Sarah Andelman’s Long Goodbye to Colette


Sarah Andelman has just joined the world of civilians—retail civilians, that is.

In just days—on Wednesday, December 20th—Colette, the original fashion concept store, will close. Besides nostalgia for the atmosphere, the staff and her working relationships, what Andelman—the Colette’s daughter—will miss the most is shopping for herself.

“I’ve already had problems the last six months—I find it difficult to find things. It’s really true. It was enjoyable to choose what I wanted to wear at my store even though it was about the clients, not me.” Andelman tells CR from the café inside of her famed family store. “I noticed that e-tailers tend to choose the same things that weren’t what I would have picked from the showroom. Often, the items I ordered were cancelled, because I was the only one to buy them.”

But, Andelman is too busy to wax nostalgic right now. “I don’t think we realize the end is so close.” she says. The store has seen a noticeable uptick this month perhaps due to a combination of both its closing and its recent collaborations with Saint Laurent, which has been a perfect testing ground for the soon-to-occupy 213 Rue St Honoré luxury brand. The pop-up has everything from candles to custom-chocolate, roller skate pumps, and even a Travis Scott curated-vinyl collection. It’s been especially busy online as well, where her small team is working around the clock to fulfill orders.

Andelman herself is also preparing for the practical physical dismantling of the shop—now until early January—and the farewell bidding to her staff, when she will wish them well in their new endeavors as Saint Laurent staffers when the luxury brand takes over the physical space. “It was our priority to see that they were places for them and that was the deal we made—all of their contracts will transfer to Saint Laurent.” she adds.

Those faithful clients who wish to connect with Colette and co. after it closes—like one woman who recently came all the way from Mexico just to shop there one more time—may catch a glimpse of Andelman over at Stoney Clove Bakery, an American style bakeshop she encouraged her husband to open here in Paris. While he is off directing his award-winning music videos and commercials she’ll likely be camped out there enjoying a chocolate chip cookie. “I don’t consider myself in fashion as I have too many other interest, music, art, design,” she confesses. “I could see myself with food retail too as I really like shopping for groceries.” Well, presumably cool and chic groceries that is.

Yet Andelman is not heading for the baker’s hat just yet. She recently announced at the Business of Fashion Voices conference that she plans to launch her own consulting company, Just One Idea. Much like her role at the Colette boutique, it will allow her to continue to exercise her creative spirit by forming collaborations and special projects between brands, artists, and the like. She plans to have her main business confidant, her mother, involved as after 20 years of working side by side, she can’t imagine any other way. You’ll have to wait until her first project actually launches though, because— just like at Colette—everything is top secret until debut.

Surely, there will be more commonalities with the store. The mother and daughter duo were early champions of not only young designers, but also bringing streetwear to the designer and fashion mindset. At the recent Complexcon, Andelman sat on a panel with Jeff Staple, Hiroshi Fujuiwara John Wexler of Adidas, and Andre 3000 to discuss collaborations, and longtime friend Pharrell Williams—among others—was in attendance to discuss collaborations. It was also a chance to practice her public speaking, not one of her strongest traits she admits. She brought along five young streetwear brands from Paris that would have otherwise not been able to get that exposure: Club 75, Pigalle, Nasaseasons, FAMT, and Andrea Crews. Andelman was struck by how safe brands are playing it with merchandising, noting it could go beyond t-shirts, sneakers, bags, and even skateboards—a hint at some of her plans for Just One Idea. She was also quite surprised at the median age of those in attendance, amazed at kids as young as eight and nine years old being aware of every drop. “All the 11-year-olds want to be like Virgil Abloh,” she says. “I wonder what will they like in five years?”

Just like her disruptive approach to retail two decades ago—when traditional sellers were overly cautious about taking on new brands—it is certain that Just One Idea will forge ahead to the next generation of designers and customers. And, like Colette, the sky is limit when it comes to possibilities. As according to Andelman, “There are no rules.”


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