origin: paris, 1997, Colette Rousseau and daughter Sarah Andelman
I first discovered Colette while studying at the Paris Sorbonne in 2012 and have since made it a regular destination every time I’m back in the city. Whether for their coffee table books, limited edition gadgets or exclusive collaborations I always love stopping by to see what’s new at the Rue Saint-Honoré landmark.
Unfortunately, after twenty years of tastefully curated collaborations across art and fashion, the luxury concept boutique has finally shut its doors. From Barbie, McDonald’s and Ikea to Chanel and Balenciaga, Colette repeatedly demonstrated the ability to merge the seemingly unrelated in order to deliver the most impactful brand partnerships. It was in doing so that the boutique acquired a network of patrons and partners that span industries and include the likes of Rihanna, Pharrell, Karl Lagerfeld and Travis Scott.
And while some might like to think that after two decades the mother daughter duo are out of ideas, I would argue that 2017 was among their most iconic years to date. This year Colette featured Thom Browne, Saint Laurent, Sacai and Pharrell just to name a few and churned out new products up until its very last day. While Colette may have closed its doors for good today, the following are a some final collaborations that will hopefully keep its legacy alive.
Ikea x Colette
The Colette x Ikea collaboration saw two quirky companies with similar audiences come together for a well branded collection. In march of 2017 Ikea took over Colette’s infamous vitrines and Waterbar where it showcased exclusive furniture pieces. The Colette art gallery also hosted twelve limited edition posters. And for the most memorable piece, the two redesigned Ikea’s signature Frakta bag which expertly merged both brands’ most distinctive features.
Converse x Club 75 x Colette
Also known as the Triple C collaboration, Converse, Colette and retail newcomer, Club 75 celebrated Colette’s twentieth anniversary with a limited edition release. The collection featured three pairs of sneakers inspired by the bleu, blanc, rouge of the French flag. It includes a One Star embroidered with the words “Happy 20th Colette” and two Chuck Taylors featuring the same embroidery on a removable Velcro patch. Retailing at $110 a pair, the collaboration marked the passing of the torch from one iconic luxury retailer to a promising successor.
By marrying its playful brand with the unique traits of its many collaborators Colette established itself as a fixture in the fashion industry.
Le Labo x Colette
Colette and Le Labo first came together in 2011 with the release of “Another 13” and then again in 2015 for “Vanille 44.” This year they released three new fragrances, Colette 19, 25 and 34. The boutique is known for its hypnotic signature scent which often radiates onto Rue Saint-Honoré. For those wanting to preserve their memories of the store, 19, 25 and 34 contain a little bit of Colette in every bottle.
Balenciaga x Colette
Before closing its doors, Colette arranged six brand takeovers of which Balenciaga was the first. The fashion house’s six week residency featured its Bernie Sanders inspired fall 2017 collection as well as novelty items like mugs, lighters and sleep masks. The takeover also included an art exhibit and a Balenciaga copy center where guests could customize hoodies and t-shirts.
Colette has had a successful run and according to Cofounder, Sarah Andelman, the secret to their longevity has been authenticity and surprise:
You can’t just do a collaboration for the sake of doing a collaboration. Each part has to bring something to the table. It must come from the fact that two entities must use each other’s savoir faire.