The Fashionable Lebanese will discover a new brand at the heart of Beirut in April 2018. COS was launched in London in March 2007, offering collections for women, men and children, pieces are elegant and timeless, incorporating reinvented classics and modern silhouettes. Let’s discover more about the brand with their creative director Karin Gustafsson.
Your brand is relatively young and inspired by architectural patterns, is your minimalistic approach drawn from architecture? We draw a lot of inspiration from architecture which can often be seen throughout our collections, either from the colour palette or the way pieces are draped and crafted into clean lines and structures. We are also inspired by the worlds of art and design,from the visual output and the working methods to the creative approaches of the various inspirations we find.
Your collections draw inspiration for various photographers, artists, architects globally. What was the inspired you derived from the late Zaha Hadid in your last SS18 collection?We take two directions for each season and this remains the same for the SS18 collection. The first direction being ‘Paper base’ and the second, which takes inspiration from the late ZahaHadid amongst others, we call ‘Time Traveller’ which has a futuristic tone yet reaches back to old work methods. This collection inspires us to think outside the box – garments are conceptual, understated and minimal with evolved proportions, clever details and solutions. Our colour palette of neutrals, mist greens and navy, petrol and powdered blue, stone, cream, grey mélange and optic white were also influenced by several artists and architects we are inspired by.
Can we say that your clothes are mostly functional, to be worn at work or during the day? We aim for four elements in our collections; modernity, tactility, functionality and timelessness. In terms of the design, I would say the feeling of timelessness is something we are known for and I feel strongly about because it allows our customers to have pieces in their wardrobes that can not only last for many seasons but can be mixed with anything. We aim to create pieces which can we worn for many functions across a day. Small changes such as adding a piece of jewellery or wearing heels and adding a clutch bag can re-invent a look, meaning a simple shirt and trouser style can be worn from day to night.
Do you target a certain group of age through your designs? and Who is the COS man and woman? We think our customers are not defined demographically by age or location but by mind-set and through their cultural attitudes. We believe that they are interested and inspired by the same things as we are, so hopefully they connect with the collections and appreciate the quality fabrics, store design, art collaborations and functional designs.
COS is a very minimalistic brand; how do you feel this aesthetic will be received in the M.E and specifically with the Lebanese woman? We did not set out to create COS as a minimalist brand but since the beginning, have considered every aspect of the garment to ensure that each design element has a purpose. The minimal look has naturally become a strong part of our aesthetic. We are lucky that we haven’t had the need to adapt our collections to suit different markets and are delighted that our collections continue to be well received in the Middle East; we hope our success will continue in Lebanon!
Do you consider COS a trendy brand or a timeless label? Is it Luxury or accessible? We have been told in the past that customers see us sitting between Luxury brands and the high street. We set out to offer high end design and quality at an accessible price. We put a great deal of time and effort into researching our best production options and we review garments’ fit, style and fabrics numerous times in order to get the best result possible for the customer. We also find inspiration in the world around us as I’ve mentioned and byusing these influences, we endeavor to design garments that are timeless; pieces that can be worn season after season, rather than dictated by trends.
What is special about your white shirts? The white shirt is such a versatile piece! At COS, we aim to make every item feel special and therefore concentrate on the quality of fabrics we use as well as textures and interesting silhouettes. Our minimal aesthetic never stops us from experimenting with design. I don’t think our customers will ever tire of the perfect white crisp shirt or t-shirt but we always tweak and revisit them to explore and challenge the pared down aesthetic of the brand.
Art is at the Core of COS as a brand and we have seen the brand do amazing instillations in Studio Swine – Salone Di Mobile in Italy. Do you see the brand collaborating with any Middle eastern artist for an upcoming Art instillation? Thank you, we are very excited to be attending our 7th year at Salone del Mobile this year! (April) This year we are presenting a large-scale sculptural installation by American artist Phillip K. Smith III (PKS3), known for his light-based works that blend into their surroundings. The installation is inspired by Italian renaissance architecture, the Milanese sky and the understated simplicity of the COS design aestheticand is designed to offer each visitor a unique experience that changes depending on time and location. As a brand, we are constantly looking for new projects and inspirations and so, watch this space…