“COLETTE” – The Story of The Most Prestigious Fashion Concept Store in Paris

213 Rue Saint Honoré, Paris, France – that was the address of one of the most famous posh stores in Paris: Colette. From celebrities to socialites, from riches to wannabes, everybody needed to be seen at least once at Colette – and they would have been known in the high circles. Some years ago, Colette was the place to be. Today Colette is permanently closed and we want to tell you the story of a boutique with a reputation bigger than its location.

Karl Lagerfeld, in love with the concept store “Colette”

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Author: Siebbi 

“It’s the only shop where I go because they have things no one else has. I buy watches, telephones, jewellery there – everything really. They have invented a formula that you can’t copy easily, because there is only one Colette and her and Sarah are 200 percent involved.” – these were the words of the famous Karl Lagerfeld who was one if the most loyal customers of the fashion boutique. Actually, many celebrities shopped there or went there in different social gatherings. Rihanna and Pharell Williams were hosted there in pop-up shops.

Colette, a trend-setter for fashion designers

Colette was always the first one to bring the most recent collections of new designers, who would later become important names in the fashion industry. The boutique would always “sense” the potential of an unknown designer and it would propel him to the most famous catwalks. It was, if you want to put it like that, a trend-setter when it came to clothes’ designers. Inside this famous boutique, you could see over the years – the very first place where they were shown – the collections of Rodarte, Jeremy Scott, Raf Simons, Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane, Olympia le Tan, Sacai or Simone Rocha.

Who was the owner of Colette?

Source: Youtube / Fashion Insiders

The name “Colette” comes from the name of its owner. The posh store was opened in 1997 by Colette Roussaux. Later on, her daughter Sarah Andelman took over most of the responsibilities and she became Creative Director and Purchasing Manager of the boutique. In one of the last years functioning (2016), Colette would make $31 million in revenue. At that point, they were also selling online, so a quarter of that money would come from e-sales.

Forbes: “The trendiest store in the world”

In December 2005, the famous magazine Forbes rated Colette as “the trendiest store in the world”, and in 2015 as well. Another high-class magazine, Esquire, described the fashion boutique “like Kith, Bergdorf Goodman and Opening Ceremony all rolled in one”. All the high fashion and edgy street labels were displayed in a three-storey, 8.000 square foot space. And you could buy anything, not only clothes: from cameras to souvenirs, from magazines, books, CDs or special products.

Colette, a cultural Parisian hub

Source: Youtube / M2M Made To Measure

It was defined as a temple of “coolness”, a place where high fashion combined easily with edgy streetwear. It was actually one of the first places to do so. Besides the large variety of products that you could find there, Colette was also the host of concerts, book signings, panel discussions, or other social gatherings that were long discussed afterward. It became a global phenomenon and it had collaborations with famous luxury brands, like Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, or Balenciaga.

And not only luxury brands, but the boutique store from Rue Saint Honoré encouraged street wear designers, hipster or middle brands. Along the years, it had hundreds collaborations with Gap, New Balance, H&M and others. Colette represented a landmark of concept stores around the world, and every opening attracted hundreds of people. By some, it was considered one of the most influential stores in the world.

2017 – “The end of an era”

In 2017, sad news came to the ears of the socialites of Paris: “Colette is closing”. In July, Colette announced its impending closure and in December 2017 it closed permanently. In a statement, the company transmitted that “Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time, and Colette cannot exist without Colette.” Sarah Andelman declared at that point that they would prefer to close it rather than selling it because “it was like a baby to us; if someone else ran it, it would not be the same”. Most definitely it would not have been.

The fashion journalists of that time named the event as “The end of an era”. Even Beyonce made a reference to the shutdown of Colette if her song with Jay Z“Apeshit”. Following the closure of Colette, Sarah Andelman declared at an annual meeting that her next move would be a consulting company “Just An Idea”. For exactly 20 years, Colette wrote history and it is still talked about even today.

“Colette, Mon Amour” – A Documentary About Its Impact

Source: Youtube / Highsnobiety

In December 2020, Colette announced the launch of “Colette, Mon Amour”, an hour long documentary-movie where it is presented its story and the impact it had in the world of fashion and beyond. It features also several interviews with Kanye West, Pharell Williams, and important names from fashion industry and they all describe their personal experience with Colette. No doubt its reputation still carries on.

Preview Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Author Celette 

  • Pakhi Atre
    January 13, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Very creative article…very interesting…loved reading it and will surely watch Colette, Mon Amour!

    • The Upscale Club
      January 13, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      We are glad to read that!

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