It was a very sad day when the iconic concept store Colette closed its doors at 213 Rue Saint Honoré Paris. Colette Roussaux, the woman behind the landmark store decided it was time for her to take time back into her own hands and as she had always said “there is no Colette without Colette” it officially said goodbye to Paris on December 20th 2017. Nearly two years later, fashion mogul Saint Laurent, after much speculation, has finally reopened the space on Rue Saint Honoré as their own concept store with the self named door front Saint Laurent, Rive Droite. This translates as Right Bank, referring to the location of the store being on the right side of the river Seine and is a common geographical expression in Paris often used to ask whether someone lives on the left or right bank. Although not strictly followed, the left bank of Paris is known to be quite upscale, luxurious and to have quintessential Parisian style while the right bank is known for being a little more eclectic and down to earth. Of course, the idea of a concept store in itself, particularly if Colette is anything to go by for the new look concept store, is indeed eclectic, making it a perfectly thought out name.
What Was Colette?
The store Colette was well known for its diverse concept products. The ground floor was dedicated to a water bar, serving numerous different types of H2O as well as quick bites to eat. Moving further up the staircase to the next floor was the home of quirky stationary, fashion focused products such as Pantone notebooks and mugs as well as a large collection of vinyls, concept watches, music apparel and gadgets. Finally, the top floor was dedicated to ready to wear fashion from all our favorite design houses. Really, the genius part of the Colette concept was their diverse range of not just products but prices also. You could just as easily walk out with a purchase of €8 as you could €2000, making it accessible to all incomes.
How Does Rive Droite Compare?
As you step into the Saint Laurent Rive Droite store, you are immersed into a dystopian Saint Laurent universe. Imagine a world that is viewed and designed exclusively through the Saint Laurent brand’s eyes - that is Saint Laurent Rive Droite. Of course, since this is really a Saint Laurent universe experience, the journey into this new world actually begins before you even enter the store. A Sant Ambroeus food truck is parked up outside selling Italian food, pastries and great Italian coffee for you to fuel up before delving inside. The actual structure of the building hasn’t changed and so the layout is still spread across three floors like Colette always was. Saint Laurent Rive Droite has definitely taken inspiration from Colette for their concept store, only their products obviously lean heavily towards Saint Laurent branded goodies and exclusive Saint Laurent collaborations.
Still with a focus on blurring the lines between fashion, art, music and lifestyle, Anthony Vaccarello, creative director and the brains behind the operation has broadened his scope from their usually minimalistic layout into something a little more lived in yet still with a streamlined and monochromatic approach. Unique Rive Droite small items sit side by side with other similar products such as pens, toy cars and even condoms! Following through the store it moves into the lifestyle influenced section, with the shelves stocked with gold gilded skate decks embossed with the Saint Laurent logo, vintage record players, headphones and eighties inspired boom boxes. Fashion accessories such as sunglasses and bumbags follow next and as we move towards the other side of the store, the universe takes on a living room cum coffee shop vibe, the shelves stacked with rare books, fashion guides, Jean Prouvé chairs and sofas. Each piece is exclusive to the space and has a high covet ability factor. They simply scream, “you must have me."
Further downstairs, the walls are lined with shelves of shoes, highlighted by the fashion forward marketing in the form of moving strip, light up wording that scrolls continuously saying “self service” as well as television screens and box lighting resembling something you’d see in a night club. The rest of the decor follows the Saint Laurent ethos, carefully placed mirrors and mirrored walls that make the space look never ending and black and white marble throughout. A cascading light fixture illuminates the space elegantly and as it bounces off the mirrored reflections, gives futuristic dimension to the universe of Saint Laurent. Stylish and chic but quirky and unexpected at the same time. The ready to wear selection of fashion is just as limited edition as the rest of the concept, racks stocks with band t shirts, an over the top feather dress, motorcycle jackets and rock star cocktail dresses.
Saint Laurent Rive Droite might be one of a kind in Europe but certainly not the world. Anthony Vaccarello not only tested the waters of his concept store in Paris but also in Los Angeles on the internationally known Rodeo Drive. Vaccarello was quoted saying the idea behind Rive Droite aside from filling the void of Colette that has been missing from Parisians hearts was to create a retail space for “expression, exchange and lifestyle” and we believe Vaccarello has indeed done just that.
Article Commissioned by Mod'Art University of Shanghai