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The name Cosette implies coquettish femininity, like a character in an old French film. In the case of the LA-based womenswear brand that bears that name, this is only partly true. Rosa Kim, the South Korean-born, Argentina-bred designer, makes sure to balance the girlie elements of her designs with tomboy coolness. For example, an oversized sweater dress has a hint of ruffled hem peeking out, or a little black dress boasts sexy, unexpected cutouts.
Since we already became full-on fans after seeing Cosette's Winter line (that coat!), we thought viewing Kim's ready-to-drop Spring 2016 collection was the perfect time to learn a bit more about her brand including why she's excited to be based in LA and the inspiration she got from growing up around Latin women.
Where did the name Cosette come from?
I've always liked the sound of this name. Being a fan of French designers, I wanted the name to sound modern, girly, and French. Cosette seemed like the perfect fit.
You initially studied design here in LA, at Otis. Would you say California has had an impact on your design aesthetic and if so, how?
Yes, I would say so. But I think Cosette represents a new wave of Californian designers. I no longer see LA as the land of t-shirts and jeans. We've become much more sophisticated than that. I don't know if this has anything to do with the rise of urbanization but I see a lot of cool designers emerging in the city. It's an exciting time to be in LA.
You also grew up in Buenos Aires, Do you take inspiration from your experience growing up there?
Although I've lived in Los Angeles longer than Buenos Aires, I still think growing up in South America influenced my design aesthetic. You don't think of sexy Latinas when you see Cosette but I always make sure to add a touch of femininity and sensuality to everything I do. Also, South American women are very self-aware of their body. It doesn't matter how cute or on-trend a garment is, if it doesn't flatter their body they would never wear it. I'm always conscious of that when I am designing and fitting.
You let us take a peek at your Spring 2016 lookbook. How would you describe the tone and where did your inspiration come from?
The Spring collection is very clean and linear. When you browse through the collection you'll see lots of fine lines whether it's on the ribbed sweater stitches or on the navy/white silk print. Even on the backdrop of some of the photos we shot outside our downtown studio shows lines. Clean, minimal shapes and lines are important elements of our brand's aesthetic. I juxtaposed the clean, straight lines with soft pastel colors (pink and blue) and feminine shapes like the off-the-shoulder sweater top or the printed pleated dress with knit bodice.
What is one piece women will need?
As always, our dresses and rompers are the strongest items of the collection. I would pick the top three favorites from people who have seen the line. That would be the Chelsea midi dress (because this length is important and the dress is so versatile), the Jenina denim dress (because the denim trend is still going on), and the trench romper (because it's just a cool piece you can wear anywhere, anytime).
What's in store for Cosette in 2016?
To continue what we're doing but on a larger scale. We're gaining great momentum here in LA and we want to capture it to keep expanding the brand to other states and cities. We have very ambitious goals for the year!