Colette: Always Ahead

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Reviewed on 09/26/2010 | No Reviews

What exactly is Colette? Hard to say. It’s the first concept store of Paris and still the coolest in town, that’s the only thing I can say for sure. Otherwise, everything is changing so quickly at Colette, that it’s impossible to give a description of store that would be still valuable tomorrow.

Let’s put it this way: Colette is a real treasure trove for fashion addicts and geeks. The choice is selective and eclectic at the same time. No wonder that Karl Lagerfeld is a regular, going to Colette for the coolest music in his IPod collection and the hippest art books for his enormous library.

Shopping chill-out in the water bar

You can actually get everything that you need there, all of it achingly cool: cell phones or gowns, sneakers or stilettos, jewelleries or pins. Ranging from the new It-Bag for 5 000 Euros to a funny little object you can take home for next to nothing. And if you feel the need to chill out a bit after so much shopping excitement, Colette also has it’s own water bar (the first in Paris) and a restaurant.

I guess the secret of Colette is all about moving on quickly, never getting lazy, never resting on one’s laurel’s. You might translate this as: always being ahead of everybody else. Make it new and be the first.

A discret fashion guru

When Colette Rousseaux, together with her daughter Sarah Lerfel, founded the first Parisian concept store in March 1997, malicious gossip had it that they shut down after six months. Nearly one and a half decades later, Colette’s name is short for being in the know and she herself gas become a kind of guru: if Colette says drinking water is cool, then everybody gives up Champagne and water bars start sprouting like weeds all over Paris.

Colette has the same policy for her shop and as for her person: she never ever gives an interview to the press and only a very few photos of her exist. It’s a good strategy, both for the business and for the buzz around it: propose something  hard to get hold of, mostly in a limited edition, and the sense that you must have it suddenly increases. Call it the “marketing of frustration”.

But even if she makes herself scarce, Colette made an exception the other day: she answered some questions for Madame Figaro magazine and agreed to do a photo shoot with her daughter Sarah. The journalist and photographer was noone other than Karl Lagerfeld himself.

213, rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris
+ 33 (0)1 55 35 33 90
Open from Monday to Saturday 11 am to 7 pm
Métro: Tuileries   or Pyramides  
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Colette: Always Ahead , 3.6 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

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