Sep 26, 2019 | By Jane Boddy
Dec 18, 2017
By WGSN Insider
The French are not easily seduced, but once you get their affection it will be forever. They will remain faithful and stick with a store that is worthy of adoration (and I know this first-hand, because I’m French).
The departure of Colette from the shopping scene is leaving us all a little distraught. But like most troubling things, this too will pass. Thankfully there are a bunch of already tried and tested new boutiques in town that we can flock to (but more on that later). After 20 years of delivering magic, Colette, the cult boutique with its Pantone 293c blue double dot logo, aka the “trendiest store in the world” (according to Forbes, by way of the Guardian) will be shuttering its doors. You simply can’t underestimate the value it brought to the fashion world, stocking exciting fashion collaborations like Pierre Hardy x Atelier or Saint Laurent x Travis Scott, fashionable book signings celebrating the 150th anniversary of Harper’s Bazaar and helping to break new beauty brands into the mainstream like MDMFlow and WAH Nails.
The store was founded in 1997 by Colette Roussaux, but has mostly been run by her daughter Sarah Andelman who has been working as the creative director, purchasing manager and the public face of the multi-brand boutique. The mother-daughter duo created an intimate relationship between the designers and an international clientele. Sarah has been relying on her instinct and only bought what she liked (a beautiful rarity in today’s retail landscape). In a way the family business reinvented the way we shop. Happily mixing high and low, curating new arrivals of established and emerging designers every week and collaborating with brands on exclusive and limited editions. The trendsetter concept store felt like a never ending party as Colette also hosted art and music events and entertained the most fabulous and beautiful people.
Talking to the Guardian, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld said that it’s the only shop he frequents “because they have things no one else has”. However come December 20th that magic will come to an end as Colette closes its doors. “Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and colette cannot exist without Colette,” was the statement published on Sarah Andelman’s Instagram account. Though, Saint Laurent might take the spot over with Colette’s staff as a bonus.
So, is there a shopping life after Colette? Where are we going to shop while in Paris -and have fun at the same time- is the question that is now on everybody’s mind. What are our options?
As an official French shopper, here are my suggestions of some stores to explore:
The minimalist looking store slash café opened its doors in 2013. Located in the border of Le Marais, the niche boutique is becoming a Parisian institution offering a selection of edgy designers (Jacquemus, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Vetements,…) limited edition collections, indie magazine and seasonal foods.
A former 19th-century fabric factory is now home to Merci, a concept store created by the founders of BONPOINT. You can wander through the three floors and find a canteen, literary café, household goods, Isabel Marant and other designers, notebooks and beauty products all under the same roof.
Gang of Early Birds’s owner Fanny Airault is new on the scene. Focusing on brands that are impossible to find in France (Martiniano, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Vere Verto), the store is an all around the world tour to the coolest brands du jour.
Centre Commercial who founded Veja — the French brand of ecological and fair trade footwear and accessories— offers a good mix of indie brands (Baserange, Norse Projects) , and classic brands (Comme des Garcons Parfums, Birkenstock, Church’s) with a focus on fair trade products. For the rive gauche lovers (like me) a second store just opened on Rue Madame.
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