Colette, the über-trendy fashion store in central Paris, is actually quite easy to walk right past. It’s a modern shop on the corner of rue St. Honoré, with a small and modest sign on the wall outside. Only the presence of a bouncer at the door (I’m not sure he’d count as a doorman), alerts you to the fact that there’s something a bit different here.
Inside, it’s packed with customers, and even it wasn’t it would still look busy; mannequins (of the plastic kind) people the shop floor at random. The ground floor is devoted to fashion, and Colette intends for you to be positively immersed in that fashion.
Downstairs, there’s a café, which must be excellent, as a dense queue was curling up the stairs to the ground floor at the time of my visit.
However, perfumistas should head upstairs, where there’s yet more fashion, and the perfume department.
It’s not so much a department as a wide corridor between two fashion spaces, and at first glance you might think it wasn’t up to much. It’s only when you take a good look at the products on offer that you realise you’re in a very unique perfume world. Colette clearly aims to be in on the newest and most exciting trends, in perfume as well as fashion.
It’s not surprising that Le Labo have chosen Colette as the location for their boutique kiosk — there’s an obvious synergy in their marketing profiles.
It’s a nice, busy place to test without being flooded by ‘assistance’.
Fragrance Brands: Balmain (including Ambre Gris), Boudicca (Wode), ByRedo, Christian Dior (including colognes), Comme des Garçons (including the Series scents and Stephen Jones), Costes, Escentual Molecules, Indult, Juliette Has a Gun, Karl Lagerfield (including Kapsule collection), Le Labo, Lisa Hoffman, Marc Jacobs, Mark Buxton, Prada, Six Scents, Solange Azagury-Partridge.
Getting there: Colette, 213 rue St. Honoré, 75001 Paris, Tel: +33 1 55 35 33 90
Nearest Metro: Tuileries on line 1, Pyramides on lines 7 and 14.
Nearby: Across the road is Satellite and Jo Malone, and a few doors along is Penhaligon’s.
Don’t miss: The Ritz, a minute away in the Place Vendôme. This is the only place in Paris where you can buy Ambergris’ Ambre et Diamant Noir, which gives you the perfect reason to brave the tail-coated doormen. Go straight through the lobby to the end, where you’ll find a stair leading down to the Spa area. Turn left at the bottom and head for the central vestibule, where there are several perfume lines for sale.
Back upstairs, do make time for the bathroom experience. The ladies and gents facilities are concealed behind walls of mirrored panels…and ‘concealed’ really is what they are. We watched an elegant man emerge from the restaurant, stride confidently towards a mirrored door…and walk straight into a cupboard. Once you manage to grope your way into the WCs (look for the etchings on the glass), you can enjoy the stately marble, the swan-necked gold taps and the fluffy (real) towels which you use and then drop into a laundry bin.
— images & report filed by Nina.