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COS New York

Finally confronting the bitter cold of the last few weeks, I decided to go and experience first hand the newly open COS, the first East Coast store for the Swedish minimalist fashion brand. Being the more posh sister of the more universal H&M, New York’s fashion aficionados have been waiting in anticipation for this opening for a very long time. Located in the fashion fairyland of New York’s Soho, from the exterior the store looks quite unassuming, nestled in a small charming old building, but inside the space seems to expand.

This effect is created by the almost severe choice for its décor; mostly white walls with very linear and functional clothes racks that make the space seem larger and more open.

Naturally all this simplicity is a perfect complement to the minimalist style of wear that made COS famous and appealing. The first two floors are dedicated to women’s collections, while the basement with its mysterious history is devoted to men’s wear. 

I found a very welcome spring collection that, for a brief moment, makes us all forget the weather outside. Available are boxy cotton and jersey sport jackets in blue indigo and black-charcoal hues, vaguely reminiscent of stylish Chinese worker uniforms. Suits and blazers speak with the same essential tones, as well; very tailored hip-length jackets topping skinny trousers, both articles in light soft wools, twills, and cottons. And one of their wool waistcoats can be the perfect accessory underneath a suit, although with their crew necks, one could be mistaken for the character, Sidney Chambers, in the TV series, “Grantchester.”

The use of colours is not a strong component of COS’s mostly grey and blue offerings; only a few tops are offered in red and bright green. It’s up to the client to make these garments a little more “joyful,” perhaps using colorful accents like socks, square pockets, or light scarves you might already have in your closet. 

But now let me explain the mysteriousness of COS’s basement: in 1779 Gulielma Elmore Sands ran away from her Greenwich Street boarding house with her beau Levi Weeks. Her body was found a few days later at the bottom of a well in Lispenard's Meadow. That old well is now an integral part of the COS men’s department in the basement. There are voices that say the ghost of poor Gulielma still inhabits the site that saw her murderous departure. And who knows? Perhaps, if you’re lucky, while shopping the men’s designs you might be able to ask Gulielma for a few fashion tips. 

*Illustration also be Stefano Imbert.

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