We were at a shoot when the Business of Fashion reported that French multi-label concept store Colette would be closing down this year end (December 20). Everyone was shocked – Colette has and continues to be arguably Paris’ coolest concept store for the past 20 years.
In fact, Colette, started and named after its founder, Colette Roussaux and her daughter Sarah Andelman, was one of the earliest to spearhead the concept store movement way back in 1997. Precious few notable concept stores existed back then, perhaps only with the exception of Carla Sozzani’s 10 Corso Como in Milan.
Founder Colette Roussaux (right) and daughter Sarah Andelman (left)
Colette has since grown into a Parisian icon and guaranteed pit stop for anyone with even the slightest interest in fashion and design. Whether you’re an industry insider or a tourist, everyone visits Colette when in town – in fact, Karl Lagerfeld himself told Business of Fashion that “It’s the only shop where I go because they have things no one else has.”
Here are some of the things we love about the iconic store:
They constantly change things up
Among other things, Colette is well-known for its constantly changing VM (visual merchandising). According to Forbes, the displays change every week, with its on-site restaurant, Water Bar, changing its menu every day. Such a strategy ensures people, even locals, never really know what to expect and thus come back to check out what’s new.
They do the coolest collaborations
Colette isn’t just another snooty fancy store. They’ve been known to stock everything from high-end artisanal brands like Rodarte to high-street labels such as Adidas. Even if you’re not into fashion per se, there’s always a superbly curated mix of interesting curios that make for great souvenirs such as Lego sets, beauty products from emerging beauty labels and indie publications galore.
But back to fashion – this August, they’re doing a nine-piece collection with H&M, inspired by the store’s signature colour – blue. Other collabs include the ongoing Balenciaga takeover (till August 5), where customers can peruse an exclusive-to-Colette range of the brand’s F/W’17 collection, along with a reproduction of the exact nail art seen on the brand’s past runway shows – done free to boot (July 2-6).
The list of former collaborators include a totally wild mixed bag from Hermes to McDonald’s, Disney to Moschino and even Hello Kitty – you get the idea.
You never know who you’e going to run into at Colette
Not only is the store a favourite with industry people, celebrities regularly drop in as well when they’re in town. Proof? Here’s Drake with Sarah Andelman, who is the store’s face and sole buyer. Queen of cool Rihanna opted to hold a pop-up store within Colette last July when she was on her Anti world tour, which housed her many collaborations such as the futuristic Dior sunglasses she designed, her Manolo Blahnik shoe collection, Fenty x Puma and her Anti world tour merchandise.
They are true blue champions of emerging names
One of the earliest retailers to stock emerging names (at the time) such as Comme des Garcons, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Christopher Kane and Raf Simons, the store’s unflinching eye for the new is a big reason why people continually return. Colette is an institution that will sorely be missed – so make your way down before the store finally closes for good on December 20. The store carries on all operations as per usual till then, with more exciting takeovers following Balenciaga – Sacai, Thom Browne, Chanel and Saint Laurent, so look out for those in months to come.
Like this? Check out Colette’s exclusive collaboration with H&M dropping next month, the films you ought to watch at this year’s Films at the Fort event and all the coolest travel destinations that have inspired fashion’s biggest designers.
Main image: @modmod.ru Instagram