• Francesca Chelli

How 'Pariser' without Colette?


When I lived in Brussels in 1997, thanks to Thalys, the train that linked it to Paris in an hour and twenty, I discovered Colette just before Christmas of that year, when it was just opened. Since that moment on, whenever I was in Paris I never missed a pilgrimage to this super cool concept store, which yesterday July 13th has announced that it will close on 31th December.

On early July I had just dropped by, during the Haute Couture, and I made a pic of this T- shirt which intrigued me, 'Pariser', a verb that only Colette can proclaim.

About twenty years ago for work I had to deal with Corso Como 10 in Milan, which was also at the very beginning of its adventure, and is now about to close.

Why are these iconic "Concept Stores", that have marked many milestones in the world of lifestyle and fashion, have come to the end? Colette has always been very active in sales, thanks to its carefully-designed mix of products and of exclusive and innovative collaborations with brands, becoming the must- place to be visited for all those looking for style and trends.

Now it is sad to know that it will close the doors, leaving Paris also missing an icon.

I am not aware about the specific reasons for this closing, but certainly these are not easy times for business in general, and for Paris even less lately, and perhaps the time has come for this avant-garde model not any longer to be able to support its concept as it was originally conceived.

The speed of digital media has taken the space to the essence of a store where once could be found all the latest news, which now appear faster on a post in Instagram and on other social media and become viral in a while, even maybe to be purchased online.

Besides, many are the brands that have opened their own single-brand stores, wanting to manage their business independently.

At the same time fashion and lifestyle times are fast - and we have even witnessed stylists who stepped back because they did not keep pace - as well as it is challenging always inventing exclusive collaborations, both in times of conception and implementation, not always managing to bring back a satisfactory economic return.

Since sometimes the inspiration comes more from people - influencers or testimonials - that through social media prove to be much faster and more effective in communicating trends and news about fashion, celebrities who singularly have more followers than these realities, albeit very well-known.

Along with a drastic change in the consumer model, contributing to reshape the market, much more based on the expression of individualities open to contamination as effluence of their being and not because dictated by others, all elements that have have certainly changed the scenario.

Supporting costs to be in a certain position, the need to have a large assortment, along with the ceaseless commitment to launch beautiful and creative designed projects, perhaps led the Rue Saint-Honoré icon to this tough decision.

Or its uniqueness and its strength together have maybe prevented this reality from evolving towards a model much more strongly integrated with social media communication systems, which can no longer be ignored.

The idea of ​​being the performance or display stage for unique products - such as this half-cut Porsche that was ten days ago at the center of the first floor - was certainly interesting and innovative, but it might not be not enough to continue.

I will have a great deal of nostalgia for that emotion I had every time I made my pit-stop by Colette on the free time of my agenda, looking for the most original items among candles, candies, books, watches, and I will keep my golden iphone headphones bought two years ago as a very precious keepsake.

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