Au Revoir, Colette Paris: The End of an Era

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Colette x adidas Stan Smith

Colette Paris logoIn a shock to the world of fashion, renowned Parisian boutique Colette will close its doors in December. The shuttering of the cult icon of haute cool, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, signals the end of an era.

“As all good things must come to an end, after 20 wonderful years, Colette should be closing its doors on December 20 of this year,” the retailer said in a statement. “Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and Colette cannot exist without Colette.”

Founded in 1997 by Colette Roussaux and later run with her daughter Sarah Andelman, who lived above the store, Andelman shared the news in a post on Colette’s social media channels, with the dates 1997 and 2017 in the two circles that make up its logo.

Toutes les bonnes choses ont une fin. Après vingt années exceptionnelles, colette devrait définitivement fermer ses portes le 20 décembre prochain. Colette Roussaux arrive à l'âge où il est temps de prendre son temps ; or, colette ne peut exister sans Colette. Des échanges ont lieu avec Saint Laurent et nous serions fiers qu'une Marque aussi prestigieuse, avec qui nous avons régulièrement collaboré au fil des années, reprenne notre adresse. Nous sommes ravis du grand intérêt que Saint Laurent a montré dans ce projet, ce qui pourrait constituer une très belle opportunité pour nos salariés. Jusqu’au dernier jour, rien ne changera. colette continuera de se renouveler toutes les semaines comme d’habitude, avec une sélection unique et de nombreuses collaborations, également disponibles sur notre site colette.fr Nous vous remercions pour votre confiance, et à bientôt chez colette, jusqu’au 20 décembre! #colette BREAKING NEWS As all good things must come to an end, after twenty wonderful years, colette should be closing its doors on December 20th of this year. Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and colette cannot exist without Colette. Negotiations are under way with Saint Laurent and we would be proud to have a Brand with such a history, with whom we have frequently collaborated, taking over our address. We are happy of the serious interest expressed by Saint Laurent in this project, and it could also represent a very good opportunity for our employees. Until our last day, nothing will change. colette will continue to renew itself each week with exclusive collaborations and offerings, also available on our website colette.fr We thank you for your support and see you soon at colette–until December 20th! #coletteforever #colette20ans #colette

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Colette is arguably the original doyenne of luxury fashion with an edgy street aesthetic and the original purveyor of the pop-up store concept.

“We started to work with people like Virgil [Abloh] before he started Off White, as well as OAMC’s Luke Meier when he came from Supreme, and with the whole wave of designers like Hood By Air,” Andelman told The Business of Fashion last year. “At a certain point it didn’t make sense to have them on the ground floor anymore, so they went up with the designers.”

The three-story, 8,000-square-foot space Rue Saint-Honoré sells wares from niche film camera to souvenirs and T-shirts, jewelry and toys. Its exclusive high-low collaborations have led to unique products, independent magazines and the fashion incarnation of the Apple Watch, with curated music soundtracks another signature element of its retail mix.

“It’s the only shop where I go because they have things no one else has,” Karl Lagerfeld told BoF last year. “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.”

Now Saint Laurent (after falling out and then making up) is in talks to take over the Rue Saint-Honoré location, as Colette acknowledged to BoF: “Negotiations are under way with Saint Laurent and we would be proud to have a brand with such a history, with whom we have frequently collaborated, taking over our address.”

@sarahcolette ❤️

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Francesca Bellettini, Saint Laurent CEO said, “For the last 20 years, Colette has been such an iconic and prestigious project and destination in Paris. It feels natural to us to discuss the opportunity to take those amazing premises over in order to give them a second life.”

"Air de colette" @jean_jullien for #colette #JeanJullien

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The New York Times notes, “The closing of the store, long considered an apex of Parisian fashion trends and a vital champion of emerging labels, comes amid rising rents for retailers in Paris and increasingly unpredictable consumer habits, including a move toward more fashion-spending online.”

“The end of the Colette era is bound to raise question about the continued viability of such “concept stores,” which place an emphasis on attitude and discovery over the bottom line. (Colette famously never had a marketing plan.)”

As Bryanboy wrote on Instagram, “Colette was the gold standard of cool.”

In what has turned out to be its final year, Colette is currently running a Balenciaga shop takeover (from 19 June to 5 August), reimagining luxury with a street edge (and car parts)—a perfect example of an iconoclastic Colette pop-up experience:

Colette x Balenciaga 2017

Among its final launches is a collaboration with H&M when the H&M Studio x Colette line will launch in August, stocked in-store and online at Colette for two weeks, along with selected pieces from the main H&M Studio AW17 collection.

Andelman said that colette.fr, which served as a visual museum and radio station of sorts, will also close as she will be focusing on “turning the page.”

“Brands are related to culture and that’s precisely what Colette understood and tapped into, transforming a corner of the Rue St-Honoré into a world-renowned destination,” said Rebecca Robins, Global Director of Interbrand and co-author of Meta-luxury.

“As Colette has always provoked debate, even in the closing, it raises a discussion around where the individual and the corporate brand begin and end. How brands stay true to their DNA while evolving to remain relevant is the perennial challenge of luxury businesses. Au revoir, Colette, but may the debate rage on around the legacy of a business and the life of a brand.”

La tiendita de Esteban! #colettewindow #workinprogress #colombiamiamor #colettecolombiabyesteban

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Among the greatest Colette collaborations according to High Snobiety:

2005: colette x Raf Simons COMME des GARÇONS x Vans
2006: colette x La MJC x New Balance
2007: colette x Medicom Toy
2008: colette x Gap
2010: colette x Hermés
2011: colette x Aston Martin
2014: colette x Pharrell Williams x Ladurée
2014: colette x adidas Originals
2014: colette x smart fortwo
2015: colette x Louis Vuitton
2016: colette x Vespa
2017: colette x Nike

@nikelab x @pigalleparis_official #NikePigalle #colette @pigalle_ashpool

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