Leandra Medine Cohen joins forces with Closed for a Denim collection
Sometimes less is really more. Grain aisle Writer Leandra Medine Cohen has distilled her pandemic wardrobe into a tightly edited capsule collection for denim brand Closed that includes six pieces – a jacket, khaki pants, jeans, denim shirt, cardigan and balaclava. – meant to be worn interchangeably to create a multitude of work-from-home looks. Crafted from double-sided wool, recycled cashmere, and organic cotton, with glass beads, mother-of-pearl buttons, and black velvet embellishments, these are perfect, not-so-basic basics. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Win NYC, a nonprofit organization providing a family shelter and supportive housing. In front, Medine Cohen talks with BAZAAR.com on the process of working with the brand and inspiration based in Germany.
How did this capsule collection for Closed come about?
There were two pairs of Closed jeans that I had basically lived in for a year and a half: a medium-washed high-waisted flare leg and a straight leg that reaches about 2 inches above the ankle. I reached out to the brand on Instagram to express how much I really liked jeans, then they reached out and asked if I would be interested in continuing a collaboration.
How did your design process go?
Closed provided a framework, which was incredibly helpful: we want two pants, a shirt, a sweater, a jacket, and a joker. I thought about what I wanted myself, which at the time was really a uniform, a capsule of Closed clothes that I could wear all winter. I wanted to embody the holiday party a bit and also the pragmatism demanded of casual wear, so we looked at different Fair Isles and sequins. And eventually I ended up with what I think was a pretty succinct capsule. Basically, we created a version of my own pandemic wardrobe.
How has your style changed during this time?
You know, I don’t really think my style has changed that much, but I think I’ve become a lot more direct and focused on what I actually want to wear. Jeans were a central part of it. The other pieces were a denim button-down shirt, a collarless jacket and a plain cotton turtleneck. I had a few cardigans, both in Fair Isle. And I was really looking for some nice pants. I found a pair at Closed that inspired and sparked the pair we ended up creating together.
Tell us about your capsule pair: What makes khaki chic?
I wanted to create pants that you would wear in the same context as jeans, but that would look a little more sophisticated. They are high waisted and have a slight flare with a big rolled up lapel and are cut from this very stiff khaki cotton fabric that reminds me a bit of 1950s collegiality and fits really well with a sweater.
How do you upgrade classics like a denim shirt?
I wondered how I could improve my favorite denim shirt a bit. I put it on and thought to myself, I wish it was a little darker, a little heavier, and had some kind of weird function – that’s what inspired the knobs of mother of pearl. I also wish the sleeve had been shortened slightly so that if I was wearing a bracelet you could see it, even though I hadn’t rolled up the sleeve. I find there is a very nice contrast between a traditionally masculine figure and a traditionally feminine characteristic.
What makes a great winter cardigan?
Same thing: vaguely shortened sleeves. It should be long enough to be worn with a pair of mid-rise jeans, but still short enough that if you want to wear it over or potentially, like, half tucked in the front, it doesn’t look too bulky. .
The balaclava bib is certainly the most original piece of the collection, where does it come from?
Wearing a balaclava over my head this past winter was a way for me to inject quite a unique personality into whatever I wore, which was often a gigantic black coat and blue sweatpants, if and when I wore it. was going out. I thought it would be really fun to make a balaclava that was also a bib. We made it in the same color as the cardigan, so you can wear the two together as a sort of matching piece.
You cut the jacket a little square. Is it to work with all the overlays you have here?
Yes. It’s long enough to keep you warm if you wear it in mid January. But it’s not full length, which in my opinion is a better option if you’re wearing jeans tucked into a pair of boots, for example. It has this cocoon shape on the sleeves with a velvet accent and silver buttons.
How did you decide to support Win NYC?
When I was running Man Repeller, we were pretty involved with Win NYC, which is a hosting program. I really believe in the work they do. One of my personal commitments over the past year was that I was going to adopt an old Jewish tradition that says 10 percent of its income should be donated to charity. As part of this collaboration, I invited Closed to join me. So I’m going to give my share, and they’ll give a share and clothes. I am just very happy to continue supporting the work of the shelter. It is a very important cause that helps homeless women with children to get back on their feet.
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