In light of COS' fifth Australian store opening in Perth, Junior Fashion Editor Tara Morris chats to COS Creative Director Karin Gustafsson.
TM: Talk me through the COS philosophy?
KG: Since the launch of COS 10 years ago, our aesthetic and ethos has remained consistent; to offer a high quality collection at comparably affordable prices, incorporating timeless, modern, tactile and functional design. We adhere to our core design principles instead of following the traditional concept of trends and we always look to the world of art, design and architecture for our inspiration.
TM: Who is the COS woman?
KG: We often get asked about who we see as our typical customer and our thoughts have remained the same since we began; we don’t think of our customer as one person, we think more of them as a group, sharing in our mind-set and our interests in art and design. They share a sense of style, confidence and personality and are appreciative of quality and value in each element of their lives.
TM: What brings COS to Perth?
KG: We opened our first store in Melbourne in 2014 and now have stores both there and in Sydney, all of which have been received well by the Australian customers. We are constantly looking for new locations, in Perth this has taken us a little time but we are excited to launch in Claremont. The Perth style also feels as though it works well for COS as we focus on the idea of creating both timeless and functional pieces.
TM: Why do you think the brand resonates with the Australian consumer?
KG: We find the Australian style is effortless and casual cool and that's very much a style that we embrace. Our garments are more than fashion pieces; they work as part of a lifestyle. We actually produce one collection everywhere and really feel our Australian customers are internationally and culturally aware – appreciating good design and a timeless aesthetic.
TM: Design wise what are you most excited for from the season ahead?
KG: The spring summer 2017 collection focuses on the beauty of raw and imperfect nature. The overall feel is brutal and bold as well as fragile and beautiful. We are excited by the mix of technical and natural materials used alongside new treatments and hammered and washed surfaces.
TM: What are your key pieces for SS17?
KG: A key piece in the SS17 collection is the oversized transparent parachute parka in golden brown. The inspiration comes directly from falling parachutes; we then created the lightweight materials in a colourway inspired by nature to create a feel of romantic utility. Each season we have a number of carefully selected colour palettes, this season we have key colours of pale terracotta, sage green and steel blue. Other key pieces include a navy voluminous bomber jacket and wide-leg trousers in steel blue, which draw inspiration from sportswear and applied to a formalwear context.
TM: What are the key pieces every woman should own?
KG: I am always an advocate of the white shirt! It is such a versatile piece and can be worn from day to evening. We always include a form of the white shirt in our collections. Good trousers are also important to me, it's nice to wear them with a t-shirt, and you can have flats for the day and then heels for the night with a clutch.
TM: Any fashion do-s or don’ts?
KG: Our focus is not necessarily on fashion as such but the way in which garments are created. We believe in creating pieces which feel timeless and work across the seasons. Functionality is very important, as is Modernity, taking those wardrobe staples, reinventing them, and giving them new finishes. I admire design and style that stands the test of time and feels as relevant and modern today as it did when it was created, however long ago that was.
COS AUSTRALIAN STORES
Melbourne, Chadstone Shopping Centre
Melbourne, The Strand
Sydney, Martin Place
Sydney, Westfield Bondi Junction