We've been fond of COS for a while now, so when its Spring/Summer 2016 looks released two days ago, we were more than excited. The menswear is simple but by no means plain. This writer is still drooling over the popovers with oversized short sleeves, the straight long coat with hidden buttons, the slouchy pants... the slouchy pants! There are even pieces in the womenswear range that guys would definitely covet, like the sandstone and denim outerwear, even though they're modeled by the most Scandinavian-looking girl.
But at the same time as calculating how many months we need to wait to shop these pieces in stores, we couldn't shake this guttural feeling. Doesn't that beige bodice look like...and that hooded coat look like something we've seen before? Why isn't anyone else talking about this?
Last month, Kanye West presented his YEEZY Season 2 at New York Fashion Week, at a surprise location revealed only two hours before the show. But his collection was not so much of a surprise. YEEZY 2 was much like YEEZY 1, only more muted in palette and lighter in weight, because it was a spring collection.
Yes, it was a Spring/Summer 2016 seasonal line, like COS' latest womenswear. They were most likely designed around the same time and we are not at all implying that one borrowed from the other. But the similarities between COS Spring '16 and YEEZY Season 2 are still striking, intriguing.
Mr. West has made his inspirations clear: in his collections, there're Helmut Lang's heyday dystopia, Maison Margiela's grotesque beauty and Raf Simons' appropriated sub-culture. He outwardly takes design references and mashes them up in one. COS and YEEZY don't look like each other; they look like great designers who came before them.
Kanye also definitely didn't set the trend for muted, nude colors. In a forecast report published by the Pantone Color Institute last month, "Rose Quartz" (close to beige and blush) and "Iced Coffee" (a darker beige) made the list of top 10 colors used by most designers in Spring/Summer 2016 collections. Leatrice Eiseman, a Pantone executive director, states, "Influenced by the desire to disconnect from technology and unwind, designers this season gravitated toward a palette that is calming. Paying homage to natural resources, colors serve as vehicles that transport wearers to tranquil environs which encourage relaxation." This sounds eerily familiar. COS' accompanying press release uses the words "organic," "natural" and "calming" a lot too, in just one page.
Our slideshow above directly compares some of COS' new looks with YEEZY Season 2. Take note of the Caucasian-skin color hooded parka and the slouchy jacket in the same color styled with a tonal hoodie. The viscose bandeaus are astonishing twins to the hosiery bodysuits. Besides the silhouettes - ankle-length coats, baggy pants and flared sleeves - even details like ring belts are essentially the same.
Despite the similarities, of course, COS and YEEZY are starkly different. Clothes by 'Ye are unfinished, raw, distressed; styles by COS are clean, crisp. But the biggest difference is the price range. While COS offerings typically go for $40 for T-shirts to a bit below $300 for outerwear, the cheapest piece from YEEZY Seasons 1 and 2 combined is approximately $160 for a tank top or piece of hosiery. The most expensive? $4,000 for a shearling coat, well above 10 times COS' end of the spectrum.
We're extremely interested to see if/which other collections will release with similar silhouettes or colorways. Our last trip to H&M only confirmed this.