Not a week passes at colette without new products being delivered, new books being signed, and new collaborations being revealed. Among this week’s novelties are a capsule by Off-White, scarves co-created by Thom Browne and Maurizio Catellan, and Ladurée macarons dedicated to Marina Abramovic, sprinkled with golden dust. Despite the imminent closure of colette in December, Creative Director Sarah Andelman is as busy as ever, placing orders for new products and working on new collaborations which will be revealed in the coming months.
As we sit down at colette’s Water Bar (where one can choose between numerous kinds of water), Andelman says it’s still business as usual at colette. “The Fashion Weeks felt strange”, she admits — she didn’t have to go to designers’ showrooms to place future orders.
Despite many contradictory rumours in the fashion world, Andelman assures me colette is closing because the store’s founder – Andelman’s mother, Colette Rousseau – has decided to walk away. “My mother wants to retire, and I respect her decision. Even though I feel slightly guilty for our customers, I couldn’t possibly continue working without my mum”, explains Andelman.
For the last 20 years, Colette Rousseau has been responsible for running the shop, decorating the windows and arranging the products, while Andelman is responsible for the store’s many collaborations. When asked about which of the innumerable colette collaborations she enjoyed working on the most, Andelman immediately remembers the 2010 Hermes collab. “It was extremely interesting to revisit those classic scarves, to reimagine the patterns that Hermes is famous for”. And the most challenging collaboration? Chanel. “They are firmly against the very idea of collaboration, which means we always have to push”, she smiles.
However, Karl Lagerfeld is known to be a loyal fan of colette, and this November, colette’s entire first floor is going to transform into Chanel’s pop-up store. “We are even going to launch a series of T-shirts in collaboration with them, which is a huge achievement”, adds Andelman.
For Andelman, working at colette has always been “effortless”. Back in 1997, when she overtook the creative direction at the store, she already knew what brands she wanted to bring to Paris. Two decades at colette have made her one of the most powerful buyers in the world, and the closure of the store definitely doesn’t mean the end of her career.
So what’s next for Sarah Andelman after colette? More collaborations. “Introducing brands to brands and designers to artists is something I have always enjoyed doing. Even though the fashion market today seems to be oversaturated with collaborations, I still feel something positive can come out of them. Working together on a project is always a refreshing and interesting experience for all parties, albeit there is a risk that one won’t be able to work independently after co-working with someone else”.
Whilst we’ll sorely miss colette, Andelman has an undeniable talent for bringing together brands to create something entirely new. We can’t wait to see what life has in store for her.