfilling part of the job.
This is an advanced copy of the new RUSSH with Karen Elson on the cover.
I’ve had the same hairstyle since I was about 5 so I guess you could say I like a natural look.
My hair is pretty much wash and go, and I like it tied back or tucked into the back of jacket with a plait. I use David Mallett’s products because they are fragrance free and feel very pure.
As my hair has never been coloured its pretty healthy. I go to see Renya Xydis at Valonz for my cuts maybe twice a year – I have been going to her salon since I was at school so she is like a fairy godmother to me.
The best my hair looks is after I’ve gone to bed with wet hair. When I wake in the morning it seems to take on its natural wave but without all the volume. It’s also a handy trick to keep cool when I’m travelling in Europe, where everywhere seems to be quite overheated at night.
There are definitely more records than beauty products in this house.
This Talking Heads album has to be one of the greatest albums of all time, even down to the cover art. There are books, notebooks and records all over our house and one of the reasons I don’t think we can move.
Make-up seems to just slide off my skin so I normally have a fairly bare face even at night, but I will wear eyeliner and sometimes an eye shadow. My preferred brands are anything our beauty team suggest – usually Tom Ford, YSL and Chanel. Mascara and anything too heavy on my lips looks very fake so I tend to use a tinted balm or a nude lipstick. If I wear make-up it is Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder.
I carry this Fendi Peekaboo a lot at the moment.
Inside are just my Saint Laurent sunglasses, and a natural lip treatment from Fay at Luna Beauty. I often tend to walk out the door without make-up so I carry my Chanel Les Beiges compact, lipstick and a natural toned eyeliner in case I need to freshen up for a meeting.
I buy brands with a heritage I respect, as I think it’s important to know where the pieces you purchase are made and by whom.
Lately, I’ve been buying Celine as it is Phoebe Philo’s last season there. I tend to always buy in multiples; at the moment it's white t-shirts from Organic by John Patrick, black blazers from Saint Laurent and Balenciaga and pumps from Chanel, because they are so light and comfortable.
I must say, though, I buy so much less than anyone would expect!
My guilty pleasure is beer and Chinese food in places with paper napkins and broken furniture....
Food is one of my great loves. I plan my life around where I can eat, and I actually think I’ve changed flight itineraries so I can eat in particular restaurants or cafes on stopovers. During the week I keep things very simple with a steak and greens or pasta. I eat a lot of red meat and probably too much olive oil, butter and cream. Not to mention wine, although I’ve been drinking natural wines for the past few years and really feel the difference when I don’t. I buy organic and the best quality ingredients I can get my hands on for home and eating out is always in places where the produce is the focus.
I drink espressos and I can’t ever see myself giving up coffee.
My mum is incredibly well groomed and is always getting her nails done in the latest shade of olive green or black.
She’s not really into creams and potions or any kind of anti-aging products, and just seems content with doing the best with what she’s got. I find her very beautiful. I think I frustrate her with my lack of grooming and for as long as I can remember, and still to this day, she’s always telling me to brush my hair.
I believe aging is a part of life and we should be proud of it rather than spend time fighting it. I’m well aware that the time I spend in the sun and the good time I have with food and wine means I’m going to age faster than those who take preventative measures, but I’m comfortable with my fate.
I was a teenager in the '90s, and it’s still so special to meet people who were so iconic to that time.
I always loved Elle McPherson as she’s Australian and when I interviewed her, it must be ten years ago now, I was blown away with how real she was, and with such lovely manners. A couple of years ago I worked with Helena on a cover for RUSSH and I’d wake up to emails from her saying “hey” – it was so nice to learn that someone I’d always admired in a beauty sense was also a really chilled, normal person.
This is Dre’s first album for Death Row Records and it’s the first time he worked with Snoop Dog. Here he is wearing my Saint Laurent Jerry glasses, which he would hate.
Being surrounded by incredibly beautiful women in this industry has taught me that outer beauty isn’t a golden ticket to happiness.
At this stage of my life I find accomplishment beautiful, so I am working towards being accomplished at something, though am still figuring out what exactly that this.
I hope we can soon live in a world where flawed but brilliant women can be considered beautiful. I’d never judge someone for having Botox or surgery because I think beauty is really about how you feel about yourself and not how you look, but personally, it’s not for me and it doesn’t sit well with my feminist views. I have a dear friend fighting cancer at the moment and watching this makes me wish we could all just be more grateful for the things we have been given, and learn to love ourselves more deeply just how we are."
Story by Zoe Briggs, Photography by Alice Mahran.