Ka­rin Gus­taf­sson:

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Prestige (Lebanon) - - Contents -

COS, a new brand was im­ple­men­ted at the heart of Bei­rut in April 2018. Laun­ched in Lon­don in March 2007, COS offers col­lec­tions for wo­men, men and chil­dren, ele­gant and ti­me­less pieces, 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 from va­rious pho­to­gra­phers, ar­tists, ar­chi­tects glo­bal­ly. What was the ins­pi­ra­rion 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 Za­ha Ha­did 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 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?

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 Middle East and by 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?

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 by using 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.

We were ve­ry ex­ci­ted to at­tend our 7th year at Sa­lone del Mo­bile this year! ( April). We pre­sen­ted 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 was ins­pi­red by Ita­lian Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tec­ture, the Mi­la­nese sky and the un­ders­ta­ted sim­pli­ci­ty of the COS de­si­gn aes­the­tic and was 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...

Con­duc­ted by R. S.

Ka­rin Gus­taf­sson, COS crea­tive di­rec­tor.

COS men and wo­men clothes.

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