Colette Dix

April 03, 2007

Parisian superboutique Colette celebrated its tenth birthday last month with a fitting gallery special– ten artworks selected by ten guest curators– the exhibit for which just ended at the store. Last night Colette held another of its infamous dance class parties in Paris– this one paying homage to MC Hammer, hence the awesome array of baggy Aladdin pantalons! We spoke to Colette's Nadege Winter from their Parisian HQ about a decade's worth of collaborations, 7am sneakerhead waiting lines and why Colette is really more like a magazine than a store.
Interview and pictures after the jump.

How did the anniversary party go?

The party was like a circus--a veritable non-stop line-up of action, dance classes, deejays, skateboarding,
dancing, drinking, singing, laughing and all out partying.

When the store launched ten years ago the idea of a carefully curated space, where music, books, art and fashion were sold under one roof was completely
new. Where did the original idea for the store come from?

From the very beginning, colette was supposed to be a kind of chic bazar, a store on three levels where you could find everything you love : fashion, beauty, design, arts, music, food...Because the founders were originaly influenced by fashion, art and design it seemed very natural for them to mix everything together. They were frustrated because in '97, they couldn't find the
products and things they loved in Paris--things from NY and other places. They wanted to bring it all together in one place.I think stores like Barney's and Fred Segal or Corso Como in Milan have been influenced by concept stores like ours. Colette works like a magazine. The owners are like the editor-in-chiefs or the curators. They select, choose, design and display as if it were the pages of a magazine
or a gallery space.

Why did you decide to choose guest curators for the 10th anniversary?

Everything started with the idea of doing a few products around the ten concept : berbrick medicom with ten signings of ten major artists and designers; 10 magazine mixing ten different magazines covers and
pages. Then the idea of working around ten became obvious in the context of an art show. Sarah (the creative director and buyer) selected the curators--many of whom are regular contributors to the store.
Deitch, Mudam, Frog etc are curators that Sarah respects and has been following for a long time now. They were all very enthusiastic. Sarah just contacted and proposed the idea to them, offering
a precise corner of the store for them to curate. They had total control over choosing what would be in the show.

Colette has become legendary for its collaborations--what was the first one the store ever did?

I can't remember what the first one was because we do them every month. We love it, it's really exciting to bring artists and designers together to make something unique. Many brands now come directly to us with ideas. For the 10th anniversary we recently sold a new Cartier bag, name "Marcelo." Kuntzel/ deygas just designed a new pair of shoes and polo shirt for Lacoste. We also created special a collection of trench coats and T-shirts designed exclusively for colette in a very limited quantity by Alaia, Comme Des Garçons, and Lanvin.

Tell us a little about the CD compilations?

The first CD was released in 1991. It is a project that had came from conversations with Sarah and Michel Gaubert. The compilations are just a reflection of the Colette concept, a selection of the best air du temps, a selection by michel gaubert and marie branellec. The sound you will hear in shows, some rare and exclusive tracks, that are unreleased or hard to find. They've been really popular. We only make 10 000 and sell them at Colette and a few other places worldwide. We initially planned all our dance parties around the release of the compilations, but now they have a life of their own--they are a monthly thing, with a different concept every month. Colette is not only a store, it's a spirit and the party spirit is part of that.

People come from all over the world to shop at your store. Tell us about some of the more extreme habits of regular your customers?

People do come everywhere in world and all over France but there is no specific type of shopper. They are some curious or extreme fashion addictswho want to be on a waiting list weeks before we to get the product in, like the Proenza Schouler stuff for Target. We had lines out the door for the launch of the nike vs stussy sneakers. Luckily we planned a head, and had a little mobile cafe at hand with hot drinks and vieinnoiserie like croissants from 7am.

What are some of the craziest stunts designers/artists have pulled to get their work in the store?

No brand brought in car as a window display.

Posted: April 03, 2007
Colette Dix