COS – 21st Century Modernist Scandinavian Minimalist Kool! Meets Yohji Yamamoto!
Art Meets Architecture & Graphic Design!
And! Get Ready USA! The first COS flagship store will open in NYC this spring!
First let’s get my final word on London Fashion Week out of the way! As is usual these days with such events, it ‘passed without trace’! Loud flashy and mediocre in the extreme, it thrilled only the credulous and dim! Disappointing for me were the Korean designers, whom I had very much looked forward to seeing, as on a recent trip to Korea, I had seen some wonderful examples of extremely original Korean design! Sadly none of these were on show in London, and all the Korean designers on show during LFW, were a sad flashy artless ‘Lady Gaga-esque’ mish mash of other peoples ideas from the past! All were products of London based fashion schools! And none had any style or originality of their own!
Having said this, let us now move to something genuinely cool original and interesting! And it’s called Sweden!
All of you who perceive me as some sort of ‘cutting edge style gangster’, always ready to sink my teeth into the bloated buttocks of the fashion industry, and punish it for its mediocrity and unoriginality! And only ‘bigging up’ the ‘cool cutting edge and terminally arty’! May find it somewhat incongruous, to now find me this month lavishing praise on what is effectively a ‘high street multiple’! COS though is like no multiple you have ever seen! Being both effortlessly cool and wonderfully arty! The COS brands excellent good taste incredibly affordable good quality and superb sense of style, puts the COS way ahead of the game! And certainly leaves 99% of ‘A List’ designer brands looking extremely tacky vulgar and overpriced by comparison!
A cool edgy quirky minimalist alchemy that very cleverly mixes Scandinavian minimalist Kool! With an artful dash of Yohji Yamamto, a touch of ‘vintage’ Prada (before it lost the plot!) and a dash of ‘vintage’ Hemut Lang (before he also lost it!).
Sweden is considered to be perhaps the most civilised and best educated country in the world! With the highest standard of living and certainly the best quality of life!
The Swedish/Scandinavian design aesthetic is famous throughout the world for its technical simplicity and pure ultra kool perfect functional minimal aesthetic and mastery of style.
In Sweden they don’t waste time on meaningless retro or pointless over decoration! This is considered cheap vulgar and unintelligent! The classic Bauhaus ethic of Walter Gropius, the brilliant, visionary and even today hugely influential pre war German designer’s ‘Form Follows Function’! Is something that has not been forgotten in the brilliance and purity of Scandinavian design! Indeed, in Sweden and Denmark, it could almost be said that they are ‘genetically incapable’ of bad taste! (Unless they have been drinking that is! When the ‘Inner Viking’ will often manifest itself!).
Sweden, indeed he whole of Scandinavia has, like everywhere else, a ‘dark side’! There are in the winter very long dark nights with little daylight! This often leads to a (sometimes delicious) brooding melancholy! But also to a certain thoughtfulness, which can and indeed does lead to the creation of excellence in design!
Not only with extremely cool stylish wearable affordable and extremely functional fashion! But also with brilliant innovative and globally successful music production! And now with the most incredible brilliant and addictive ‘Scandi-Noir Crime Series’ for TV! Such as the brilliant Wallender, and way out ahead of the rest the incredible ‘Bridge’! Sweden/Denmark, are showing the rest of the world how it’s done when it comes to addictively hypnotic drama! The Bridge though has been a global cult phenomenon! Dark brooding and in every sense addictive! It features a Swedish Policewoman called ‘Saga’, who is now a global cult figure, and has pushed the sales of leather pants by 100%!
COS clothing is a reflection of the entire alchemy and philosophy that make up the cool minimalist brilliance of Swedish/Scandinavian fashion design! Imagine the best of Scandinavian pure minimalist kool, meets Yohji Yamamotos, Japanese Ultra Cool ‘Zen Styling’! And you have the flavour and essential alchemy of COS!
Seriously 21st Century Modernist, with no negative retro influences! COS is the ultimate destination for the more intelligent sophisticated Women (of any age) with taste, who want that cool intelligent very continental European minimalist styling! Cos is thankfully absolutely not ‘rock n roll’! It is not flashy trashy or vulgar, and is an indicator of what the modern stylish intelligent Woman really wants to wear! Rather than the often rather nasty over decorated ‘trash and flash’ that most brands and designers keep throwing into the fashion circus!
What makes COS even more interesting, is that in many respects, it is not ‘fashion’! It’s far to cool for that! And totally transcends the tacky dis-information that is the world of fashion and trends, by being as far a style and design is concerned, pretty much perfect, and ridiculously affordable!
Equally fascinating, is that COS is not a high-end ultra pricey designer brand! Indeed it does not see itself as ‘a brand’ as such! (Again, far to cool for that!) It is in fact, part of the H&M group, but has no resemblance to H&M whatsoever! Equally remarkable is that COS is in a sense a ‘chain store’, with branches in all the key major cities of Europe, from London to Berlin!
However the COS cool tasteful minimalist design architecture, make it totally unlike any chain store you have ever seen!
The big news for the USA, is that the first American flagship store, will be opening in New York City, this spring! And the Cool Stylish Europhobic New Yorkers, are certain to go wild for it! Again this will certainly be enhanced by the irresistible affordability of the brilliant and 100% must have Women’s range! So get ready USA! Scandinavian Euro Kool is coming! And you’re gonna love it!
COS opened their first UK store about five years ago! And it was an instant hit! Certainly with my girlfriend who would (and indeed still does!) descend on our nearby COS branch on Kensington High Street and come home heavily laden with new purchases! (Even the bags are cool by the way!)
The only slight criticism I can find to make, is of the slightly ‘normal’ lacklustre quality of the COS Menswear Range! It really is rather disappointing, certainly in comparison to the excellence of the Womenswear!
It’s all very ‘nice’ tasteful, cool, stylish, minimal, and well made! But for me far to ‘normal lad’! And lacks that certain cool edgy quirkiness of the Woman’s collection! What should happen is, that many of the Women’s garments (tops/knits etc) should also be produced in XXXL men’s sizes! There is in fact a huge demand for this amongst ‘boys’, (something the COS head of design seem entirely unaware off!) who seeing the extremely cool stuff their wives, and girlfriends are buying from COS, desperately try to force themselves into the larger, but still not large enough girls tops!
My criticism of ‘COS Boys’ though is perhaps a criticism of menswear in general! (Other than Ian Batten, Yohji Yamamoto (but not the dreadful Y3) and the odd couple of Belgium’s!) And compared to most other Men Collections, COS Boys Trans-Europa Kool’! Is way out ahead, and again exceptionally well made and affordable!
One extra tip! When floating off to your COS store to max out your credit card (which you will undoubtedly do!) Always buy two sizes larger then you normally take! COS looks extremely cool when work a little loose and floppy! And tight and fitted is sooo over now anyway! Just like high heels! (Unless they are the Trippen Japanese style wedge blocks!)
So wave goodbye to over decoration! And get ready for Scandinavian Minimalist Kool! The return of good taste and style! And importantly a clothing brand that is living in the 21st Century and empowers, rather than objectifies Women!
Chris Garland London April 2014