Cult label Colovos goes all-in with denim.
Many people have a sentimental attachment to their favourite pair of jeans, but for husband-andwife designer duo Nicole and Michael Colovos, denim equals obsession.the couple’s relationship with the sturdy textile spans 16 years: from the launch of their first label, Habitual, which fed the designer denim boom in 2002, to Helmut Lang, where they were co-creative directors for eight years, elevating the functional fabric to high fashion. In 2016, they launched their brand Colovos, which will have an entirely denim ready-to-wear range come mid-november. “Denim crosses so many different cultures and occasions,” Nicole says. “The way people are living their lives now is a lot more casual than in the past, so it’s more relevant than ever. we’ve always had denim in our collections, but we recently had so many requests that we wanted to experiment and see what an entire collection looks like. ”what it looks like is this: raw-edged trench coats, drop-shouldered blazers, button-front wrap skirts and high-waisted panelled trousers in a palette ranging from ivory and olive to brick red and indigo. Cigarette trousers, shirt-dresses and button-downs round out the Colovos brand of versatile, understated luxury that can take a working mother — Nicole and Michael have three children — from meetings and school runs to drinks and dinner, in a minimal yet distinctive aesthetic. “the vision for Colovos was this idea of elevated essential pieces,” Nicole explains. “we wanted to make fewer pieces of clothing and smaller collections that were more meaningful and wearable over time.” This sentiment is borne of nearly two decades in an industry that works at an exhausting pace and is damaging to the environment.the denim used in the new Colovos range is made in a small mill in Japan, washed in recycled filtered water and then treated with nontoxic chemicals. this way of sourcing and processing materials is part of the brand’s journey towards fully sustainable denim, and these pieces are designed to last beyond a season — or even 15.“Denim is a renewable resource and I love how it adapts to your body in certain ways over time,” Michael says. “it’s not disposable fashion — it just becomes better with age.” Nicole, who was the senior market editor for US Harper’s BAZAAR when she met Spanish-born Michael in Newyork in 2001, says working together from the family’s tribeca home, where the Colovos studio is located, means the couple can play off each other’s reactions to pieces. “We are both drawn to similar ideas and silhouettes, but as a man and a woman, we come to it from a different point of view,” Nicole says. Michael agrees: “a lot of times I can see Nicole putting something on in her mind, and if it doesn’t serve a purpose or if she already has it or it feels irrelevant, there is really no point in making it. That really helps me distil a design down to its essence.” The fashion world is finally coming around to the couple’s casual cool way of thinking. “the customer has been shifting from stuffy, high-end dressing to being more comfortable with being casual,” Michael says. “but that doesn’t mean sloppy — you can still be elegant and find designs that are an expression of who you are. That appeals to our design sensibility because we’ve always made clothing that’s meant to be worn every day. I feel like we’re in our comfort zone.” colovos.com.
Looks from Colovos’s new line. Top: Nicole and Michael Colovos.