My World: Nella Beljan and Zora’s Daughter

©Collage / Oriane Baud

Zora’s Daughter is an Instagram Account by journalist and editor Nella Beljan, who has created a space of pure aesthetic stillness

Nella Beljan, the woman behind Zora’s Daughter, is a journalist and editor from Berlin. She studied history and linguistics and literature in Germany before going on to study literary translation and philosophy at King’s College in London and receiving her doctorate. Her Instagram account, which she has been running for a while now, is her outlet for a clear concept: “Everything from the worlds of design, fashion, art, and literature that I find exceptionally good can be found here in a little space of stillness.”

Please describe your style in three words?

Classy – that’s it.

What’s your first fashionable memory?

My swinging circle skirt that I always reached for quickly when a good song was playing. I was two or three years old. And then the memory of how my mother entered the schoolyard – and she glowed. With a wide-cut, emerald green silk jacket, her light brown hair, and her very upright gait, she always looked simply wonderful. She wore matching pumps a few shades lighter – they stood in the upper stairwell at home and my sister (still my best and dearest friend) and I would hold them full of wonderment in our hands.

Your ideal breakfast?

I like to have a coffee served to me in bed in the morning. That’s a family ritual. Otherwise, breakfast isn’t my friend. But we’re speaking again around midday and a piece of toasted bread with a lot of salad makes me really happy.

The song that makes you dance?

Kiss by Prince. When I lived in London, the dance floor really started to kick off when that song played.

The book you’ve re-read many times?

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov. Because it’s unbelievably funny. And Heimsuchung by Jenny Erpenbeck (editor’s note: this book is only available in German). I mostly read fiction books just once: I’ve made notes of the “best” parts or know them by heart. Theory books and poems are the ones I read again and again, and everything I can get in my hands on. I come from a family with an affinity for text that often serves me readings on silver platter.

Who was your childhood hero?

Captain Future.

Which piece(s) of jewelry do you wear every day?

Three very delicate rings by Kiki Dieterle (two golden Thin Rings and one silver Memphis Ring). Sometimes with the addition of a sculptural brass bracelet by William Fan. Or the Suzanne Earrings by Sophie Buhai.

What designer do you expect big things from?

From Simon Porte from Jacquemus.

And what designer would you love to wear head to toe when you’re a granny?

Hermès.

Your signature shoes?

Chucks. Since I was 12 years old.

Your favorite pet?

I think penguins and donkeys are pretty likeable.

Favorite flower?

All flowers. My father passed a love of flowers to his children – my parent’s garden is dominated by wonderful, breathtaking, sumptuous flowers. The magnolia tree that my parents planted for me, I like that one especially.

What are the top three things on your wish list?

Slides or mules by Mari Giudicelli. A Chandigarh armchair by Pierre Jeanneret, please (and also happily as a pair!). The new rattan table by India Mahdavi.

Who’s your style icon?

Joan Didion. And I find a lot of other good looks on @heegenie_ and @naninvintage

Your favorite getaway?

Croatia. The main thing is sun and being directly at the sea. Getting up in the morning and seeing sparkling water straight away, that just makes you happy.

What are your favorite restaurants?

Lavanderia Vecchia in Berlin Neukölln and Le Bon in Kreuzberg. Delicious, down-to-earth, and really social places. Whenever I want to try a new restaurant, I ask Nina from Ceecee.cc.

Your favorite shops?

Maryam Nassir Zadeh in NYC; Alex Eagle in London; Voo Store, Andreas Murkudis, and Aesop-Mitte in Berlin

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I don’t like to think about that. I want everything to happen in the here and now.

The last (cultural) discovery that blew your mind?

A few years ago I started reading everything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – from Americanah to Purple Hibiscus.

What are your favorite Instagram accounts?

I recommend almost all the accounts that I re-gram myself. But here’s a small selection:

@j.hannah
@simplicitycity
@luciazolea
@bertabernad_home
@maggieontherocks
@alexadelacruz
@mignonettetakespictures
@ruby_woodhouse
@okayjaimie
@thebodysuit

Find more about Nella Beljan on her website nellabeljan.de or her Instagram account @zoras_daughter

Translation: Melissa Frost

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.