This summer, I had the great good fortune to meet Julia Leach, founder and president of the new and magnificent company, Chance. Julia is the former creative director of Kate Spade. She is smart, funny, gorgeous, chic and incredibly kind. Chance’s foundation is the iconic striped t-shirt. The high quality combined with reasonable pricing prompted me to stock up on my summer T’s. Boy oh boy am I glad I did because I wear them ALL of the time!
Chance is much more than just t-shirts, though. It’s a true lifestyle brand, a whole point of view. It feels refreshing in its simplicity and quality, but has a confidence to it as well. It was important to Julia to launch with a diverse but focused product assortment. There are beach towels, books, tote bags, espadrilles and hats. The striped T-shirt is just the beginning.
Julia was kind enough to answer some of my musings, which made me all the more crazy about her and Chance (Silver Lining!).
Company name inspiration…
The character “Chance, the Gardener” in the Peter Sellers film “Being There.”
A politician in the film says of Chance (or “Chauncey Gardner,” as he’s mistakenly called), “He has a particular brand of optimism.” That’s Chance. It’s a bit abstract since it has nothing to do with his style, but it makes perfect sense in my mind, and the word works on so many levels and in so many languages.
THEN : Charlotte Rampling, Slim Keith, Jane Birkin, Joan Didion
NOW : Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alessandra Colombo, and my friends, Luise Stauss, Susanna Howe, Lawren Howell, and Kate Jones
That’s a lot of icons, but to me, they all represent understated, tomboy chic. I’m always inspired by how they keep a look simple yet special.
You can never have too many…
Flat, natural leather sandals
Long walks on the beach
Striped t-shirts and white cotton tank tops
LA : My boyfriend lives in Los Feliz, so it’s all about dinner at Figaro Bistrot’s bar, then a movie at the Arclight
G. Lalo sheets of paper in vintage airmail envelopes and a mix of stamps from the ’60s
Süss caramels with sea salt
Contemporary photography, outsider art and figure drawings, first edition books from the ’50s and ’60s, stamps, white jeans
Alternating between one gold and one silver Rolex watch from the ’60s (I’ll never need to buy another watch in my life).
Beyond that, my uniform is 3 chunky silver rings, a dark leather and silver i.d. bracelet, a set of tiny white/blue/brown beaded bracelets; and a mix of silver chain necklaces, one or more depending on my mood.
Limes, limes, limes
Purslane salad with goat cheese, toasted almonds, pears, and a lemon/lime vinaigrette
Black cod fish tacos with coconut milk and lots and lots of lime
Watermelon juice with lime
Chanel Bel-Ami lip shine freshened with Burt’s Bees pomegranate lip balm throughout the day; Cover Girl Great Lash mascara (forever!); Hermès Un Jardin Après La Mousson fragrance; Essie “My Way” polish, toes only (fingernails buffed); Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser; Omega 3’s, Water, Sleep
Indie Rock & Pop (Annuals, The Dodos, Generationals, TV On The Radio, Cat Power, Foster The People, Band of Horses, Panda Bear, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Metronomy, Eels, and so on)
Late ’60s & ’70s Rock & Pop (David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Velvet Underground, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, ELO, Bill Withers, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens)
Mix of french music, new and old (Lucienne Boyer, Françoise Hardy, Coralie Clément, Camille, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Paradis, Benjamin Biolay, MC Solaar, Air)
Books, BDDW, John Derian Dry Goods, Global Table (gift & home); Turpan (East Hampton & LA)
Paris : Ultramod Mercerie (ribbon in the 2nd), Hoses (shoes and accessories in the 3rd), La Chambre Claire (photography books in the 6th), Barthélemy (cheese in the 7th), Benneton Graveur (paper in the 8th), Fouquet (sweets in the 9th), Spree (clothing and accessories in the 18th)
Tokyo : Dressterior (clothing), Cow Books
London : Dover Street Market (multi-category)
Milan : Rossana Orlandi (multi-category)
Founder Ruth Shuman is an extraordinary woman. I’ve been involved since nearly the beginning and am so inspired by the impact the organization has on childrens’ lives through the use of color and creativity.
Book : Leonard Michaels’ short stories
Magazines : The Gentlewoman, Monocle, Vogue Living (Australia), The New Yorker, Bon Appétit (am loving the redesign led by a new team of editors)
White jeans; Chance long sleeved polo in blue stripes; flat,dark leather flat Manolo Blahnik sandals (still perfect after all these years); straw hat; jewelry (see above); fragrance (see above)
Last favorite film…
“Beginners” directed by Mike Mills
Verana in Yelapa, Mexico
Long flight musts…
iPod, Armand Diradourian cashmere travel blanket, a stack of New Yorkers, large bottle of water
Favorite non-working activity…
City : A full day of galleries (NY favorites are Feature, Andrea Rosen, David Zwirner, Paul Kasmin, and John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Books) and museums
Country : Horseback riding
Thank you, Julia for sharing your talent and creativity with Brookside Buzz!
Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.