Tastemaker: Meet Colleen Kennedy Cohen, Event Planner Extraordinaire
Colleen Kennedy Cohen, a veteran in the event industry is where fashion meets event styling. Starting her career at Vogue she quickly moved to planning in-house events for labels such as Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and Goop just to name a few. Her exquisite taste and trained eye is why Gywenth Paltrow chose Colleen to style and plan her wedding. Now based in London, Colleen works with private clients and brands to design and create one-of-a kind memorable events. We were able to chat with Colleen about her incredible career along with some ideas and fun looks for planning a soiree of your own. Hope you enjoy our chat with this Tastemaker and find lots of great images to pin. Bisous xx
What inspires you to do what you do? Where does your inspiration come from? I love to design and create and get so much satisfaction seeing my vision come to life. I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings whether it be nature, art, architecture, interiors, travel or the work of other creatives.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you made the jump from working in fashion to focusing on event planning? During my early career in fashion, I had the opportunity to wear a lot of hats, from PR and Marketing to Advertising and Events, which allowed me to identify my interests. From there I began to seek out roles on in-house events teams at companies that I admired, which led me to Valentino, Cartier and later to start the events team at goop. Thankfully each role prepared me in a different way to run my own business.
Something about you that would surprise people? I love a good party, but I’m a homebody at heart.
You are a certified holistic health and wellness coach. How does this help you in your everyday life and work? I was certified as a holistic health and wellness coach at a time when I was completely burnt out and in search of a lifestyle change. Today, I apply what I learned into my day-to-day life, from the food that I eat to how I approach fitness and my spiritual practice.
Being sustainable is very important to you. How does that translate into your events? I believe we’re all responsible for taking steps, big or small, to better our planet. In events, we’re constantly faced with decisions around sustainability; from how to dispose of florals to menu planning and vendor selection. I’ve made sustainability a focus for my business and strive to educate my clients to make eco-friendly decisions.
What are some of your favorite looks or overall themes for events you have been able to design and bring to life? I loved the events I designed and planned for goop. I was given so much creative freedom in my role, I had an amazing team and I feel my aesthetic really aligned well with the brand and its partners.
What are your top three tips you would share with someone planning a wedding or special event? Prioritize what’s important to you, don’t skimp on photography and enjoy the process.
You have worked for some amazing brands including Valentino, YSL, and Goop. Can you share the most memorable event you planned? I think the most memorable event I’ve planned was the 100th Anniversary event for La Panthere de Cartier in New York. It was an intimate dinner followed by a huge party and we were able to really push the creative boundaries – we had food served from cages, servers in masquerade masks, an A-list guest list, amazing cocktails, beautiful jewelry and timepieces on display.
What was the most memorable event you attended? What made it memorable? A friend’s wedding in Provence. It was an intimate celebration at a private home with amazing food, beautiful French wines and endless Ruinart Champagne. The party lasted into the wee hours of the morning with everyone dancing barefoot in the grass.
Who are 5 dream guests you would love to have at your dinner table and why?
- Oprah – The storyteller
- Zelda Fitzgerald – The party girl
- Will Ferrell – The comedian
- Mick Jagger – The Rockstar
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – The timeless beauty
A quote we live by at MDLM is “fellowship is life” by the early 20th century textile designer William Morris. What does that mean to you? “Fellowship is life” to me means that fulfillment lies in relationships with others and an enduring curiosity to learn from one another.
What are your favorite items in the Madame de la Maison shop right now to rent or buy for a table or event?
Check out Colleen's table design for an outdoor Summer soirée or wedding below.
And be sure to follow her on Instagram @colleenkennedycohen.
photos courtesy of Colleen Kennedy Cohen.