Earlier this week, Leandra Medine, the fierce entrepreneur behind Man Repeller, took to the streets of NoLIta to announce her arrival to the neighborhood and turn a few unsuspecting neighbors into new friends. In her latest hilarious on-camera appearance, she also announced the location of the new Man Repeller headquarters, the space where her growing team of 15 is busy taking over the fashion world, one smartly articulated but comical story at a time.
Man Repeller is no longer just the fashion blog it once was. Over the years, Medine transformed the brand into a leading destination for millennial women everywhere, with topics ranging from drinking collagen to the war between print and digital media. Naturally a dynamic team of young witty and sartorially inclined writers and editors would need a fashion-forward office to match—a cross between a startup office and a cabana in Formentera. Medine did, after all, bring back trends like ruffled pants and bikini tops as shirts.
To help with the décor of such a wanderlust-worthy space, Medine called on the help of Elisa Shankle, interior designer at Homepolish, and partnered with AllModern to transform a bleak downtown space into a coastal Italian hideaway–meets–office space. We chatted with the two women about the space—take the tour, and inspire your own escapist office.
Just like Medine's colorful outfits, Man Repeller HQ is bright and full of personality. "The décor is a bit eccentric and definitely chock-full of character, but it is still quite minimalistic and elegant," she says of the space that fearlessly mixes shades of Tiffany turquoise and Hermès orange.
"The color scheme really developed organically by wanting to create a cool retro feel in the space," says her designer Shankle. "Leandra is a big fan of Gray Malin, and it just so happened that the style I was going for fit hand in hand with his famous beach prints. With the warm orange accents and blond wood, it definitely adds to the beach vibes in the space." And just like that, going to work for Man Repeller employees feels a little closer to heading to the beach in Cinque Terre.
In the conference room, Shankle chose a bold floral credenza to anchor the space and inspire the rest of the décor. "I absolutely love AllModern’s floral sideboard in the conference room," she says. "Not only is it a print, but the façade of the piece is fabric, so it adds another great textural component."
"Because there are no dividing walls in the space, it was important to create separation between the private office and conference room," says Shankle. The designer installed soundproof glass walls to create privacy and separation while still letting natural light move through the space.
"I wanted to keep this office fairly homey looking, so that it felt like a second home," adds Medine. "I wanted a comfortable place to write, take calls, and get down to business, but also just kind of hang out." For this space, Medine chose another Italian locale shot by Gray Malin: Capri.
"The most challenging part was incorporating the existing furniture in with new pieces seamlessly," says Shankle of the pieces, like the Blu Dot wire table and copper chairs that were brought in from Man Repeller's old office. "Certain pieces had very different styles, so it was important to redefine what Leandra already had and elevate them with new pieces."
"When approaching the raw space, we wanted to make sure we addressed the initial concerns," says Shankle. The main concern was the lack of natural light in the back room. "Lighting was very dim in the space, so we had to install more track lighting to brighten up the space," she says.
"We kept the space fairly minimalistic and installed tons of lights because the back room is a bit dark," adds Medine. "We made sure the walls that separated our private office and conference rooms were made from clear glass."
Medine's favorite aspect about the new space? "It has a kitchen!" she exclaims. "Also, my office is just five blocks from my apartment building, so I walk! Sometimes I take the long route (that is, walk completely out of my way) so I can fit in a 30-minute podcast."
We hope that the bright coastal Italian vibes of her new office and her leisurely walks through NoLIta will inspire many more colorful outfits for Medine—we're already dying to see what she will wear this fashion week.