COS is really cool. They represent a sharp, avant garde aesthetic that, while minimalist, is exciting. They make basics big.
The brand absolutely fetishizes design, too. They aren’t content to just make sparse clothing but they want to make experiences that are sparse, moments in life where you have to embrace nothingness and silence to see everything a little clearer. Their latest accomplishment in this regard had them team up with Brooklyn’s Snarkitecture for the second time to create something at the intersection of fashion fun and subtle design.
The resulting collaboration was a little Downtown Los Angeles pop-up designed by Snarkitecture to frame COS’ wears against themselves. Housed in the lofty Austere space, Snark created an exhibition of mirrors, inverted steel cutouts, and heavy lines to suck you into the middle of the room to a small rack of clothing. You felt like the floors were raked to the center, like you could slip and slide into hanging COS materials. It was a bit of a trip.
There were a few movements, most notably a large white room and a large salmon room. The white room grazed moody metallic to beige cement which was all sucked up inside COS’ winter wears and reflected forever by giant mirrored walls. Two doorways gave you a look into the antithetical next: a pink version of the same room. Touching pastel pink and fleshy pink and white pink, this space used color to make otherwise untouchable clothing more lively—and real. Because it had a color, it felt less like a gallery and more like a disco. The artsy department store vibe was revealed. You realized that it was all a joke (Snark!) at the expense of mall stores our parents dragged us to in the eighties and nineties.
The steel silhouettes added an element of visual mix and match, for you to literally place yourself inside of clothing. There were other rooms—a gradient from black to gray to white to pink, an upstairs mini men and kid section, some European home goods to gift—that felt like a more homey version of COS’ Beverly Hills store. The best part of the pop-up is that you could watch the shopping spaces from above, turning it into a diorama of shoppers who don’t quite know that they are being watched. There is a lot of voyeuristic pleasure in peeping at people go through racks of clothing.
Unfortunately, the pop-up closed on November 15 so we’ll all have to live through these iPhone photos I took during the visit. The clothing on display is also COS’ Autumn/Winter 2015 collection in case you were wondering where you can grab them. They are admittedly more of the same from the brand (Not a bad thing!) but cast as superstars in this reflective retail installation. Learn more about the project here.