Jess is someone I’ve admired for many years, since I was still living in Australia – and for a myriad of reasons. She’s the Editor-In-Chief of RUSSH, one of my favorite fashion publications, is incredibly witty and welcoming, and has beautiful, classic style that never diverts from that often overused but oh so appropriate word here: chic.
And she does it with ease and poise. It’s a natural but completely inspiring approach to just keeping it simple and investing in beautiful pieces that she wears for years on end. A woman who’s too busy for trends but loves and embraces fashion (and seriously knows the industry!)…
Describe your style in three words.
Inspired by classics.
And what is your ideal outfit to wear every day, your uniform?
Blue jeans, cashmere jumper (sweater), extra large coat. The Gucci horsebit loafer became my staple when I was expecting my daughter and they’ve stuck since her arrival.
You’re Australian, based in Sydney! How has that informed your personal style?
Sydney has to be the capital city of leisurewear. The proximity to beaches and parks means we dress more for the outdoors than anything. I go to Bondi most mornings in the warm months so every day starts in swimmers.
I’m a uniform dresser with multiple identical items as I hate to have to think about what to wear. To the office I wear trousers, a shirt and heels. I love suits. I admire people who can get about town in pencil skirts but it’s not for me.
But you grew up in a rural town, riding horses. How would you describe that path, from country girl to running one of Australia’s most influential fashion publications?
Unpredictable, I suppose, considering I spent most of my early life in jodhpurs. However I’ve loved fashion magazines since I was a child. For me, fashion is not just about the clothes but the stories that are created around them.
Who are your favorite Australian designers?
Ellery. Kym is brilliant, funny and ambitious and I love the aesthetic she has created, which I feel brilliantly depicts an aspirational, Australian and internationally minded woman. I think Christopher Esber is making beautiful pieces.
When people visit Sydney I send them to brands like Scanlan and Theodore, who have been around forever doing always the same thing, or to Zimmermann where they have mastered the white summer playsuit; I still buy one every year for the beach. Camilla and Marc is a great commercial brand.
You travel internationally all the time for work. To what extent would you say your wardrobe showcases an international sensibility?
I actually think all the travel has influenced editing back my wardrobe. It is almost excruciatingly basic. I need trans-seasonal pieces as I’m likely to be in a sweltering Singapore and a snowy Dallas in the same month. I buy into accessory trends but my pieces are generally classics, not silhouettes that are recognizable to particular season.
How do you approach packing, when you need so many outfits for different meetings and events while on the road?
With precision…I don’t like packing things I won’t wear. For New York and Paris I pack a lot of black and navy and often wear it together. For London: denim. Milan: navy pinstripes and white. For short business trips it’s easiest to pack in one or two colorways. Dry-cleaning is my greatest extravagance. When everything is well laundered there’s no need to take a lot.
In what way does your personal style carry through to the pages of RUSSH?
While my personal style is quite nondescript, the overall aesthetic of RUSSH is very true my instincts. There’s a slight rawness, or perhaps it’s better to call it an honesty, that resides over everything on our pages.
We work together as a team to make sure our sentiment isn’t too one-dimensional. We are telling stories of all kinds of women. Sometimes there’s an element of fun or irony to these stories but the truthfulness always remains.
What are your most valued items in your wardrobe?
Countless pairs of jeans I don’t wear but can’t imagine being without. An YSL smoking jacket. A black velvet Jean Paul Gaultier jumpsuit I never plan to wear but always end up in. My Céline pieces as they work season after season. The coats especially are just so beautifully made and the knits stay in incredible condition.
Who is your fashion muse?
Steve McQueen. He died the year I was born but I loved him through his pictures… he always looked so cool.
Look 1: Sweater, Céline; Jeans, Frame Denim; Shoes, Giuseppe Zanotti / Look 2: Jacket, Givenchy; Pant, Céline / Look 3: Coat, Céline; Pants, Stella McCartney; Shoes, Proenza Schouler / Look 4: Jacket, Stella McCartney; Pants, Céline; Knit, Scanlan & Theodore; Shoes, Balenciaga / Look 5: Coat, Ellery; Pant, Céline.
Words: Neada Jane | Photos: Erik Melvin