The moment we saw Julia Leach's latest Greece-inspired collection and the gorgeous photos from Paros, we knew we had to get the story behind the clothes and the images.
PAROS, Greece – Like Popupla, has wanderlust at the core of its spirit. With the striped T-shirt as its iconic item, and each collection made up of the best travel-ready pieces (from totes to beach towels, hats to espadrilles), I turned to Greece for inspiration for this collection, our third. After mining places close to my heart for seasons one and two (France and California, respectively), I wanted to explore a destination that has always sparked my imagination. With its rich history, distinctive color palette, stunning natural beauty, and seaside lifestyle, Greece was an intuitive choice, and it did not disappoint. On a quest to find a perfect venue to shoot the summer campaign, I landed, figuratively at first, on the island of Paros, one of the Cycladic islands. Delivering an authentic Greek experience without the glitz of its more popular cousin, Mykonos, Paros offered a postcard perfect setting for our images. When I literally landed on the island, I knew it would be the first of many visits.
After a beautiful long weekend in Athens, we left for Paros from the Port of Piraeus at just after 6 a.m. on an early Monday morning in April. We stood at the back of the boat and watched the sun riseover the city. I was traveling with new Athenian friends (, photographer; Costas Kokkinos, producer; and , director) and our model, Dasha, and we all quickly bonded. After the four-hour trip, upon arrival in Paros we went from the Port of Parikia to our rented private home, then on to Limnes Beach. We had our first shots within an hour of stepping off the ferry (which in Greece qualifies as a ship).
The island offered up the perfect color palette, all shades used in the collection: Aegan navy, sky blue, sea green, deep bloom pink, and pale stone. Yiorgos, the photographer, spends summers on Paros, so he knew all the great locations, from Kolymbithres Beach (where you'll find an amazing landscape of boulders etched with lines and dots thanks to the wear of thousands of years of water, wind, and sun) to Lefkes, a little village that feels untouched by time and tourism. We shot one of my favorite images in the campaign just outside Lefkes in front of a massive olive tree. The pale aqua green caftan flutters in the wind and Dasha looks like a young Greek goddess (in my humble opinion).
From there we went on to the small port town of Naoussa. We took so many photos here as the setting was quintessential Chance. We chatted with fishermen who sat methodically mending a net and climbed over boats that looked like they'd been moored here since 1962. For visitors to Paros, Naoussa is a lovely alternative to the more bustling central town, Parikia. Yiorgos and his brother own a bar here, , where you can have a glass of wine in the summer and look out over the tiny, charming harbor.
The season begins around Greek Easter in early May, when all businesses throw their doors open for the season. I was wistful when we rushed to catch the ferry back to Athens after our shoot and am already plotting a return trip, perhaps in the fall when travelers have returned home and I can once again seemingly have this beautiful island all to myself.