Written by Thomas Bradley
Produced by DAN H.
There is a situation at 213 rue Saint Honore in Paris known as Colette and this location represents an idea. Rather, it is a compilation of innovative yet grounded notions concerning how a “boutique” in France might embody the mantra, “styledesignartfood.” Three theaters of interaction give shape to a surprising, albeit expected, level of entertainment. We say that the entertainment is expectantly surprising because the shop has fast become world famous for its artistically sound product presentations which rethink how consumers observe, interact, and purchase their goods. Art and fashion come to a boiling frenzy amid hi-technology and streetwear. All the senses are served exponentially as members of the Colette audience may pleasure their palettes in the downstairs water bar and mini-supermarket, as they bathe in the glow of a giant plasma screen exuding an energetic bouquet of image and sound.
Its essence is not unlike the international street-couture community that so abundantly celebrates Colette’s life. At once, Colette gives visible form to all things seemingly opposite: exclusivity is prized, yet its Monday evening affairs attract international afficionado’s and local friends, mixing and exchanging thoughts and words in a manner that would be quite improbable without Colette’s facilitation. Street inspired clothing maintains an intense presence while rubbing elbows with demi-couture and high-end, ready-to-wear fashion from the world’s most sought after houses. Colette’s special SONY PSP project found the nature of the shop’s spirit materially realized when a number of the world’s top designers (Miu Miu, Jeremy Scott, Burberry etc) custom designed PSP covers to be exclusively sold at Colette. Illustrations by Ruben Toledo and Peter Fowler, two fantastically inventive artists of international renown, grace Colette’s water bar menus as books on Graffiti and graphic design are thumbed upstairs. All these activities would be deemed contradictory outside the Colette situation.
The Colette art gallery lives in the highest faculty of the shop, on the third floor, and alternates its exhibitions monthly. Engaging the viewers with work by creators bearing names both established and unknown, the gallery exists as Colette’s loftiest, most genuine offering to its patrons. The rest of the boutique seems to lead up to the gallery, that is to say clothes, food, and gadgets are very hip but art and style exist as the genesis of this very same cool the audience is clamoring for.
The shop is not without its own expressive side either, boasting monthly dance classes complete with choreographers and themes ranging from 40′s swing to ragga-jam. Also, Colette has been editing a select and definitive line of products under its own name: a compilation album with selections courtesy of Michel Gaubert and Marie Branellec, a musk oil, candles, and even Colette brand water. Recently, Colette’s curatorial duties have even garnered an artist designed tee-shirt line along with a perfume line consisting of three separate scents. All Colette brand items are available online at www.colette.fr, which is a slightly less invigorating experience than a trip to the actual shop, but more interesting (as expected) than the usual.