Blitzed Britain

Blanch did a brief stint as a copywriter in an advertising office and designed a poster for London Transport in 1933, however she soon turned to journalism: “It turned out that I express myself better in writing. And I had to earn my living, you know. I have always had to earn my living.” Articles like her profile of Pushkin for Time and Tide, and Anti-Beige, A plea for the Scarlet Woman for Harper’s Bazaar were remarked.

British Vogue at War

In 1935 Blanch joined British Vogue’s features department. From 1937-44 she was features editor, “Writing on everything but fashion — theatre, films, books, people“. She was on the front line of women journalists covering various aspects of Britain at war for the Ministry of Information, and documented the lives of women in the Forces with her friend the photographer Lee Miller. Vogue’s fashion editor, Anne Scott-James, described Lesley in her thinly disguised autobiographical novel In the Mink.

Lesley left British Vogue in 1945, and briefly wrote a column for the Daily Mail, but fell out with the commissioning editor, her love for all things Slav not chiming well with its conventional readership. Edward Hulton hired Lesley to write profiles about the cinema and its stars for The Leader – a journal of current affairs and the arts which was complementary to his successful photojournalist magazine, Picture Post. She worked for him as a film critic for a year. “When I lived in London during the Blitz, three flats were shattered from under me — by the end of it I wanted a change.”