As an example of how the bewildering PR system at H&M sometimes works, let us remember about six weeks ago when it was officially announced that the popular contemporary chain COS would be opening its second U.S. store on Fifth Avenue in part of the space on the northeast corner of 42nd Street that had been quietly abandoned by H&M, its parent company. What would take the rest of the space, we all wondered?
Well, no official announcement appears to have been made other than big sign in the window telling us that the other budding chain from H&M, & Other Stories, will be joining its sister for its second store in New York —and the entire U.S, for that matter.
We won't have to wait too long for the trendy chain's expansion. What must be a pretty firm opening date of October 30th is clearly included in the window, which makes this scenario a striking mirror of the stores' arrivals in SoHo when the more sophisticated COS was the first to be announced, but lagged months behind & Other Stories in actually opening to the public. On Fifth Avenue, COS is still "opening soon" which could mean this Fall, Christmastime, next Spring or just when they are damn good and ready.
We aren't complaining. We'll take more COS anytime whenever they want to give it to us, but now we know for sure that both of H&M's up and coming nameplates are on the road to expansion in New York and beyond. If the new stores are as well received in Midtown as they have been in SoHo, you can bet that there will be more of both coming your way soon.
When H&M's sizable store at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue quietly closed several months ago, the speculation began as the Swedish chain maintained the lease and sources suggested that it would be converted to a new format.
Would it be COS or & Other Stories? One of the two H&M owned chains that debuted in SoHo a year or so ago was bound to be replicated uptown, and now it looks like COS will definitely be opening in the space sometime before the end of 2015.
And maybe the other one too?
The catch is that COS will only be taking 3,982 square feet of selling space, a fraction of the size of the former 2-level H&M store. Even with extra space for stock and back offices, that leaves plenty of room for another store, suggesting that & Other Stories could still expand uptown and take up residence next to its more elegant sibling, unless the rest of the space was subleased out which is another possibility.
In any event, New York shoppers will likely be thrilled to find another COS location. Even though 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue is heavy tourist company, COS has been a huge hit in the city, and the SoHo store is regularly packed with customers snapping up the brand's sophisticated yet well-priced collections. The upcoming store is part of a major expansion for the still relatively young chain. COS announced a major global expansion yesterday that included 5 more North American stores in addition to the Fifth Avenue unit. Look for the COS craze to only get bigger as the Fifth Avenue countdown begins.
Note: we originally misquoted the square footage of the upcoming COS store as 3,357 square feet. It has now been confirmed to us as 3,982 square feet.
It has been month of anticipation, but H&M's most sophisticated and upscale offshoot COS is finally opening its doors today at noon.
Unfortunately, the glittery launch festivities that we here in New York City would normally feel entitled to got bogarted by Los Angeles. How dare anyone want to launch a new fashion-forward chain in a city full of gleaming starlets who practically make a second career of borrowing cute outfits to be photographed in at parties? Anyway, COS has been a little more low key about promotion surrounding the opening of its second U. S. store, but we still expect that it will be attracting crowds through the weekend. It is Holiday shopping season after all, and COS is new and exclusive enough to still have the cachet of scarcity despite its sub-luxury pricing. Remember how we used to be able to impress our less well-informed friends in other cities with our special but cheap-as-hell things from that little known Japanese chain Uniqlo?
Well, COS will be like that for just a little while, but once its sleek, minimalist style proliferates, as we hear it is poised to in short order, we will see just how resilient its prestige is in the face of replication.
COS at 129 Spring Street opens today at 12 PM in SoHo.
We have all been waiting and wondering when H&M's other more upscale chain COS would finally open its doors, and our friends at RACKED finally have a definitive date. COS will open on December 5th at 129 Spring Street between Greene and Wooster Streets, exactly two weeks from today. While H&M's more contemporary chain & Other Stories appeared to have a much faster turnaround between announcement and opening, COS has been a long time coming after its opening was initially projected last Spring. Who knows what caused the delays, but now we have a confirmed countdown. While New York was to have the chain's first U.S. location, it turns out that Los Angeles scooped us last month with a store a lot of industry watchers didn't even know was being built. So they got the glittering launch party with plenty of stars. We don't yet know what kind of festivities are planned for the new SoHo store, but we are likely to hear a great deal more about it over the next two weeks. Stay tuned.
Though it announced the American arrival of COS first, it looks like H&M is giving its other burgeoning chain & Other Stories the premium location when it opens this Fall. The chain will be taking 10,915 square feet at 575 Broadway (pictured above with a logo we added ourselves), the historic building at the corner of Prince Street that also houses Prada. If we are not mistaken, it was also the site of Club Monaco's, temporary women's store last year. The space is on two levels, and stretches all the way to the back of the building, which could potentially allow for a second entrance at 142 Mercer Street like the one Prada has.
While the upcoming COS store at 129 Spring Street will be in a highly desirable location, it is the high profile frontage on Broadway that appears to put & Other Stories on a faster track for growth. The store will find itself one one of the city's most heavily trafficked streets, nestled amongst other big names that will give it maximum exposure not only among New Yorkers, but also the tourists who will be instrumental in bringing reports of the new chain back to other potential markets both in the U.S. and abroad. It is a strategy that has worked well for other imported chains like Sephora, Mango and Desigual, and even the mothership H&M itself. This is not to say that COS is already the stepchild getting short shrift. The chains are differentiated by a focus only on trendier, women's merchandise at & Other Stories and a more sophisticated, minimalist-inspired style at COS which offers products for Men, Women and Children and is currently the only one of the two chains to offer e-commerce in the U.S. The only question now is whether the store is far enough along in construction to to make its Fall opening date? COS was meant to open this Spring, and has officially been pushed back a season, though that could just be a result of the poltergeists and other ghosts said to haunt the location. As far as we know, there is no such supernatural activity at 575 Broadway, but if the site has just been identified, it might take some magical superpowers to have it ready for business in a few short months.
* That's a new photo of the site pictured above. We added the logo to the image, so it's possible that & Other Stories has been working on the store for a while under the anonymous cover of plywood
H&M sister label & Other Stories selects Soho flagship location (The Real Deal)
H&M's COS Pop-Up Returns To Opening Ceremony Next Month & Finds A Permanent Home In Beverly Hills
Though we have yet to hear a firmer date than "this Spring" for the opening of America's first COS store in SoHo, the pop-up shop that introduced H&M's more upscale label to the U.S. last Fall will return to Opening Ceremony on April 17th. Though it's really more of a pop-up "fixture", this season it will also include clothes for children, and will be duplicated at Opening Ceremony's Los Angeles store. The arrangement has been a good teaser for the brand, and the relationship with is expected to continue even after COS has opened its own stores here. Opening Ceremony's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon tell WWD, “We are looking forward to continuing our partnership this spring with another offering of COS products exclusively in North America and to creating another beautiful pop-up experience in April, this time within our Los Angeles store." And speaking of Los Angeles, Cos has announced that a 13,000-square-foot space at 357 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills will be the site of its second Stateside store opening "later this year". This particular street has become something of a enclave for contemporary brands like Alice + Olivia, Sandro, Maje and others, so COS should be right at home there.
Back here in New York, since "Spring" starts in about 10 days, the actual opening date of New York's COS store on Spring Street is still a bit of a mystery, and the brand still has no official U.S. website yet. The last time The Shophound passed by the site, there was no way to tell what progress had been made in constructing the store (the image above is from a COS store in Milan), but Opening Ceremony's assortments will be available in its stores and through its website as long as they last.
Opening Ceremony Launched COS Last Friday, But The Real News
Was A Brand New Men's Floor
Was A Brand New Men's Floor
In all the excitement over Opening Ceremony's exclusive U.S. preview of H&M's upscale brand COS, nobody seemed to notice that the ever-evolving retailer had added an entire new men's floor to the mazelike complex that serves as its flagship store on Howard Street. In an unusual, and particularly OC-ish move, the new floor is actually the street level of the building that houses the men's departments, most recently used for the store's sample and clearance sale, now remodeled and permanently open with its own entrance and a new passage through to the original store. Inside, the space is set up with long racks on each side and a series of arched, cagelike fixtures (at left) in the center which are currently showcasing some of the store's brightest and loudest designers for men like Bernhard Wilhelm, Walter Van Beirendonck alongside mainstays like Raf Simons and Dries Van Noten, and the store's ever expanding private label collection. Of course, this being Opening Ceremony, it's still a workout to get around the whole store. The second and third levels are still only accessible by a bunch of stairs, but the configuration leaves the store in a configuration somewhat reminiscent of the old Barneys on 17th Street with separate, self contained men's and women's stores side by side.
An as for COS, seen in person, it lived up nicely to its advance hype. Presented in a single, four sided gazebo-like structure (pictured below), the capsule selections for men and women had a sleek, minimalist yet accessible vibe that reminded us how much we missed Uniqlo's +J collections from Jil Sander. The prices seemed quite reasonable for the quality we saw, falling in roughly the same range as J.Crew, and while we were there on Friday afternoon, shoppers were snapping it up. There still seems to be a reasonable selection online, but we don't expect it to last terribly long, so act fast if you are intrigued, or wait until next Spring, when the line arrives in its own store in SoHo.
Opening Ceremony Men's Store 33 Howard Street
COS at Opening Ceremony 35 Howard Street between Crosby Street & Broadway, SoHo
Launchpad: Opening Ceremony To Launch H&M's COS In-Store & Online Next Week
Once again showing how it is one of New York's most dynamic retailers, Opening Ceremony will be the first store in America to offer H&M's more upscale COS brand. Though the European chain is slated to debut its own flagship on Spring Street next Spring, next Friday October 11, a COS pop-up shop will introduce the label to New Yorkers in Opening Ceremony's Howard Street Store and its merchandise will also become available on the store's website.
"We see COS as a completely separate brand from H&M," cofounders of Opening Ceremony, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, tell WWD, "COS is a fashion-industry favorite for those who often travel to London and Paris and haven’t been able to get the collection in the U.S. until now. We’re excited to share our love of this brand with our New York customers for the first time.” They compare it to the way their store sold several collections from Topshop including designer collaboration lines, for a few years before that chain finally entered the U.S. market officially with its own flagship store in New York. Coincidentally (or maybe not) the COS Pop-up will open barely a week before Opening Ceremony debuts H&M award winning designer Minju Kim's collection in association with the Swedish fast fashion giant. Should we look for more collaborations between these two fast paced though very different companies? Nobody's saying anything, but Opening Ceremony's SoHo store will definitely be the place to keep an eye on this month.