Cos is a godsend if you’re bored by other high-street fashion
The Swedish brand, whose Bauhaus collection has just arrived, specialises in elegant restraint
Cos play: the Irish store, in Dublin, is one of only 25 of 197 internationally to get the Bauhaus capsule collection
For Marla Bunker, who shops at the Scandi brand Cos in Dublin, London and Liverpool, it’s a clothes store to suit everyone. “Whether you are tall or short, they will always have something that suits – and often have something similar each season but in a different colour.”
For Cos devotees the key strengths are quality and price. The first thing Bunker bought there was a black wool coat. “My latest three items were for my daughter’s maternitywear and a black top for me. I have a pair of trousers bought three years ago, and they still look sharp. I can mix and match something from Cos with a designer piece or something from Dunnes Stores and look great,” the Dubliner says.
Cos – which style-trivia buffs will know stands for Collection of Style – is owned by H&M. A sponsor of many international design projects, it is known for its strong aesthetic, which takes its cue from art and architecture. That accounts for the sculptural silhouettes, subtle colours, reinvented classics – such as the white shirt – and accessible prices, which have been a godsend for stylish women bored by other high-street offerings.
Cos has its own appeal for men, too. Conor Merriman is a young graphic designer and illustrator who appreciates its knitwear and muted tones all year round. “I particularly like the high necks, because I am quite small. My latest is a sweater in pine green.”
A fan for the past seven years, he saved up as a college student for his first buy, a black top with a hood for €45 – “and I wore it religiously in college.” His latest was a black turtleneck sweater. “I struggle to throw anything out from Cos. All their pieces are so wearable and wash so well, and if I do donate a piece I feel as if part of me has gone. They are such beautiful clothes,” he says.
It will be the most fashion-forward of Irish men who will attempt the grey apron that features in the new collection, but more power to them if they do.
Vivienne Brophy, a retired professor of architecture at University College Dublin, is another enthusiast. “Right from the beginning I saw it as my style,” she says. “As an architect I like things that are structured and sculptural, and I don’t wear bright colour nor shiny, glittery things. I would buy 80 per cent of my clothes in Cos, and as a person who mostly wears black and white, or a bit of grey or muted blue, that’s it for me every season.
“I wear it to work, to dinner, to a wedding, so I have found that for any occasion I have something stylish that suits me. It could be a €59 dress and one piece of silver jewellery and that’s it – you’re done. I feel it is an extension of me, reflects my profession and my interest in design and my personality. It is part of me now,” she says.
Cos’s latest capsule collection – Ireland is one of only 25 stores out of 197 internationally to receive it – celebrates 100 years of Bauhaus. It comprises six womenswear items, one accessory and six menswear pieces. Minimally designed throughout, it highlights tailoring, with folding, draping and darting techniques creating form and body. The monochrome palette reflects the Bauhaus school’s building itself – textured greys and crisp whites.
The collection, which is on sale at Cos on Wicklow Street in Dublin, coincides with Bauhaus 100: The Print Portfolios, which runs at the National Gallery of Ireland until December 1st.