Colette - Paris from My Window Featured

Celebrating its 13th anniversary this spring, the French capital's most beautiful concept store is going to be around forever
by 29 April 2010

‘We never stop making new discoveries’. We owe incredibly enthusiastic expression, which goes down very well at dinner parties, to French novellist Colette (1873-1954), who would never have imagined that, more than fifty years after her death, it could be so well suited to this famous concept store in her namesake on Rue Saint-Honoré. In March 1997, Colette Rousseaux, aided by her daughter Sarah Lerfel, had the excellent idea to baptise this 700m squared boutique, dedicated to style, design, art and gastronomy, with the typically French name ‘Colette’. A dream come true for the ladies of the television series Sex and the City- and their avid fans: the boutique has become a touchstone for international elegance, as illustrated by Stefano Pilati, the designer at Yves Saint Laurent: “Colette has managed to put a whole area of Paris onto the fashion map.”

Trendy eccentrics, passing designers and amused or simply curious tourists- 500 visitors per month come to visit this bright and luminous three-story boutique, decorated in black, white and grey hues. Strictly chic, a perfect mixture of extravagance and tastefulness: amongst the displays, a wall of iPods catches our attention. Why not listen to the latest Massive Attack record or the latest release from My Brightest Diamond, only a few amongst a selection of avant-garde singles, or even the latest official Colette Compilation, of which the second CD has been produced by Jamie Smith, keyboard player for The XX. There are also glossy books, trendy magazines, rare films by Antonioni, candles, watches, a huge range of high-tech telephones, hi-fi speakers and pocket-sized digital cameras. Then a second wall, this one decorated with colourful trainers, reminding us that Colette is fashion. We head to the stairs.

Ninety Mineral Waters
The first floor perfectly illustrates the boutique’s motto: “always the same but never changing” through its impressive mix of famous brands and young designers. For her, choose between Andrea Crews, Giles, Castelbajac, Jeremy Scott, Marc Jacobs, Opening Ceremony by Chloe Sevigny, Sonia Rykiel, Thakoon and Three As Four. For him, sift through Thomsen shirts and Ralph Lauren shoes, Eastpak rucksacks designed by label Ed Banger and Rick Owens, and the latest collections from Gareth Pugh, Maison Martin Margiela, Raf Simons and Tom Ford. The gallery just opposite plays host to new exhibitions every month: with subjects such as Martin Parr and Karl Lagerfeld. From the 5th to 30th April there will be a photographic retrospective focusing on the behaviour of fans at concerts, followed by an exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Darcel, a frequent collaborator, from May 3rd to June 5th. And if all of this delectable artwork has made you a little peckish, head down to the basement.

The restaurant at Colette is guarded by Oscar, a friendly dog who, by all accounts, “loves Snoop Dogg”. But the hip hop loving dog is not the restaurant’s only attraction: a ‘water bar’ proposing a selection of no less than 90 different mineral waters accompanied, for example, by a slice of cake, devilishly named ‘Cake Moss’, is amongst a selection of delicious treats on offer. Finally, in the ‘temporary space’ you will find fragrances as well as treatments for the hair, face and body. Colette is a living art form, a shrine, where there is always something new to discover...

213 Rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris
Tel. +33 (0) 1 55 35 33 90
Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed on Sundays
Nearest metro: Tuileries, Pyramides ou Palais-Royal
www.colette.fr