5 October, 2015: The balance between calm and drama, and contrast between cloth that’s either draped or energised with functionality, is at the heart of COS for Autumn / Winter 2015. Japan is a key influence, from the draped layering of the kimono to the dramatic minimalism of the Mono-ha art movement. Technical details and glacial shades from the photography of Olaf Otto Becker, bring the outdoor life to a collection that plays with proportion, and the way clothing sits on the body.
For women, a floor-length textured wool coat echoes the serenity of Marina Abramovic, held by a long belt that sits like an obi. A bonded wool top has a voluminous circle back held by simple fold, while a blush wool skirt is folded as if like origami. These are pieces enhanced by layering with essentials such as a brushed cashmere lengthened jumper with a loose polo neck, or a collarless shirt with exaggerated cuffs.
Gathers from technical drawstrings are taken from functional outdoor kit, creating a waist on the side of a draped grey wool flannel asymmetric dress. The padding of a sleeping bag is reflected in an ice blue quilted down coat, while a voluminous padded top in white cotton poplin comes with random quilting. Nature itself inspires the fringing that sits like terrain on a forest green sweater, or the grey and white brushed wool of a pencil skirt that is like the bark of the birch.
Scale is important, whether it is the length of a utilitarian apron dress in steel blue, or the cloud-like scale of a voluminous parachute dress in navy nylon with a drawstring hem. Trousers and skirts add to the proportions, from wide grey wool flannel cropped culottes, to the added drape of black bonded jersey trousers with a layered half-skirt. Serenity and drama come together when a floor-length sleeveless jersey funnelneck dress matched with the drape of a camel wool polo neck scarf top.
For men, details are reduced to their essentials, as in the resin sculptures of Peter Alexander. A grey wool blazer is collarless, and is held only by a clip fastening. It is worn with a felted wool apron for new masculine proportions. Meanwhile the details of a midnight blue hooded duffel are reduced to create a minimalist piece of outerwear, with a removable padded inner technical jacket. Padding itself is the key detail of a white cotton poplin padded top.
Japanese-inspired cloths are used for single-breasted blazers, worn with kimono V-neck jumpers and T-shirts. The suit is evolved, creating matching sets such as a midnight blue top in a Japanese inspired jacquard worn with matching trousers, or a speckled grey funnel neck top made from tailoring wool, worn with double-pleat wide trousers from the same cloth. The outdoor life is referenced in a brushed wool boxy jumper with strips at the waist like a favourite blanket.
Accessories for women include a black leather Chelsea boot with a squared sole inspired by old ski boots, and a felted wool heeled sandal also with a squared sole. A mineral grey felted wool backpack has metal bar fastening, while leather is bonded onto grey felted wool to create necklaces, earrings and flat bracelets. For men, there is a winter sandal in grey felted wool, as well as black leather Derby lace-ups. A drawstring gym bag is rendered in leather, while black leather gloves have panels of textured wool, and a felted grey belt is back in black leather.
Other inspirations for the collection include: Tara Donovan; Oscar Niemeyer; Koji Enokura; Susumu Koshimizu, and Oyvind Tangen’s photograph of the multi-coloured iceberg.