Julia Leach: Founder + Creative Director, Chance
A Chance Encounter With The Spirit Of Summer
ELAINE SAYS: She is the former Creative Director for uber-brand, Kate Spade but since then, Julia Leach has introduced us to a very different facet of her creative voice with her line and lifestyle, Chance. Infused with the crisp aesthetic of the all American east coast and the breezy, carefree spirit of the west, Julia has developed a distinct point of view that I find nothing less than enchanting. As she described it for Barney's when her California Collection "popped-up" there last June, "[Chance represents] an artful, adventurous life, one lived with easy grace and independent joie de vivre, and inspired by travel, nature, music, art, cinema, friendship, and family.” That perspective is not driven by superficiality or trends like so many are. Just browse her site, blog and dig into her point of view. You'll find a warmth and artistic quality to what she does that is really extraordinary, which is what intrigues me so much about Julia. Or don't...and you'll still find a lovely shop built around a colossal appreciation for the classic stripe, which I share. Either way, there's bound to be something about Julia that speaks to your heart or your closet. For many, myself included, all of that talent is only enhanced by her oft-noted, disarmingly humble, kind and down-to-earth nature. It is such a pleasure to have Julia on the site today and to get a glimpse into some of the things that inspire and comfort her. Take a walk in her lifestyle footprint and see what treasures you find. Go on...take a chance.
A Note From Julia
When Elaine asked me to sum up my “lifestyle footprint,” three words came to mind : Simplicity, design, and adventure. For me, it’s about bringing out the “life” in “lifestyle” through a set of experiences and products that capture a collision of these three elements. The result is a confident yet understated sense of style that’s inspired by nature, art, travel, and friendships. – Julia Leach, Chance Founder & Creative Director
Julia Leach's Online Finds
- How To Boil An Egg
SHOPWhen I heard about this book, I pre-ordered it and was so pleased when it finally arrived. I love the purity and simplicity of eggs and all that they symbolize, and then they’re so versatile too. This is a great addition to any kitchen, especially one that is centered on fresh ingredients. It was written by Rose Carrarini, founder of Rose Bakery, one of my favorite stops when I’m staying at a friend’s pied-à-terre in Paris.
- Happy Menocal Cards
SHOPAs a note writer, I’m always looking for special stationery to add to my stash. For summer thank- you’s, I love Happy Menocal’s shark series, as well as her fruit. The custom crests she creates for special occasions (weddings, the arrival of a new baby) are also great. They’re so beautifully done and can become family heirlooms. Her work is lovely yet also a bit subversive, which I love.
- Design Tripper + Welcome Beyond
VISIT DT + VISIT WBI’m always planning my next trip, so visit both of these great travel sites on a regular basis, if even just to daydream. Both have a strong editorial point-of-view and only list places that are distinctive, whether a small hotel, beach cottage, or villa.
- Goat-Milk Children's Clothing
SHOPEvery time I’m in a shop and run across Goat-Milk apparel for kids I wish they made their tanks and undies for adults. Instead, I buy them as gifts for friend’s children. Their line is made from super soft 100% organic cotton and is knitted in dense ribs and pointelles.
- La Garconne
SHOPAt the start of each spring and fall season, I check out what La Garçonne has to offer, and often wind up with a pair or two of shoes in my shopping cart. They always have a great selection of flat sandals from brands like Common Projects, Martin Margiela, K. Jacques, and other lines that can be hard to find
- Formaggio Kitchen's Horn Tableware
SHOPA few years ago I invested in a full set of Saldini horn tableware. I’ll never buy utensils again! This is such a wonderful alternative to sterling silver; there’s a rich simplicity to the horn handles and elegant curve to the stainless steel (http://blog.formaggiokitchen.com/2010/04/25/a- special-find-saladini-knives/). They also do a beautiful line from olive wood.
Julia Leach's Neighborhood Secrets
VISIT | 181 Mott Street, NYCSince opening in NoLita last year, this has become my go-to spot for unique finds both for my wardrobe and for gifts. The name says it all -- inside it feels like summer all year ‘round. Owner Winnie Beatite grew up in Hawaii and has captured the perfect blend of bohemian ease and sophistication with her assortment of clothing, accessories, books, and items for children and the home. I love the Vanessa Bruno hat I bought at Christmastime, and can’t wait to see what they’re carrying for the upcoming season.
- Pasanella & Son's Vinters
VISIT | 115 South Street, NYCI live on a tucked away block on the Lower East Side, and one of the things I love most about it is that it’s a 15-minute walk to nearly anywhere I want to go downtown (SoHo, Tribeca, the Village, etc.). The draw for a walk to the South Street Seaport is Pasanella & Sons wine shop. I love to take a quick stroll at dusk on summer evenings to this special store, which is so thoughtfully designed and well curated in terms of selection. Since the next Chance collection is inspired by Greece, this Moschofilero ((http://www.pasanellaandson.com/product.php?productid=17378&cat=293&page=1), a Greek white grape, will be served at spring dinner parties. I love that it’s described as “lemony fresh with hints of honey, flowers, and lime peel.” I’m excited for warmer temperatures and time to enjoy wine from Pasanella with friends. If you don’t live in New York City, you can also shop their selection online.
- Dominique Ansel Bakery
VISIT | 189 Spring Street, NYCWhen I need a spot to meet a friend for tea or a quick lunch in SoHo, I always suggest Dominique Ansel Patisserie, especially in the summer when you can enjoy their small outdoor seating area in the back. They have wonderful salads and soups, if you’re a dessert person, this spot is sublime. I’m not so much, with the exception of tarts (usually lemon). I recently had one of their new seasonal creations, a pink grapefruit tart with lavender and honey, and it tasted like early spring – bright with just a little bit of bite.