Julia Leach, founder of Chance

How would you describe your personal style?

Tomboy Chic

How did your company start?

I knew I wanted to create a brand that expressed a creative point-of-view; a point-of-view that was telegraphed through a series of products, images, films, collaborations, installations, and, eventually, stores.  I realized that a well-made, simply stylish striped t-shirt could communicate the sensibility and idea of “classics that travel the world,” which describes how I live and dress. After designing what I felt was the quintessential modernmarinière, I added beach towels, totes, espadrilles, straw hats, and additional apparel pieces, and Chance was born.

What are the main inspirations and themes behind Chance?
Design : Clean lines, strong colors, and refined shapes and compositions create the visual architecture of Chance; I think more about graphic design and less about fashion design when I’m creating product and imagery.
Simplicity : I’m inspired by the idea of perfectly chic essentials – items that you come back to again and again – as well as surrounding oneself with “life’s simple best” in everything from art to food to clothing.
Personal Style : The striped t-shirt is worn by all sorts of people with great personal style – from artists toingénues, preps to punks, royalty to rock stars, and many people in between; though Chance has a specific aesthetic, I’m always interested in how people express their creativity through their personal style rather than following fashion fads and trends.
Adventure : The independence and curiosity that lead to travel and then onto great adventures are at the core of the narrative inspirations for Chance; Whether it’s the adventure of a weekend road trip, a visit to an exotic country, or the adventure of simply living life to its fullest, Chance is all about going out into the world and finding ways to lead a rich, creative life.
Who are your style icons?
Slim Keith, Jane Birkin, Lauren Hutton, Renée Perle, and my friends.
If you had not created Chance, what do you think you would be doing now?
Hopefully bringing vision and passion to another creatively inspired business.  Or I’d happily work on a horse farm on the West Coast.  I miss being around horses and work as hard as I do so that one day I’ll have one again – I’ve been horse crazy since I was a kid.
What are your hopes for Chance? 
I hope it will grow organically and unfold in a surprising way so that it’s always an adventure.
What is your favorite part about living in California?
The profusion of foliage and the fact that there’s always something in bloom; nature is always right at your fingertips and there’s a spectacle of color everyday.  From the many shades of green in the trees and succulents, to the blue sky and sparkling silvery navy ocean, to pops of color in bushes heavy with vibrant blossoms.  Also, when I’m there I get to spend time with people that mean the world to me, most importantly my boyfriend.  So, flowers, friends, and sunshine.



Seeing Moonrise Kingdom was a breath of fresh, pure, beautiful air.

We went into the movie theatre and we were surrounded by posters of sexy superheroes and talking teddy bears and male strippers and drug addicts and the atmosphere was just so . . . . dirty. But when my eye caught the poster for Moonrise Kingdom, something about it was different. It was so innocent and colorful and  sweet — I couldn’t wait to watch it.

But let me tell you, the poster dulled in comparison to the actual film. Moonrise Kingdom, directed by Wes Anderson (visual GENIUS,) is a story taking place on the East Coast in the 1960s about two twelve year-olds who run away together and and fall in love.

The music is beautiful, the locations are beautiful, the actors are beautiful, the cinematography is beautiful, the costumes are beautiful, EVERYTHING is so pure and simple and the details are perfect. Also, there was no cursing or sex or anything dirty that is nearly in every movie nowadays. It’s not twisted, it’s not violent, it’s not vulgar; it’s story about the honest, un-soiled love that two children have for each other.

Moonrise Kingdom was such a breath of fresh air. Go see it!


Flynn McGarry: Prodigy in the Kitchen

Jamie Oliver practiced cooking in his parent’s pub. Ferran Adria was a dishwasher as a teenager. Bobby Flay got an oven at age eight. But Flynn McGarry, age 13, is ahead of them all. Three years ago, the inner-chef inside of him sparked and he set off on the road to chef-dom.

Humble, gifted, and determined, Flynn stopped going to his local school and began home schooling. He read cookbooks and watched TV shows about the culinary world. His dad helped him transform his bedroom into a full-on iron chef kitchen equipped with everything from a Vita-Mix to a Sous Vide Supreme. His mom, (who hates cooking), gladly supplied him with pots and pans. His closet is a spice cupboard; containers of cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper are stacked on his t-shirts and lay by his shoes. Dedicated would be an understatement. In fact, delicious would be an understatement. Flynn’s food is what’s pulling people to the table.

Every month, Flynn and his small but professional staff of middle-schooled sous chefs and waiters organize dinner parties with an entrance fee of $20 per person. Eureka, (Flynn’s “at home” restaurant appropriately titled after their street name), will prepare anywhere from eight to sixteen courses of amazing cuisine. Fanny and I were lucky enough to come to Eureka and try Flynn’s food. The dishes he prepared were so delicious that Fanny payed no attention to her silverware or her napkin; it went down too fast. And no wonder! Eureka’s menu is quite impressive: red wine pork belly, saffron cod cake, prosciutto pumpkin squares, banana créme brûlée, sunchoke soup, grapefruit “snow,” duck, thyme pear juice . . . I have to stop. I’m drooling.

“He’s just really into what he does,” says his biggest fan, (his mom), Meg McGarry. While most kids are busy taking tests and shuffling from class to class, Flynn works at LACMA’s restaurant, Ray’s, from 9:00 to 3:00. “It’s super hot because I work on the meat station which has a grill that is about 600 degrees. But I like it; the people I work with don’t take it too seriously.” Flynn also likes being home schooled. “I have more opportunities to work in different restaurants and I can cook as much as I want,” he says. “I worked at Sweet Butter, a small cafe in Sherman Oaks, and I made soups and helped prep.”

Recently interviewed by The New Yorker, ( Flynn is very busy. So just what does he do in his spare time? “A while ago I was obsessed with dry ice. I did an entire dessert course where each dessert had dry ice in it. I made a chocolate sphere, carbonated blueberry sorbet, coconut milk snow, and twice cooked pancakes.” Hang on. Twice cooked pancakes? “Cooked pancakes pureed and then frozen on a block of dry ice,” Flynn responds cooly. Wow. I thought making oatmeal was hard.

McGarry has also catered. “I tried catering and it went great–the kitchen I cooked in was huge, and we did ten courses that went out perfectly.” Catering, dinner parties, incredible food, wow. That family must be so happy to have Flynn around whenever they’re hungry. “Actually, I don’t usually cook for my family because not all of them like my style of cooking,” Flynn says. “Usually when I cook, I’m either in a restaurant, testing a dish out, or doing the dinner parties.”

With his quick green eyes, a knife in his hand, a smudge of butternut squash on his white chef smock, Flynn seems like he knows what he’s doing. “I think the word ‘chef’ means that you have worked every single station in a restaurant and have mastered the craft–the thing I like most about the culinary world is the creativity.” Indeed, Flynn is probably the most creative aspiring chef I know; his plating techniques and food designs are all so perfectly placed, delicate and colorful. Now when try to get creative with food, it just ends up looking like a kindergarten art project. Flynn says that as a kid, “I was creative and did art. With food, I can be creative with how I use ingredients. A certain level of detail appeals to me; in cooking, I feel that the dish needs to be as close to perfection as possible. If it’s not really good, I won’t serve it.”

So where does Flynn get all of his ingredients?   “I go to the local farmers market almost every Sunday to check out what’s available and in season,” says Flynn. “I like the markets because I can see different foods and meet some of the farmers. The best thing I have ever tasted there is either fresh passion fruit or fresh guava, but the hardest thing I’ve ever cooked is probably the Chinese bitter melon because it is so overpowering, so you have to find the right balance between it and other ingredients.”

When asked who his main inspirations were, the answer was quite sophisticated. “Grant Achatz, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, and Rene Redzepi. I actually worked for a famous chef, Daniel Humm, a few months ago at Eleven Madison Park.”

Independent, focused, and talented, Flynn McGarry has big plans. “I would like to open my own restaurant someday so people can experience my food,” he says. So watch out Bobby and Batali; Flynn is on his way.

Article by Luisa Cameron

SiS © 2012


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