LONDON — With its white walls, larchwood floor and minimal steel and wood fittings, the global flagship of COS, the new up-market line from H&M, speaks as subtly as the brand’s debut collection of classic pieces.
The two-story, 4,860-square-foot space on Regent Street, designed by architect William Russell, opened its doors Friday. It carries women’s wear pieces such as chunky cream wool jackets, white cotton smock dresses and gray silk shirts, which hang on plain steel and concrete rails.
There are also dressier pieces, such as an ultra-soft gray leather jacket, silk bell-sleeved dresses, bib-front cotton shirts and, among the muted hues, a few stiff cotton dresses in lime green and tomato red.
“We wanted the collection to look very wearable,” said Rebekka Bay, design director for the women’s wear collection, as customers jostled for space in the light-filled store. “We’ve suggested how to wear [the] garments — a very feminine shirt will hang next to a pair of trousers — it’s very much what works together.”
Bay added she was pleased to see a mix of customers in the store, as shoppers toting shopping bags from Burberry and Selfridges mixed with those who had come from Topshop and H&M. “It looks like we have a good mix — it’s maybe a slightly older customer than H&M. We hope [COS] is seen as a new brand — it’s in-between high fashion and high street.”
Bay declined to provide sales predictions for the store. Prices range from 19 euros, or $25, for a jersey top to 229 euros, or $298, for a leather jacket.
Like a designer store, there are lounge areas for customers, furnished with Scandinavian sofas and a stack of style magazines. A small selection of lifestyle products are also on sale, such as Haakansons cosmetics and skin care, Wallpaper City Guides and CDs by hip French band Nouvelle Vague.
Bay said another nine COS stores would open across Europe this year, with units in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Brussels and The Hague set to open this spring. The company is scouting in larger cities in Europe for a further two stores to open in the fall.
This story first appeared in the March 19, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A spokeswoman for H&M said the company had no plans to open COS stores in the U.S. yet, adding the brand’s focus is currently on Europe. The company also said last week that Karl-Johan Persson, director of business development at H&M and the son of Stefan Persson, chairman of H&M, would oversee the COS chain.