Aficionada

Spanish noun (ah-fee-thyaw-nah-th ah)

a woman who is very knowledgeable about an activity, subject, or pastime. a connoisseur, expert, specialist, cognoscente, an enthusiast.


Julia Leach Creative Director

 


Where are you from?
Minnesota and France in my youth. LA and NYC now.

Where do you live?
Venice, CA, with wanderlust.

What do you do?
In work, as a creative director, I partner with CEOs and other business leaders to bring vision, voice, and a clear point-of-view to brands of all sizes, working with a small group of strategic and creative collaborators that share my passion for excellence, problem solving, purpose, spirit, and surprise. In life, I look for beauty, levity, and simplicity in the everyday.

What are you goals/dreams?
To live a creative life imbued with curiosity, compassion, generosity, and grace; to be a supportive partner, friend, and daughter; to someday own the house of my dreams, as well as the horse of my dreams that I can ride through the fields every morning, wherever those fields may be.

 

 

 

 

Favorite hobbies/rituals?
Horseback riding, exploring music new and old, traveling near and far…am always planning my next trip. A favorite weekly ritual is early Sunday morning visits to the Hollywood farmer’s market, yes, to shop, but also just to be inspired by the colors and shapes and scents of all the fruit and vegetables and flowers. I love to cook and entertain and wish I had more time to do so.

Will you please share your delicious salmon recipe?
Yes! It's always a crowd pleaser for small dinner parties.


INGREDIENTS
Four 6 oz wild salmon fillets
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil per recipe

STEPS
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Drizzle olive oil in pyrex baking dish. Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, in dish. Drizzle olive oil over top of fillets.
3. Mix brown sugar, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper loosely in a bowl.
4. Spread spice mixture over the the fillets, covering them thoroughly end-to-end, side-to-side.
6. Pop the dish in the oven, cook for 13-15 minutes, or until fillets are still silky but cooked through.
7. Remove from oven. Carefully plate, removing skins at bottom with serving spatula.
8. Serve with sautéed spinach with lemon, garlic, shallots, toasted pine nuts, and plump golden raisins or similar flavorful green side dish.


What inspires you?
Design of all types (graphic, industrial, textile, interior); the energy of cities (NYC, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, Buenos Aires); colors found in nature; and of course, art, photography, film…

What are your favorite places that you have travelled to and where do you want to go next?
I love rugged Mediterranean islands (Majorca in Spain, Corsica in France, Tinos in Greece), the Portuguese countryside (especially the Alentejo region), and Scandinavia, but feel it’s time to go further afield…Vietnam, Chile, the Japanese coastline, Tangier. I also love Mexico and visit every December; I’d love to re-visit Mexico City and Oaxaca as I’ve been going to the Pacific coast regularly now for several years.

What is your favorite hotel/resort to stay in?
I love Ett Hem in Stockholm, Verana in Mexico, Palácio Belmonte in Lisbon, and Hôtel Particular Montmarte in Paris.

Biggest luxury?
Once a year, I rent a house within 2 to 3 hours of the village where my mother lives in France so she can get away and we can enjoy time together, then I rent another house somewhere else in Europe, usually by the sea, so I can unplug and relax. These two weeks, staying in lovely, discreet places and enjoying time with family and friends, are a luxury that means the world to me.

 

 

 

 

Rules to live by?
Funny...I've never thought about living by rules and prefer to discreetly break them, so in thinking about this, I'd say that what guides me is the instinct to be adventurous, be kind, and also this Maya Angelou quote, which always sticks with me,

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Female hero and why?
My mom. She remains vibrant, inquisitive, thoughtful, and determined, despite the challenges of Parkinson’s disease.

When are you the happiest?
On the back of horse; on a long walk in a foreign country that I’ve never visited before; with my best friends sharing a meal and conversation and laughter; in the desert, by the sea, or just watching the clouds pass by while sitting next to someone I love.

What’s up next for you? 
An evolution of the life I enjoy between LA and NY, focusing on a significant new project.

 

 

 

What is your favorite music and latest bands?
Where to begin? Radiohead, The xx, London Grammar, Childish Gambino, The National, Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, Big Red Machine, Caribou, Shallou, …the list goes on and on. I lean towards indie/alt rock /electronic, but I’m always listening and enjoy the process of discovery, making playlists that mix everything from ambient to disco to dream pop to Ethiopian jazz to flamenco to house to new wave to soul.

What are some of your favorite books/audiobooks, and films/shows?
I don’t read as much as I’d like to, so nod to an old favorite book: A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter. I love his spare, emotional writing style. As for films, I love everything that Luca Guadagnino directs. Paul Thomas Anderson too. And I still have a soft spot for the French New Wave directors…Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer, Charbol, Demy, Malle. My all-time favorite movie is Badlands starring Sissy Space and Martin Sheen (directed by Terrence Malick). I grew up without a television, so have been slower to embrace the cultural shift towards strong TV shows these past several years, but I do fall for intriguing storylines beautifully shot and produced (e.g. Trust, The Night Manager), so I’ll check out The Romanoffs.

Who is your favorite artist?
Toba Khedoori is a favorite. Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandbank, and the minimalists in general speak to me, though I also like art that’s conceptual or challenging in some way as it asks more of you when viewing or experiencing it.

Seen any great exhibits lately?
I was in London for Frieze recently and enjoyed the Tom Friedman show at Stephen Friedman Gallery. He can take a simple idea and craft it into something sublime.

 

 

 

 

How do you unwind and de-stress?
I ride my bike along the Pacific Ocean, listen to music, and let my mind wander.

Do you unplug from devices?
I should, and plan to…

How do you take good care of yourself?
Horseback riding, biking, and walking as much as possible, and tennis too. I’m meditative by nature and strive for balance overall in my life.


"When I ride, the world, to-do lists, questions, concerns, and plans disappear, and I'm in sync with a beautiful animal that's both powerful and responsive. It's very liberating and clarifying. I find that playing tennis provides a similar sense of rhythmic calm. I prefer exercise that doesn't feel like exercise, yet is exactly that for both body and mind."

 

Beauty routine?
I’m a minimalist…not very experimental, so stick with Nude Fizzy Cleanser followed by Beautycounter’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel every night. That’s about it. Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm is my constant companion…I have one in every pocket, drawer, and bag. I like that it’s natural, sheer, and has just a hint of color. I also like Chanel’s Le Crème Main lotion in the egg-shaped container (it also makes a great gift).

What is your style credo?
Timeless clothing, bold accessories, great shoes.

Who is your style icon, and why?
I don’t have a single style icon, but appreciate women who mix menswear and classic clothing with a touch of fashion or edge. Stella Tennant, Claire Thomson-Jonville, Julie Pelipas, Jessica de Ruiter, Jo Ellison…they always look great. I see Lauren Hutton from time-to-time at the Santa Monica farmer’s market or Gjusta, a cafe in my neighborhood, and I admire that she maintains a sense of personal style at nearly 75 years old.

 

 

 


Bold or delicate jewelry?
Bold mixed with one or two delicate pieces.

What is your favorite KC piece and how do you like to style it?
I like mixing all my rings (Cresta II, Grande, Thick Rounded, Artemisa Cuff, etc.) with a set of vintage Danish brass rings I found years ago in Copenhagen.

What KC accessories do you like to wear at night?
The iPhone case, always.

Which piece/pieces from the new collection do you want the most?
I bought the Marbella Tote in caramel suede…it’s already in regular rotation. I’m eyeing the Lupe Sino Clutch as I like that it can be tucked inside a larger bag during the day and also used at night on its own.

What do you like best about KC bags or jewelry?
They perfectly blend classic proportions and timeless appeal with subtle organic and equestrian references…chic, understated, and easy to wear.


 

 Photos by Kendall Conrad using an iPhone X 

 @julia_chance

 

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