Parisian boutique, colette, is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. It is certainly a notable achievement on a number of levels given the fickle nature of retail, shifting aesthetics of garments, and an ever-growing reliance on a direct-to-consumer model by brands.
colette is the brainchild of Colette Rousseau who launched the Rue Saint-Honoré institution that bears her name in 1997 – and has been nurtured and curated by her daughter Sarah Andelman – who brought a contemporary eye for upstart talents like OFF-WHITE’s Virgil Abloh and OAMC’s Luke Meier, and didn’t hesitate to place their brands alongside the likes of established heavyweights like Raf Simons and Valentino.
“Sarah and colette are supportive of creation, period, regardless of the provenance of the brand. That’s why when something like a ‘luxury street’ trend comes along they don’t have to change their formula. It’s been there all along,” said OAMC’s Meier.
It’s with that same spirit for inclusiveness – regardless of status – that colette chooses the brands that they want to collaborate with.
Thus, we’ve gotten everything from grandiose retail environments with major brands to smaller and more subdued creative exchanges with upstart labels in Europe.
With colette’s collaborative spotlight once again vividly on display for its 20th anniversary, we’ve chosen to round up their 20 best collaborations.
colette x Raf Simons COMME des GARÇONS x Vans
As we noted in our coverage of 10 Raf Simons pieces you should know about, the designer’s 2003 Spring/Summer 2003 “Consumed” collection featured a number of notable pieces. In particular, the graphic elements of the collection proved to be quite popular on resale sites.
These same graphic elements were on display when colette and COMME des GARÇONS came together for a collaborative shopping experience in Japan and enlisted Raf Simons to rework a pair of Vans Slip-Ons to mark the occasion.
The Slip-Ons were composed of a canvas upper and decorated with logos like Refuse, Expendable, Chaos, π and Amnesia from the aforementioned “Consumed” collection – all of which sat atop a pure white rubber midsole and insole adorned with the logos of Raf Simons, COMME des GARÇONS and colette.
With a finite number of pairs of this collaboration floating around, the collaborative effort popped up on Grailed in 2016 and sold for $1,100 USD.
colette x La MJC x New Balance
If you need any indication that colette’s partnership with La MJC and New Balance was from over a decade ago, look no further to the fact that the coverage of the sneaker release was handled when Highsnobiety was still a Blogspot page.
Reworking a 1500 silhouette, the three entities opted for vinyl, leather, and suede and a cross-style pattern in white that played nicely off the purple colorway.
At Sneakerness Amsterdam in 2015, the sneaker was retailing for $1,420 USD.
colette x Medicom Toy
In celebration of colette’s 10th anniversary, they partnered with Tokyo’s Medicom Toy for what for a long time was the ultimate status symbol in streetwear; a 1000% Bearbrick.
Honoring past contributors and prominent members of the extended colette family, signatures on the Bearbrick included KAWS, André, Futura, Brian Damage, Pete Fowler, James Jarvis, Michael Lau, Stash, Will Sweeney and Kuntzel + Degas.
While the Bearbrick originally retailed for just under $500 USD, it swiftly rose to nearly $2,000 USD on resale platforms due to the scarcity of pieces made (100).
colette x La MJC x New Balance
The second official partnership between the three entities was once again limited to just 190 pairs and featured a reworked 1500 silhouette with carbon fiber toe box and nubuck upper with accents of gray and fuchsia.
Years later, this iteration would be amongst the most expensive sneakers retailing at Sneakerness Berlin with a resale value of $1,005 USD.
colette x Busy P
Pedro Winter, perhaps better known by his music moniker, Busy P, has endeared himself to music fans all around the world for helping steer the career of Daft Punk as their manager for over a decade as well as cultivating a newer breed of artists via his Ed Banger Records imprint.
When Nike decided to debut an “Influencer Pack” in the fall of 2008, Busy P seemed like an obvious choice to rework its Air Force 1 silhouette.
While Highsnobiety recognized “doodling” as a major phenomenon in fashion is 2016, Busy P’s Air Force 1 predated that trend by a good eight years – opting for a black upper with scribbles and a multicolored midsole – which was the byproduct of design squabbles between Busy P and Ed Banger Records art director, So-Me.
“We thought it’d be a cool idea to let the shoe be a testimony of our friendly yet passionate dispute…battling it out on each foot,” Winter said.
Although the shoe was scheduled to be released at various Stateside destinations like 21 Mercer in NYC and The Montalbán in Los Angeles, the reworked silhouette became a colette exclusive.
For those wanting to get a chance to own a pair, StockX currently has several pairs that retail for between $350-$420 USD.
colette x OriginalFake
After temporarily shuttering the store for a makeover courtesy of Japanese design firm, Wonderwall – known for helping design most of the A Bathing Ape stores – colette enlisted OriginalFake founder, KAWS, to celebrate the occasion with a T-shirt featuring the store’s name adorned in the artist’s signature character style.
colette x Gap
In the summer of 2008, Gap commissioned the Parisian boutique to create a one-month installation inside its concept store adjacent to the New York City flagship store at 54th and Fifth Avenue in New York City – marking the first official colette store on American soil.
Exclusive products included offerings by André Saraiva, Anne-Marie Hercules and Olympia Le Tan, and collaborative T-shirts which bridged the gap between Paris and NYC by presenting artwork including Artus x Peter Arkle, Miss Tic x Claw Money, Jean-Philippe Delhomme x Ruben, Thomas Lelu x Tobias Wong, Genevieve Gauckler x Eric Elms and André x Necklace.
“It’s a wonderful experience to collaborate with Gap for a temporary shop in uptown New York City, a cult environment for retail,” said colette’s Sarah Andelman. “We’ll do our best to delight visitors. It’s a special challenge for us, happening simultaneously as we re-invent our unique Paris address.”
colette x SILLY THING
Hong Kong brand, SILLY THING, opted for a more unusual collaboration with colette by presenting a marshmallow/guimauve-scented candle featuring original packaging from Eric Elms.
As the original press release stated, “Light up the candle to release a freshly gratifying sensation.”
colette x Hermés
Overseen by Hermès’s Director of Silk, Bali Barret, colette reimagined their signature “le cares/scarves” for four different limited-edition versions for their aptly-titled, “J’Aime Mon Carré” collection (I love my scarf) – marking colette’s first venture into adopting the stylings of a haute couture house.
colette x Super Motor
At the time, Super Motor was an upstart Dutch brand founded by two cousins who had an affinity for design cues from yesteryear who were looking to make a mark on the automobile/motorcycle community.
Eschewing chrome accents in favor of colette’s signature color scheme, the bike itself is a semiautomatic, four-stroke also known as a “Cub.”
colette x Aston Martin
The Aston Martin design team worked closely with their counterparts at colette to create one of 14 limited edition automobiles dubbed the “Cygnet & colette’ city car featuring “Lightning Silver” paint, colette blue styling details – including a race collection inspired front bumper and bonnet livery, mirror caps and diamond turned road wheels – and a “Bitter Chocolate” themed interior drawing inspiration from colette’s canine mascot, Oscar, a brown Labrador.
To ensure that the partnership was realized in rock-solid attributes, branding appears on a decklid badge, machined-aluminum key ring, and on the navigation screen on startup.
Aston Martin Director of Design, Marek Reichman said of the collaboration, “Aston Martin and colette are both cool brands that successfully blend modernity and innovation. It made perfect sense to work together and create this limited piece of automotive fashion for the city. The colette car is the first of the exclusive ‘Cygnet &’ collaborations. These cars will give Aston Martin a relevant platform to reach out to new customers in urban areas.”
While the standard “Cygnet” model retailed at the time for $43,856 USD, the collaboration saw the price jump to $69,325 USD.
colette x UNDFTD x La MJC x New Balance
Hinting at Undefeated’s ties to Los Angeles, Eddie Cruz and K.B. Lee enlisted two venerable Parisian institutions – La MJC and colette – for a “UCLA” colorway of New Balance’s 1500 model which also honored La MJC’s own style attributes by featuring leopard print on the insole.
The result was a bright and vibrant iteration that served in contrast to the MT580 collaboration between all three that popped up at the same time.
A deadstock pair currently retails for $240 USD on StockX.
colette x Pharrell Williams x Ladurée
French bakery brand, Ladurée – who had already ventured into the fashion world with a previous collaboration with Lanvin – continued their culinary tradition of matching pastries with fashion elite when they partnered with colette and Pharrell Williams for a range of colorful macarons.
As we noted at the time, “the limited edition box of six macarons have been created with a completely unique, surprise scent, so if you’re into olfactory surprises then get your hands on a box.”
Sweet tooth enthusiasts were certainly surprised to taste cola and peanut butter-flavored macarons that also helped celebrate Williams’s four-night concert run in the City of Light.
colette x adidas Originals
A month after adidas Originals presented a reworked version of their Stan Smith silhouette courtesy of the aforementioned Pharrell Wiliams, they continued to experiment with the model by bringing colette into the mix.
Limited to only 100 pairs – not surprisingly replacing the green accents with colette blue – additional customizable elements appear on the footbed, heel, and toe and tongue.
colette x smart fortwo
Unlike in the States, French law dictates that a person can’t obtain their driver’s license until they are 18 years old.
Playing off that theme of maturation, colette marked its 18th anniversary with a partnership with smart on a fortwo model dressed in an anthracite exterior – with numerous hits of the now iconic colette blue – as well as a black leather interior.
Adding to the fun of the celebratory festivities, colette also created a giveaway for anyone born in 1997 who were the only ones who could qualify to win one of 18 vehicles worldwide.
colette x Louis Vuitton
To highlight Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2015-2016 offerings from Kim Jones – who was inspired by the creations of Christopher Nemeth like the cord print and Harajuku spirit silhouette – the brand curated a pop-up experience at colette which featured ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories, watches, and a limited-edition of the Twister canvas tennis shoe in colette blue.
At the time of the unveil, Kim Jones remarked, “I am really excited about the idea of collaborating with colette on this beautiful project. Its position at the crossroads of fashion and culture makes colette the ideal place to celebrate Nemeth’s genius. Knowing that the young Louis Vuitton apprenticed in exactly the spot where the concept store stands today makes doing this project here an even more obvious choice!”
colette x Mira Mikatti x KAWS
Prior to her collaboration with both KAWS and colette, fashion designer Mira Mikati was primarily known for operating luxury boutique, Plum Concept, in Beirut.
Realized on a series of color varsity jackets emblazoned with characters and colors synonymous with the American artist, it was those exact sensibilities that drew Mikati to him.
“I love how [KAWS] adapts that childlike world so that adults can be part of the fun, too,” she said. “I’m obsessed with his Mega sculptures—when I’m under one of them I feel like Alice in Wonderland.”
colette x KITH x PUMA
Not satisfied with simply reworking one silhouette, KITH’s Ronnie Fieg opted for two different designs for his collaboration with colette.
The Blaze of Glory was crafted in high-quality nubuck in colette blue with dual-branded forefoot strap, reflective gray accents, white Trinomic midsole unit and a padded neoprene collar.
The Disc Blaze featured a pigskin toe colored in the same blue and covered in grey, wrinkled leather, translucent Disc harness and gradient Trinomic midsole with speckle detailing.
colette x Vespa
Although it’s colette who is getting into the festive spirit with a number of high-profile collaborations to mark its own 20th anniversary, they also served as a willing partner when it was time for legendary scooter manufacture, Vespa, to celebrate its own 70th birthday.
The one-off, custom Primavera 50 Scooter features a paint scheme indicative of colette’s signature white and blue, while Vespa provided a single cylinder 2-stroke Hi-PER 2 engine.
colette x Nike
As previously mentioned, colette ratcheted up their creative partnerships to honor their tireless work over the last 20 years.
Although it is decidedly new, there’s no denying that their work with Nike on the Air Woven is surely going to withstand the test of time should someone explore colette’s design past 20 more years down the road.
Arriving in just 213 pairs – honoring colette’s street address at 213 rue Saint Honoré in Paris – “The Beach” model features signature blue and white accents on the upper stitching and marks an upswing in the model’s relevance in footwear not seen since 2012’s “Euro Pack.”
- Featured/Main Image: Johannes Höhn / Highsnobiety.com