Entries Tagged as 'Inspiration'

Introducing Jess-On-Thames



It was about time.

After much deliberation and three months in my newly adopted city – Jess in Belgium has become Jess-On-Thames, in honor of my new London home.

Thank you to everyone who suggested names (and especially to the many of you who noticed that, due to my moving habits, I may not want to geo-locate my blog name…) I would appear not to be a very good listener.

Coming up with a new name was much harder than it should have been. I thought it would be easy. I ran through endless combinations of blog names with the word “Channel” in them, but they just didn’t feel right. And if it didn’t feel right, it was hard to write anything at all. This blog needed to find its place in London and to do so, I needed to start finding my own place there as well.

As such, my photo library has grown exponentially while I ran around getting to know the city and my blog posts dwindled. I didn’t want major changes to the blog, I just wasn’t in Belgium all the time anymore.

The happy ending to this tale is that Jess-On-Thames feels right. And, as a bonus, makes me feel like I should take up rowing which makes me laugh.

So here we go, New Year’s Resolution #1: Jess gets back to blogging big time (and has some fun with alliteration in the process). Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading over the years and cannot wait to get back to writing here.

You can still reach the blog here on www.jessinbelgium.com but also via www.jessonthames.com. Find me on Twitter at @jessonthames and on Instagram: http://instagram.com/jessonthames#. And in the meantime, learn more about the UK’s River Thames here.

Full disclosure: changing your blog name is reportedly a very easy process which I managed to botch several times in a single evening. I am ever so grateful to the kind folks at Bluehost who helped me get the blog back online after I shut myself out of WordPress. Twice.  If you are considering a blog name change, let’s have a chat. I am now in possession of a carefully curated list of what not to do. And in the meantime, thanks for your patience as I continue to iron things out.

Super, Pretty Funny {no. 33}



It has been sunny for weeks in Brussels and despite the fact that we are all melting at the moment (and devising plans to steal each others fans or stage in-office water-gun fights), Brussels is a pretty happy place at the moment. Traffic is a breeze every morning but I’ve been biking to work everyday. There is a distinct smell of BBQ in the air every evening and every sidewalk cafe is overflowing with happily tanned people.

Brussels, I love you in the summer.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend,

xx Jess





Photo credit: ”Fly,” Dior Spring Collection, Paris, 1965 by Melvin Sokolsky

The incredible Mrs. V



I’ve had a lovely little DVD sitting next to my television for ages now: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. And I can’t believe I waited this long to watch it.

It was no easy feat to pay homage to the whirlwind that was Vreeland – former fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and editor-in-chief of Vogue – and her tour-de-force approach to the fashion world. But her grand-daughter-in-law, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, has produced an honest, charming portrait of a lady I now cannot learn enough about.

The documentary centers around recorded conversations Vreeland had when preparing her biography DV with George Plimpton. Diana had that way of speaking – similar to how my grandparents spoke – that harkens back to times of privilege in the early 1900s. But her storytelling is unique:

She tells tales of how she grew up in Paris, surrounded by ballet dancers her parents invited over for dinner. She posits the only proper education she ever got was from dancing. She raves about seeing King George V’s coronation and gushes about horses. She falls in love with the 1920s and, at the same time, with her husband Thomas Vreeland. She “takes credit” for the fall of the British Empire because Wallis Simpson bought lingerie in her shop in London before a weekend away with the King. She befriends Coco Chanel and is offered a job at Harper’s Bazaar after being spotted fashionably dressed at a party.

She never sees the “big deal” about a women having a career and refuses to understand the word feminism. Yet she seemingly struggles with being a mother. She advises Jackie Kennedy and is the reason behind the new Presidential couple’s famous portrait in Harper’s Bazaar. She discovers Lauren Bacall and has Ali McGraw as her (from the sounds of it, slightly bitter) assistant. She raves about Mick Jaggar : “those lips!” She helps launch the careers of Diane von Furstenberg, Manolo Blanik and Oscar de la Renta. She stays in her bathrobe until noon every day, typing scores of memos “instructing” her team on what would appear in the next issue. She has a crush on Jack Nicholson. She asks who would want to live in a world without leopards. She thinks blue jeans are the most beautiful things she’s ever seen and talks about how she would have loved to be a surfer. All while avoiding the fact that her mother referred to her as an ugly duckling growing up…

Money was no object when it came to her fashion editorials and she took the fashion business to a new dimension beyond clothing – sending her models and photographers around the globe and enlisting celebrities as models. In what might be the best quote of the film, Vreeland states “Vogue always did stand for people’s lives…I mean, a dress won’t get you anywhere, it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”

She was fired from Vogue in 1971 but luckily for the heritage of fashion houses everywhere, was recruited to run the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Somewhat controversially, she hosted the first exhibition of a living designer: Yves St Laurent. And she was always too heartbroken at the end of an exhibition to be present when it was taken down…

If you can’t already tell, I loved this film. And am now searching for issues of Vogue from the 1960s.

For more information on Vreeland, browse her estate’s fabulous website, read this NYMagazine feature “The Divine Mrs V” and Vanity Fair’sThe Cult of Diana”.

Photo 1: Diana Vreeland in Paris in 1971 by Christian Avril / Photo 2: Via CNN, courtesy of the Estate of James P Karales 

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