“It’s wings, this idea of flying off,” said Colette co-founder Sarah Andelman of the butterflies that filled the window of the cult concept store yesterday as it opened its doors for the final time. After two decades at the forefront of retail, the three-story Parisian boutique finally bowed out with an emotionally charged farewell, but leaving a lasting legacy.
Founded in 1997 by Sarah and her mother Colette Roussaux, the rue Saint Honoré store became one of the city’s go-to destinations due to its forward thinking approach, and an eclectic and constantly changing offering that became legendary. Showcasing high-end and contemporary fashion alongside kitchenware, art, books, toys, the latest gadgetry and store souvenirs, it also pioneered round-the-clock dining in Paris, and hosted art exhibitions and book signings, as well as concerts and panel discussions. Colette also championed the now familiar idea of the collaboration and exclusive product launches, from Pharrell Williams’s sneakers to limited edition pieces from H&M’s Studio collection.
Considered part of the cultural fabric of contemporary Paris, the 1st arrondisement store, which paved the way for shops like London’s Dover Street Market, ceased trading at 7 p.m. last night with its e-shop closing at midnight. But while this may mark the end of Colette, we very much doubt that it’s the last we’ll see of Sarah. As Carmen has said, “Sarah is one of the most incredible and bravest young women I know. Anyone that lasts that long in Paris can make it anywhere."