Au revoir Colette…
It’s December 21st which can only mean one thing if you’ve got your eye on the Parisian scene – Colette is now closed. Back in July when the Parisian concept store dubbed ‘the trendiest store in the world’ announced it would be closing (news that came out of the blue) and Colette Rousseaux would be retiring, many fashion lovers went into meltdown mode.
Since it opened in 1997, Colette had been one of the most world’s famous concept stores the world. If you happened to be visiting Paris, Colette was a must-see. And if you were visiting Paris as a Fashion lover, you simply couldn’t be seen out in public again if you left without dropping into the luxury spot at 213 rue Saint Honoré to check out their latest collaborations and displays.
For Parisians, Colette was a beacon of everything hot, hype and new (sometimes a little too much so but it was what it was). It was definitely the first luxury concept store to really shake things up in the city. Paris is now full of all sorts of exciting concept stores – big, small and varied – but Colette was the one which rightly or wrongly commanded the most attention. And during Fashion Week, it was one of the places where editors and buyers congregated. Not just because of its pioneer status but because of its cachet and the fact that its name alone was almost sacrosanct.
Colette’s reputation came from its meticulously curated offerings – it often had things no other store did – and of course, its endless collaborations: Hermès, Balenciaga, Ikea, Vans, Medicom Toy, Pharrell Williams, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Mira Mikatti, Kaws, Nike to name but a few. There were the numerous book signings and the water bar which offered 73 different types of mineral water.
In short, if it was deemed to be desirable or hyped, you’d find it in Colette. ‘Deemed’ because no matter how edgy the concept store was and the Fashion masses couldn’t stop raving about it, it was sometimes more about perceived rather than actual cool and more about living up to the expectation of what cool should look like rather than creating it.
For many emerging designers, getting into Colette was a big deal. You might not be selling but daaamn, if you made it to Colette, you were on your way. But what many failed to realise was that even though the Colette stamp of approval did make you look cool to the rest of the kids, that cool status did not automatically translate into sales and longevity.
Regardless, Colette was an institution and the fact that it’s gone will definitely leave a gap which might or might not be filled by something else. Concretely speaking, Saint Laurent is going to take over its old premises. But as we all know, Fashion icons never truly disappear and there are rumors that Colette might carry on online. So for now let’s treat this more as a ‘see you later’ than a final goodbye. So long Colette!