as it’s nearly time for the world-renowned concept store to close its doors we couldn’t miss the opportunity to take one last trip to paris to say hi and bye.

we caught up with the man of the hour, guillaume salmon, colette’s head of communications to really get an inside perspective to some of the key questions we all think about when it comes to these guys, and to really understand some of the factors that have really shaped the brand over the last 20years, propelling them from new kids on the block to pioneers – here’s what went down:

1. how did you discover colette?

around 18 years ago when i was student, i had to work on the side. one day a friend called telling me colette were looking for waiters for a party they were doing at the opera with yve saint laurent. they paid very well so i came to offer my services. i worked, i liked this new opportunity, so i asked if they were looking for part time shop-assistants, i met colette and a week later i began working there. step by step over the years i arrived to where i am today.

2. in the early days, what were the best things colette did to help people discover the brand/concept?

mixing brands and designers was a major part of colettes’ success. it was something new and no-one had ever done this before. usually, you’re either or, but never out of the box; this allowed all types of people to always discover something new when they visited us. we had a lot more furniture design products in the beginning too, so we mixed these industries with beauty/cosmetics, music, fashion, this was really important as it created a new experience for people constantly.

3. there are so many cool brands and ideas in fashion, art, and design. what are the three factors that stand out when deciding if it’s for colette or not?

well, to be honest, all of the buying is done by sarah and she always follows her intuition, it’s a feeling she has for a particular product or brand. she is very immersed in industries and always keeps her ear to the ground.

4. let’s play a game, as we know colette closes it’s doors 20th december, the only rule is that you have to relocate to another city in another part of the world, where would that be and why?

“wow that’s a difficult question…” – well, colette is parisian, the parisian culture has been our essence from the beginning, it wouldn’t be colette anywhere else. it’s a unique experience and this can only come from the fact that we have remained completely parisian in our approach to things.

5. why the blue branding, where did this come from?

well, to be honest in the beginning we used to change the colours all the time. one day we had this particular blue and just like how we have used feeling to create most of what we do, it just felt right, so it stayed.

6. picture this scenario, a lovely summers day, colette has a street runway show for fashion week on the champs-elysées, broadcasted live to the citizens of the world, which five brands would you want to headline the show?

oamc
paskal
sacai
vetements
comme des garcons

7. these days effective communication is so important, which channels do you feel is most effective for colette?

we have been very traditional with our approach to many things here at colette, so we have also kept elements of the communication channels like that too, traditional press/media is something we really focus on and this is done globally as well as locally, of course we have adapted with the times regarding mediums like social media, but we have really kept direct relationships with clients and the industry alike.

8. colette is obviously known very much for its awesome window displays, which one had been your favourite so far? – have you had any nightmare displays that didn’t go according to plan?

[laughter] – well i have to say the last one before we close will be my favourite, just to give you a sneak peak, it will be a mosaic, a collection of all the window displays we have made in the past, this will be really cool – i have loved every one so far, and there has not even been one nightmare.

9. colette has a global cult following, fans from tokyo to san-francisco, how have you kept your army of fans engaged for so long, what’s the secret formula?

i have to say it’s the energy, the energy that we bring forth in everything we do really create a unique experience for customers. we have special collaborations and products that you just don’t find in your everyday store, we have limited edition products, we create fun events and parties. i believe one major factor would be the fact that there is something for everyone, the price range is so vast that you can always find something that fits your budget.

10. is there anyone or brand that you missed an opportunity to collaborate with?

simply put i believe we have done everything we always wanted to do!

11. there are so many online brands/stores/concepts that have arisen over the last 10 years, how do you think colette has remained relevant and at the forefront of the industry?

energy, energy, energy!

we have introduced many new products, we have remained very active with what is relevant and also what we have felt will be good in the future. the business is privately owned by sarah and colette which means that we have the freedom to do whatever we want, if we want the store to be painted pink from top to bottom one day or completely change the look another day we can spontaneously do it; in the blink of an eye, that is the key for us to give our customers that unique experience every single time.

are there any big surprises coming up before you close your doors on the 20th…?

we are currently doing them, these are new brands every single month and i can tell you now that next week we will start with a really special saint laurent collaboration.

musicians have made comebacks, many films have had sequels, will there be a colette part deux? – blink once for yes and twice for no!

[haha] –  it’s the end of the adventure!

do you have any words of wisdom for the young aspiring generation of tomorrow who will look back at colette for inspiration?

– put your phone away and read as much as you can
– be passionate
– love to learn
– go deeper into everything about something, the culture, the story behind it, don’t just take an instagram post as the be all and end all of something

it’s no secret that we at benedict and simone are very fond of colette like most are, it was truly wonderful to get to spend time with them and really understand the things that have really shaped them.

although it may be time for colette to close, their legacy will always live on. the people at colette will be moving onto new things, guilluame gave us an indication of what he will be up to next, let’s just say he is working on something new and it sounds exciting.

don’t forget to book your ticket to paris soon there isn’t much time left to visit colette!

farewell, our parisian friends –  au revoir.