Here at KiC, we live for the summer. So when we had the opportunity to meet Julia Leach, designer of Chance, a line basically devoted to summer essentials (and everything striped), we were excited. Leach, who was executive vice president and creative director at Kate Spade before she launched her own line a year ago, embodies a laid-back coastal vibe with her long blond hair and equally long legs. She is thoughtful, incredibly easygoing, and her inspiration comes from a love of adventure, travel and simplicity in style. (Who doesn’t want to be sitting on a beach somewhere in a Chance striped tee?) Last week Chance opened their first pop-up shop in Barneys. While Leach received a lot of coverage about her collection, we wanted to find out more about the woman behind the brand.
What is it about a striped T-shirt? It’s that the striped T-shirt telegraphs a bigger idea beyond being a piece of clothing. Very few garments communicate a world or notion, but the striped T-shirt does. It conjures up a sense of adventure, design, simplicity and personal style, values that anchor Chance and my point of view on living and dressing. I’ve had so many people tell me stories about their favorite striped T-shirt since I launched the business–there’s an emotional attachment to it, a romance.
Your California beach attire vs. New York beach look. In California, I pull out my old Levi’s cut-off shorts and wear them with one of my boyfriend’s old Turnbull & Asser button-down shirts over a black Tomas Maier bikini. Flat leather sandals and a straw hat finish it off. In New York, I’m usually in a Chance henley (one of my favorite styles) and a pair of Theory shorts from a stack I’ve accumulated over the years. Again, the black bikini. I’m not a big collector of sunglasses, I have two in rotation, an Oliver Peoples silver frame aviator and Tom Ford aviators with a gold frame.
Five things you cannot travel without:
1. A pair of Manolo Blahnik dark brown leather flat sandals I’ve had for at least 10 years. They’re perfect and have stood the test of time. They go everywhere with me.
2. White jeans year-round. I like Madewell’s Skinny Skinny.
3. A beloved denim jacket from 45 rpm, great for dressing up and down, as well as dealing with the temperature changes that accompany travel.
4. A LaFCO Cucumber Thyme mini candle–it brings a touch of home to any hotel room.
5. A good book is essential. This summer it’s There & Then: The Travel Writing of James Salter, my favorite author.
6. I know this makes six, but music is so important to me. I’m constantly making playlists and they become associated with certain places and adventures.
A Chance fragrance would smell like….Honeysuckle and jasmine with a subtle note of lemon. The fragrance would be a collision of sensual/velvety, lightness/sunshine and West Coast/East Coast…like a walk through Beachwood Canyon in LA or along the beach on the North Fork in the evening when the flowers are in full bloom.
Summer means….Tan legs, Essie Imported Champagne on my toes, J. Crew tuxedo shirts from the boys department with black crepe shorts and strappy sandals. Watching nature TV and bike riding upstate, dinners on the terrace in LA, sharing crisp, cold Sancerre with friends, fresh corn on the cob with lots of lime, kiddie cones with a double-dip of butterscotch, a sense of freedom and possibility, and Chance.
Julia photographed by Andrew Paynter
Suede Crooked-Heel ankle boot
Everyday tote small leather bag
Roll-neck argyle-sleeved sweater
Ridgewood corduroy trousers
Point-toe slingback kitten-heel pumps
Alice square-frame acetate sunglasses
Icon wide-leg denim jumpsuit
Bexley brogue-detail; leather ankle boots
This story ran 2 years ago and is still one of my favorites. As we head into Memorial Day weekend, I am bleaching my vast collection of white cotton skirts, shorts, khurtas and tees, pulling out my straw bags and dusting off my K. Jacques. The weather may not cooperate, but I will be ready when it does.
Straw bags at Anthropology used as shopping baskets
After years of carrying canvas totes, I am loving this light and earthy alternative! I keep my large straw bags in the car and use them for groceries instead of the reusable ones from Whole Foods. And needless to say, they are chic at the beach stuffed with towels, sun block and an iPad!
Lou Doillon in Capri
I’m not sure what it is about Lana Del Rey, I cannot put my finger on it. Her songs are okay. Maybe it’s her look- it takes me back to my early casting days when we started the super models. Lana would have fit right in.
I cast this story shot by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue (a long time ago…)
I did this one with Peter too- a miracle they all showed up…
Maybe I see a little Stephanie Seymour (far right) in Lana and that is her appeal for me.
Sometimes the story behind a design and how it is crafted is so intriguing it makes you appreciate the design that much more. Such is the case with Emily Satloff’s jewelry line, Larkspur & Hawk. What you don’t necessarily know when you try on a dazzling pair of Halley’s comet earrings, or shimmering white topaz necklace, is the jewelry’s brilliance is the result of a centuries old technique, called foiling, that was used during the Georgian period (early 1700s to early 1800s). Satloff, who also specializes in selling antique jewelry to private clients, decided to resurrect the art of foiling and use it to create her own line of jewelry. And it is this technique–mixing semi-precious stones with different colored foils–that allows her to create such intense and subtle colors, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
To top it off, Satloff, is as intriguing as her jewels. We met her at her Upper East Side apartment (the rich, exotic interiors courtesy of Katie Ridder) and were immediately enamored with her elegance, old-world charm and down-to-earth demeanor. She is a woman with a unique and poetic vision; rare qualities in today’s world. (Satloff’s jewelry can be found at Barneys and Net-a-Porter.)
Before you started Larkspur & Hawk you specialized in antique jewelry. What draws you to jewelry? My foray into antique jewelry actually stemmed from my studies and work in decorative arts. I felt that jewelry mimicked the trends found throughout history (silver, ceramics, architecture). Each piece of jewelry was a visual piece of history.
Larkspur & Hawk is your modernized take on Georgian jewelry. Explain. In selling antique jewelry each piece allowed me to act as a conduit to the past. My new collection is similar in that I have focused on keeping a tradition and craftsmanship alive through my knowledge and expertise, yet adding a slightly modern sensibility. In reference to the craftsmanship, I have revived the art of foiling gemstones, which was an 18th century jewelry-making technique.
Why the name Larkspur & Hawk? As often as we can, our family travels to our home away from home in Beaver Creek, Colorado. The name derives from my favorite ski runs, birds and flowers there.
What do you want a woman to feel when she puts on your jewelry? I want women to feel that when they are wearing my jewelry, they are wearing something unique and personal. Each piece is carefully designed, with the combination of gemstones and foils to brighten the face.
What new designs are you most excited about? The Halley collection. Many jewelers over the centuries have drawn inspiration from celestial happenings, such as Halley’s comet, the only periodic comet visible to the naked eye. [An occurrence that happens approximately every 75 years, and influenced Georgian jewelers.] The luminous pieces from the collection, combining faceted circular stones with pronged foliate detailing is evocative of the ethereal beauty of a shooting comet.
Describe your personal style: My style is geared towards the jewelry I am wearing. I gravitate towards slightly more feminine and romantic pieces that reference the past, yet are modern. If I could wear ball gowns every day I would!
Designers in your closet: Dries Van Noten, Morgane Le Fey, Prada, Giuseppe Zanotti (his shoes are jewelry for your feet), and Catherine Malandrino.
China on your table: Bernardaud Bacchanale.
Favorite scent: Frederic Malle Iris Poudre.
If you weren’t a jewelry designer you would….Own a vineyard.
Illustration by Celine Loup for the New York Times Book Review
My sister and I love stories of Old World families with property and lots of familial politics. Probably doesn’t take a Freudian scholar to figure out the draw of these tales. So when the New York Times reviewed The Right-Hand Shore, Christopher Tilghman’s new novel set on a Chesapeake plantation named Mason’s Retreat, a property that has been held by one family since 1657, my interest was piqued. I will let you know if it’s a good read.
Blair at home by Marko MacPherson for KiC
Have you ever met someone only to realize you have a million friends in common? That is precisely what happened to me and Blair. We would cross paths frequently, but did not really connect until a year ago when she ran into us shooting KiC on the street outside her apartment. A jewelry designer with an eponymous line, mother of three and Best Dressed List topper; Blair is a stylish profile.
Although based in New York, Blair was raised in North Carolina and travels extensively. Through her travels, a broad range of cultural influences have come into play as inspiration for her work. Numbers are also important, because as she says “everyone has a number that means something special.”
Blair Husain Jewelry was first on my radar when I saw a lot of friends wearing her one-of-a-kind Roman numeral pendants and bracelets to honor special occasions. But it is her new pieces, especially the “rock” rings, that I think are gorgeous and fun.
Blair on the street courtesy of Quest Magazine
What inspires your jewelry: Architecture, the gemology department at the Museum of Natural History and the Zodiac rotunda in the NYC courthouse at 1 Centre Street.
5 Spring Essentials:
Valentino Rockstud flats
Any art from the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, she has such a good eye
Naeem Khan cocktail dress
AG jeans in white
Ralph Lauren Ricky bag in purple croc
3 Beauty Musts:
Gold shimmer elastic hair ties at Zitomers
Fresh Twilight Face Glow Cream
A smile… it makes you look prettier!
A perfect day is: Sleeping late, having coffee from Sant Ambroeus in their beautiful salmon-colored disposable cups, going for a walk around the reservoir , meeting my family for a big brunch at Le Magnifique, watching my kids scooter in the neighborhood while I window shop, going to SLT for a workout, getting my hair blown-out (such a luxury) then reading stories to my children (listening to them laugh, watching them smile) and hearing them say their prayers…then off to dinner with my husband to T-Bar where they have the best lamb burger and banana dessert! Bliss!
Being a mother is: What I am most proud of and feel very blessed to experience.
Next destination: A family reunion in Jamaica for my brothers 40th!
Courtesy of Tmagazine
I was determined to celebrate my birthday in Valentino. When I fell hard for the first look in the SS12 show, I preordered it. As is often the case, what is shown on the runway is just not the same when delivered to the stores. With the day fast approaching and nothing new to wear, I reached into my closet and pulled out my recent standby and go-to dress by Sacai below. Paired with Valentino Rockstud shoes and a starched white collar, this has become my favorite, easy and pulled-together look.
What makes a Sacai dress so great and easy is that it is all one piece, yet looks like separates. The sweater is attached to the skirt, you just pull it on.
This dress has saved me a number of times these past few months. I don’t love a boatneck, so I tuck a collar, like the one below, underneath and I removed the silver cuffs.
Courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine
It’s Earth Day and, if it doesn’t rain as predicted, we will be up to our elbows in dirt. Gardening has become an integral part of our lives and it’s very satisfying to grow our own food.
Recently, I have become a bit herb crazed. I am training rosemary trees into topiary balls and my kitchen counter is rapidly losing space to all the greenery. Herbs are easy to grow and smell divine. I am hosting a lunch tomorrow and, in lieu of floral arrangements, I have planted my favorite herbs in terracotta pots to be the centerpieces. Guests will have packets of seeds at their seats, instead of chocolates, with the hope that they will catch the gardening bug too.
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You will never see me in red jeans- nor pink, peach, baby blue or any other colorful denim. However, eggshell and very pale yellow appeal to my neutrals-only sensibility. Paired with a grey top and my fave new Supergas, this look would take me from the school-run to a meeting and beyond.
Growing food is all the rage. When Williams & Sonoma recently launched an agrarian section in its catalogue, I knew the trend is far reaching. Their mobile henhouse has gotten a lot of coverage and the organic vegetable beds are good, but it’s the beehive that makes me happy.
I have posted on beekeeping a few times. Thanks to my friend Lisa of BeeHaven Honey in Locust Valley, NY, I am dedicated to helping save the bees and want to learn more about the process. Williams & Sonoma’s agrarian push may very well help this cause and hopefully more people will take up beekeeping. You just need one hive, although I am told, one usually leads to a few.
We grow organic lettuces, onions, shallots and raspberries for the best pies.