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Julia Leach’s Design Inspiration

Chance designer Julia Leach on Fishers Island in New York.

Photo: Chris Shipman/Courtesy of Chance

“I’m a Midwesterner, but my upbringing was quite bohemian,” says American designer Julia Leach. “My parents, both artists, were always looking to Europe for inspiration.” Formerly the creative director for Kate Spade, Leach has spent much of her life traveling back and forth across the Atlantic, cultivating an “eye for the simple” while collecting woven baskets from the markets of France’s Dordogne region, espadrilles from Spain’s Basque country, textiles from Parma, Italy—and countless ideas for her Euro-inflected clothing and lifestyle label, Chance (chanceco.com). The brand is anchored by the timeless look of the striped marinière tee (“Pair it with jeans or heels—it can go anywhere,” she says), first adopted by the French navy in 1858 and later popularized by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, and Inès de la Fressange. From there, the line includes an array of easy tops, dresses, and swim trunks in brushed cotton; fish-shaped soaps made by hand in Chorley, England; canvas beach totes; straw sun hats; and more. The first pop-up Chance store is scheduled to surface in New York City next month, and a hotel is also on the horizon. “Whether the Ligurian, the Mediterranean, or the Tyrrhenian,” Leach says, “it’ll definitely overlook the sea.”

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