Sunday, 21 August 2011

COS AW11

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The role of the high street in my everyday wardrobe has been in steady decline in recent years. Aside from the regular splurge on basics in Uniqlo, I have often found myself frustrated by the lack of options in stores that used to offer so much. Now, hopeful shopping jaunts to central leave me feeling somewhat alienated and past my prime. The harder I try to unearth a bargain in these fluorescent light filled spaces the more I question and bemoan what the high street has become. Surely it should offer more than just  throwaway staples? There has been one glimmer of light with the introduction of COS. Unlike many of its competitors, it has never felt the need to fill out a tick sheet of trends with the unveiling of each season. Since it opened its door on Regent Street back in 2007 the store has strived to fill the void between the high street and high end design. However, I would say that it has been far more successful with its womenswear design. Over the course of the last few seasons I have questioned the design balance between its two offerings but AW11 is a season of welcome parity.

Taking inspiration from geometrics and architecture, the AW11 collection offers a clean and understated look that is so typical of COS. However, the signature style has evolved through a fascination of vintage ski and sportswear. With appreciative nods to Simons and Zuchelli, highlight pieces incorporate bonded foamy fabrics and neoprene to stunning effect whilst the autumnal friendly hues that hum throughout leave me reaching for my wallet. The aforementioned glimmer of hope just got brighter...

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Look book images courtesy of COS.

As the collection begins to trickle on to the shop floor, we sat with COS' Head of Menswear design, Martin Anderson to learn more about the inspiration behind it and his thoughts on the stores position within the market...

SS: What was the starting point for AW11?
Martin Andersson: We began by studying the architecture and interior design of pre-fabricated Swiss ski chalets which led us to vintage ski and sportswear. These influences can be seen throughout the collection, from our trousers which are reminiscent of ski pants, knitwear featuring turtlenecks and padded detailing and quilted soft leather gloves.

The sporty influence is balanced with a modern and minimal preppy edge. For this we looked at vintage Ivy League garments and updated these with modern fabrics and colours. This inspiration is most evident through our range of college sweaters that have been re-created in super modern boiled wools and Milano ribs.

SS: What drew you to the work of Alice Neel and how did it influence the designs?
Martin Andersson: We were drawn to the paintings of the twentieth century artist Alice Neel when looking at the concept of modern preppy dressing as she captures American mid-century dressing beautifully throughout her work. We were also inspired by her use of colour featuring sober shades of aubergine, chalk, charcoal and navy throughout our autumn winter collection.

SS: The fabrics this season are particularly interesting with a mix of tech and sportswear which are used to create pieces that feel both modern and retro. Could you talk us through some of the key fabrications?
Martin Andersson: We feature a lot of bonded foamy fabrics which have technical and sporty qualities. Neoprene is used for various garments, as are futuristic fleeces, unwashed rigid denim and compact poplins for clean, minimal shirts.

SS: What are you most looking forward to integrating in to your own AW wardrobe?
Martin Andersson: A neoprene coat we have in bright orange; it is a classic and preppy car coat shape that has been updated with the choice of fabric and colour. I also love the tailored coat and suit we have designed in grey melange wool; it is a sculptural and modern take on the traditional cloth which feels very luxurious.

SS: How would you describe COS' position on the high street? What are your hopes for the future?
Martin Andersson: We have been told in the past that we have filled a gap between the high street and high end design. Fortunately we have received an extremely positive reaction from customers to date and hope to continue this in the future.

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To mark the launch of the collection, COS have commissioned the London based filmmaker and photographer Tyrone Lebone to produce a film of their men’s and women’s wear autumn winter 2011 look book. The film evokes a sense of the COS aesthetic for this season by representing the concept of the new modern woman and man. Combining the models strong movements with soft touches it highlights the texture and shape of the garments beautifully. Here's an exclusive look at COS' man for AW11... 

10 comments:

Syed said...

I don't really shop so much at Uniqlo anymore, the quality has gone way downhill since their aggressive marketing and expansion. Basics at Muji are far better for me.

That being said, COS seem to be the only other high street store out there I actually buy from. Dependable and thankfully not overdesigned and fussy like so much seems to be these days on the high street.

Michael said...

Completely agree with Syed that Uniqlo have kind of lost it over the last twelve to eighteen months and are only really good now for their premium cotton and Japan denim basics.

I find what COS are doing very interesting and at the price point cannot fault the quality. Looking forward to checking out that light grey overcoat instore as I have been after one for a while now. I'm sure it is entirely co-incidental that look is awfully similar to one of the AW11 exits at Jil Sander...

Anonymous said...

NEEEED that blue sweater!

Mat said...

really interesting to see some different fabrics coming into cos, it's a shop i love but when it comes to it i've only ever bought two things. mostly because i've never had the money for the things i'd like and two because the lower priced more basics have never really fit me so well. saying that, i love the shopping experience you get in there, makes me want to slow down and enjoy it. esp when i'm with my gf. you don't really get that level of "relaxed-ness" on the high street

Pedro Korshi said...

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Ekta said...

stereotypical men's sartorial make-over was good!
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this collection of post are super and very nice post. all collections are pretty good.i will inform about your post to my friends too..and all the best for your future designs..

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Smith ALan

1972 said...

Really interesting collection. On the surface quite a lot of Sander/Burberry echoes - but when you look at Andersson's own label stuff (seems to be defunct but the website is still operational) it's actually along the lines of work he's been evolving for quite a while . . .

http://www.martinandersson.co.uk/collections.htm

JM

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