SOEUR x Leandra Medine Cohen – Meet Your Match

Yana McKillop
Brett Warren

One of the most well known New Yorkers, Leandra Medine Cohen, a writer and a stylist who founded the iconic lifestyle platform Man Repeller over ten years ago and recently started a new website Café Leandra and newsletter Cereal Isle, not to mention a mom-of-two, has recently collaborated with French brand Soeur on a small capsule of not-to-miss simple yet chic day-to-night pieces. We sat down with Leandra to speak about her inspiration and styling tricks for the newly launched collaboration.

Yana McKillop: Please tell us how did it all happen and what was the starting point of your creative process in terms of design?
Leandra Cohen: I found the brand Soeur on the discovery page of Instagram sometime last year (Spring 2022) before they were shipping to the U.S. and reached out and asked if they were planning to start shipping over any time soon, and a relationship was built from there. This past winter, the team got in touch and asked if I wanted to do a small capsule for the summer, which of course I was very excited to entertain. The creative process was simple to the extent that I tried to think about what items I wanted to wear most over the summer that I didn’t have, or feel existed yet. The surfer style, low-slung but very lightweight and easy-to-wear shorts were the first thing I set my mind to. 
YM: What caught your attention when you saw the brand and how did you find working with Domitille and Angélique Brion?
LC: I immediately understood the mission of the brand, what they were trying to convey and how that was playing out through the clothes and felt very aligned with the style of life that the clothes embody. 
YM: Were you given complete freedom in the design process or was it a constant collaboration and exchange of ideas with the Soeur team?
LC: Definitely, a constant exchange, which is my preference! They are the experts — I might have creative vision, but I’m not a designer, so having their execution chops on my side made it very pleasurable.
YM: The brand’s DNA is a lot about a kind of restrained elevated sophistication in form of very minimalist garments for every day whereas your style is very eclectic with a sense of humour – where did you find your aesthetics aligned and where were they different?
LC: I think a lot of people see my style as very eclectic with a sense of humour, and this is definitely true — but the items I lean on when getting dressed are actually quite simple, straightforward and well-made. It is the way I pair these items and how I accessorise them that I think explains the eclecticism. 
YM: Soeur is a French brand with a lot of that DNA and you have a lot of that New York energy and urgency in your style – how did you find working within those two backgrounds? Did that inform your design process or were you not restrained by it at all?
LC: It informed the process to the extent that I was constantly tugging between what one might be able to wear while walking through a very hot city or while they are beachside. The great thing about the sets is that you can wear the shirt open with a bikini under and the surf shorts with flip flops, or close the top and tie the shorts up a little higher and pair nice shoes then be in two different scenarios with the same outfit.
YM: Do you find you dress differently when visiting different places? Does the place you go to influence your styling decisions?
LC: I think where I am going often inspires me once I get there, which is why I tend to pack mostly the clothes I know I am going to feel good in, and then I start to play around once I arrive. 
YM: Would you say your style has changed since you became a mother?
LC: It has become more practical.
YM: When children dress themselves if given free rein they often come with very unexpected choices – do the way your girls dress ever inspire you to try something in your own styling?
LC: Definitely, there is such freedom about the way they think about getting dressed — it reinforces my own playfulness.
YM: What are your favourite pieces from the collaboration? How would you style them?
LC: The east-side shorts — great to wear with a bikini, baseball cap and casual sandals. Also love the light yellow set with the scarf styled around my neck like a necklace.