TALK TO ME: Leith Clark, part II

Story by Mishal Cazmi. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

This is the second part of our conversation with Leith Clark, stylist and editor-in-chief of Lula Magazine. You can read the first part here.

How would you compare Canadian fashion with British fashion?

“For me Canada is an environment where I can’t not be outside. So there is an element of practicality brought in. Imagine my shoes lasting a Canadian winter! (Tabitha Simmons pale pink suede wedges.) All four seasons are so strong and vivid here. The people are so real. Fashion needs to to match it. Practicality is an issue more than it is in a city like London. The lifestyle is different. Some of the dresses that I bring here when I visit, I know I’m just going to hang them up. I know I’m not actually going to wear them.

Or maybe I do wear them, just under gigantic coats and with my motorcycle boots from when I was 14! I think you have to think about the environment you’re in. I want to be outside when I’m here, even when it’s snowing. Especially when it’s snowing. Fashion should never inhibit you or limit you.”

If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

“I did this thing in the ninth grade that I thought was a good idea. I probably read it in Sassy. On the first day of high school, I had to be the first person to raise my hand or volunteer, no matter what the question, in every class. It made that whole year so easy. I think that fearlessness and applying it, so that you’re never intimidated by anything and you don’t have long enough to psych yourself out, is a very nice thing and I wish I remembered it more often—especially at 16. I would tell myself to keep doing that.

And—the only person whose opinion reeeally matters, is your own.

Also, everyone, no matter what career they choose, has a point of view…. I think it’s important to encourage it in others and ourselves…. Sometimes we’re discouraged, and everyone’s creative view point is unique and important. We all had universes we created as kids that we would play inside. There’s no reason why that doesn’t have to continue when we grow up. You know, stare at paintings to figure out why certain ones make you feel something… make scrapbooks….  It’s so interesting when you get to dip into someone else’s world. People like to meet other people and have a place they can visit. Nurture yours in yourself and in others…

You’re having a tea party. You can only invite five guests, past or present. Who would they be?

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TALK TO ME: Leith Clark, part I

Story by Mishal Cazmi. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.

Only the prettiest adjectives—ethereal, whimsical, and dreamlike—can describe Lula magazine. It’s a magazine dipped in sunlight and enchantment, a world inhabited by dreamers.

Published twice a year, Lula has become more than a magazine; it’s evolved into brand and a lifestyle, made in the image of Clark herself. A Lula girl is a special kind of a girl. She’s a bit Sofia Coppola, a bit Enid Blyton. She eats cupcakes and sips champagne. She wears Moschino and Erdem.

Leith Clark, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, also happens to be Canadian. Clark’s journey is a familiar narrative in the magazine world—a small town girl who moved to New York City in pursuit of her dreams. She interned at Interview magazine before moving to London to work at British Vogue as an assistant to Kate Phelan. But Clark also made it in a big way.

She’s styled stars (Keira Knightley), campaigns (Chanel), and shoots (Harper’s BazaarVogue). And of course, she created Lula, a magazine that began as a small labour of love and has since earned an international cult following. In other words, Leith Clark is the best friend you wish you had. Every suburban girl need only look to Clark, a former resident of Oakville, Ontario, to realize that dreams can come true. She’s the living embodiment of the Lula fairy tale.

Clark was recently in Toronto for the opening of her Lula pop-up shop, curated for The Room at the Bay in celebration of its God Save the Queen event. In a Chanel dress and her favourite Tabitha Simmons suede platform wedges, Clark sat down to chat with The Style Notebook.

You curated the LULA pop-up shop for The Room, which you also did earlier this summer for Harvey Nichols. What were you looking for when selecting items for the pop-up shop?

“Sometimes it’s very selfish. The Miu Miu shoes that are in there were actually shoes they did five years ago. I think I called every Miu Miu store in the whole world and they were all sold out. This May, I got engaged and I remembered those shoes again. I wrote a letter to them saying, just so you know, one of the very first thoughts I had about a wedding were those shoes. So they made them and sent them to me to my house with a card, which was amazing. And then Harvey Nichols asked me to do a pop-up shop for them last summer and one of the first things I thought to do was phone Miu Miu again about those shoes.

Everything else in the shop is by people that I love. Charles Anastase made a dress similar to this one three years ago, but it was short with much wider straps and a higher neck. The Sonia Rykiel dress is a variation of one that existed that was longer. It usually starts with something they’ve already done. With Rodarte, I was really annoying and decided I wanted to wear white dresses forever! There’s also a book called Pretty Things by Liz Goldwyn. It’s so wonderful and I think people don’t see it enough.”

Lula has a very particular aesthetic. When you’re preparing an issue, how do you decide who gets to be in the pages—who the photographer is, the writer, who to interview?

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