A Coffee With… Candice Lake
A Coffee With… Candice Lake

A Coffee With… Candice Lake

Candice Lake isn’t just a former model – she’s also an esteemed photographer, style director at Australian Vogue and mother of three. Here, we sat down with her to chat fashion memories, favourite beauty products, summer travel plans and the best piece of advice she’s ever been given.
By Harriet Russell
Photography: @CANDICELAKE

Hi Candice – can we get you a coffee?

I actually don’t drink coffee anymore. With three children, I was becoming a bit of a caffeine addict, so I had to step back! It tends to be a turmeric latte these days with lots of cinnamon, ginger and oat milk. If I go for tea, it’s got to be a rooibos. 

So where do you get all your energy from?

I’m not really sure! People always think I must be turning to exercise instead of caffeine to energise me but actually, with my children, it’s the first thing that falls by the wayside. Recently, I joined Lanserhof at The Arts Club in Mayfair. They look at your entire body composition to find out which areas you need to focus on. It’s been brilliant at getting me to take my fitness more seriously again. It’s not intimidating, either – which is crucial for someone like me who’s a bit frightened of exercise.

What’s your earliest fashion memory – how did you get into the business?

People might be surprised to hear I wanted to be a lawyer growing up; I really wasn’t that interested in fashion. But I got thrown into the business as a model – one of my earliest memories was walking up to Marc Jacobs when he was designing for Louis Vuitton and asking him when I was going to meet ‘Lewis’. I really didn’t have a clue! I suppose the moment I fell in love with fashion was working with Steven Meisel on a Versace campaign. Editorial work is so interesting because it rarely feels like what you’re doing in the moment is very cool – it’s only when you see the finished image that everything comes together, and you realised the genius of the people you’re working with. I became enamoured and I knew I wanted to be in this industry forever, creating images that moved people.

Did you enjoy runway as much as editorial?

I loved my runway work so much. The Chanel shows really stand out in my mind as some of the most memorable – Karl was so integral to the process from start to finish. Editorial wasn’t as collaborative back then as it is now – but it was like being a fly on the wall and the art direction was always really strong. I loved being on set with some of the most creative minds in the business.

Do you remember what your first big designer purchase was?

It’s funny because in those days, models were often given a lot of clothes – some of them were even paid in product. So, my first designer purchase probably came at a time when I was in the show audience as opposed to on the runway. I remember going to watch the Chanel show in Paris and the Celine store was across the road – when Phoebe Philo was designing. I bought the most amazing coat and shoes there. It was the first time I’d really invested in pieces as opposed to being gifted product. I remember the bank calling me shortly afterwards because they suspected fraud…! But I always look at clothes in terms of cost per wear. I still wear that coat all the time.

What are some of your other most-worn items?

I’m all about a good jacket, so those my Balmain jackets are probably among my most-worn pieces. They just instantly pull a look together – even if you’re just wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I’m sad Peter Pilotto is no longer around, too, because I have a pair of trousers from the brand which I wear on repeat. The tailoring was just impeccable. If you want good tailoring now, it doesn’t get much better than The Row. Pick the piece up on THEOUTNET.com if the RRP is a little out of your budget! Finally, my bespoke wedding dress from Alberta Ferretti is also extremely special to me.

Is there anything you have your eye on this season?

It’s a bit of an obvious choice – but I’m going on holiday soon, and I keep adding that Prada raffia tote to my basket… then taking it out… then adding it in again. A good hat is also a summer essential – I bought that oversized hat from Jacquemus a few years ago, and although it’s quite extra, I’ve worn it so much. I’m very fair so I have to be super careful in the sun. I never burn when I wear it.

Do you have a style icon?

Not that I dress like them all the time, but I often find myself scrolling through images of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and Katherine Hepburn. What I’m drawn to is the simplicity and strength of all their looks. Neither of them deviated from their signature styles and I really admire that. They always dressed for themselves first and foremost – and often you can tell they’re working from one great base piece. To me, it’s the secret to great personal style.

What do your summer plans look like this year?

Every summer we go to Ibiza for three weeks as a family. We stay in the north, go to the beach early, we do boat trips, and we eat so well. It’s a really special part of our year. It’s been a really difficult couple of years – so much of my work involves travelling – but I’ve actually been given the time to explore the UK and fall in love with different parts of England and Scotland. I’ve been to Scotland about seven times in the last year, but I’ve also done lots of shoots in Yorkshire, Cheshire and Brighton. It’s forced me to think a little bit more outside the box. I also had my third child during the pandemic, so it’s been lovely to have that extra time at home as a family.

Do you have any countries or cities on your travel bucket list?

Probably Sydney – I’m Australian, and I haven’t been home in nearly three years. I can’t wait to see my family, including my sister. It’ll be very special when we make it back. One destination I’ve just ticked off my bucket list recently is Florence – it’s pure magic. We’re so lucky to be so close to Europe. I’ve loved being able to have that taste of Italy again.

What about hotels – do you have any favourites?

The Belmond chain is a favourite. The Villa San Michele in Florence is a new favourite – it used to be an old monastery – and I also love La Residencia in Mallorca. It’s very secluded and intimate.

And restaurants?

The best restaurant in London right now has to be Sessions Art Club by Florence Knight. If you can get a reservation, take it. I always enjoy going to Scott’s too – it’s an institution – and I love a good martini from DUKES Bar. If it’s dirty with extra olives, then all the better. Or a glass of champagne… nothing beats a glass of champagne.

Is there a book you’ve read that you think changed your life?

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a voracious reader. I probably read a book a week, at least. One that instantly springs to mind is When The Body Says No  by Dr Gabor Maté. It completely changed my outlook on health and it’s a really powerful book. As a doctor, he’s very interested in how our body holds onto stress and where different diseases originate from. People often ask me what I’d save from my wardrobe in a fire – but in reality, I’d be more likely to save the books. 

What about music – is there any artist or album you’re listening to on repeat right now?

Probably Chet Baker – he’s a jazz artist for anyone not familiar. Recently I’ve been working 19-hour days, so I come home, have some late dinner and put either Chet Baker or Miles Davis on. It’s instantly relaxing.

Speaking of relaxing – what are some of the beauty products you couldn’t live without?

Two brands I’m obsessed with are the Augustinus Bader moisturiser (yes, it really works) and Cosmedix Eye Doctor High Potency Eye Treatment. All the serums from Dr. Barbara Sturm are amazing, too. As for make-up, I don’t tend to wear much at all. But Laura Mercier just brought out these new lip products, that are mini-sized and just come with a hint of a tint. They’re perfect for summer. Treatment-wise there’s nothing better than spending a day at The Corinthia and having a massage. I also see Fatma Shaheen from Skin Design London for facials. The 111Skin sheet masks are a lifesaver in between appointments.

Can you tell us more about your approach to interiors?

I always start with a statement piece and build ideas around that. I love The Rug Company – it’s a great place to start and will give you ideas of colours and layers. It’s also important to me to mix vintage and new – eBay is a great place to find quality furniture that you can then upholster and make it more your style. Nanna Ditzel is one of my favourite designers, and we have a couple of her chairs. You can’t go wrong with a vintage Art Deco sideboard, but I’m desperate to add an Yves Klein table to my home too. The key is to look at multiple sources of inspiration and start from the ground up. Look at what you’re drawn to in terms of furniture and artwork. It might not be that you think all these pieces will match at first, but I often find a way to make it work. I’m not shy about colour (mainly because I stick to white walls) – and you shouldn’t be either.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

When everyone else is turning left, go right. It’s not always necessary to do what people expect or what people want you to do – following your gut tends to be a better idea and lead to better choices.

And, finally, do you have a life motto you live by?

To stay curious. It’s the fountain of youth. I want to understand what people have to say, their stories and where all of these creative impulses come from. It’s so important to look around (not at your phone) and see what’s happening the world here and now. I never want to lose any of that beautiful, intense interaction with life.


Follow @CandiceLake on Instagram.

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