The trendiest place in the world
Founded in 1997, Colette started as a concept store selling high-end and emergent fashion in Paris. The retailer gained international fame during the 20 years it was open and attracted a customer base that went from Kanye West to Karl Lagerfeld. As Forbes magazine described it as “the trendiest store in the world”, everyone loved Colette and everyone stood loyal until founder Colette Roussaux decided to close the store in 2017.
Why did everyone go crazy for a store? the answer lies in the name of its founder, Colette, and her daughter Sarah Andelman. Being in one of the trendiest and most important cities there is for fashion, you either have to do something different or you break, and Colette’s founders really went all-in on that. Colette has said in multiple interviews that she basically sold everything that she liked, from shoes and clothes from high-end designers next to emergent streetwear brands to furniture and small accessories and they even had a ‘water bar’, serving over 100 brands of bottled water. Colette was really a universe, a well-curated space that birthed over the tastes and likes of its founder, and there is nothing that sells more than great taste.
After creating her own universe, then was the turn of Colette’s daughter, Sarah to take the store to the next level. After gaining a well-deserved following, many brands and designers, and artists wanted to collaborate and work with Colette. It doesn't matter whether you were YSL or a new brand, you had to earn the right of being sold at Colette, and season after season the brands that were being sold there were trying to do their best to keep being sold there. It was a fair deal of pressure that made brands and designers prioritize Colette as a retailer and create these amazing installations. They went from small private concerts to capsule collections, to meet and greet famous artists. It really was the best place in the world. In Colette's last year in business, Travis Scott hosted the Saint Laurent farewell party, in which he performed and then sold a limited edition vinyl branded with Saint Laurent all over it. In another opportunity, they invited Colombian designer Esteban Cortazar to design a capsule collection, collaborating with Colombian brands that was then launched with an in-store event hosted and curated by J Balvin.
Colette really re-shaped the concept of the retailer and while constantly evolving, they got further away from being a retailer. It was much more a place in which people met and created. A meeting spot, a place that enabled collaboration between people of the fashion, or even more the “creative” industry. A place in which emergent talents could meet with the status quo. A hangout spot in which graffiti artists could meet interior designers and have a chat about shoes. It was really the trendiest place in the world, and at the same time, it was making millions of revenue per year.