Global shopper Sarah Lerfel, the head buyer for Colette, reveals what's flying off the shelves in Paris.
Wide trousers, sturdy boots and lots of layering
Sarah Lerfel, the head buyer for Colette, reveals what's flying off the shelves in Paris. On Parisian women, we are seeing a combination that has been around for some seasons already: the Bermuda short or short short with tights and ballerina shoes or boots. The Comme des Garçons puffed-up satin culottes are really popular because they're recognisable and add a real edge to a look that's not exactly new.
We're also seeing much wider jeans and trousers, and more than anything we've noticed the return of the boyfriend jean. The Current/Elliott ones are one of our biggest sellers at Colette at the moment. Women are wearing them with sneakers for a more streetwise look (the new black and red Chuck Taylor Converse All Star is flying out of the shops) or rolled up past the ankles with a pair of spiky heels - Lanvin's collection is doing brilliantly, especially patent leather and satin, which really add some spiky cool to this casual look.
There are two essential attitudes among our customers at the moment. Some are looking for something a little more street - though still very chic, never scruffy - and others are a lot more rock 'n' roll. The winter looks tend to be tougher anyway, with lots of layering and little blouson jackets. There are a couple of great winter coats as well - Marc Jacobs' drop-waisted one has been very popular.
The pea coat, the frock coat and the trench have been very well received by our male clientele - they keep out that winter chill in Paris. With a shirt and a V-neck, they're really mixing it all up. Kris Van Assche has done a fantastic trench for autumn/winter, with a really lean shape that looks very louche. The style of Parisian men is, like the city itself, cosmopolitan, diverse and wildly varied. In fact, I have to admit that it really depends very much on where they live, their professional circle and so on, which means the styles are very different, making it difficult to pick out one look. There is, though, a huge comeback of workwear and of tartan.
Of course, it depends on one's own style or mood. One can wear different clothes at different times? And everything we choose has some story behind it. But certain things always do well, and a limited edition of anything will pique people's interest. Recently we've had a men's boot from Ice Cream, the brand that was launched by the hip hop producer Pharrell Williams, and Nigo, the founder of the Japanese streetwear label A Bathing Ape. It was a great chunky shape - like a cross between a Dr Martens and a moccasin - and the blue colour was amazing. It was exclusive to Colette, and of course, it sold out very quickly.
Boots have also been a great success for women - especially Dr Martens. We had fluoro and flower designs that sold out, and we've just got in a pointed version of the floral called Lottie & Camille - we're expecting that to do fantastically well, especially after a hard winter. They're especially good during economic cutbacks, because they're very affordable but also hard-wearing, and they have some punky attitude.
That's really what people come to Colette for - limited editions, cult items, pieces you won't find anywhere else in France or even in the world. So we carry things like the cult fashion and art magazine Visionaire, which is limited to 4,000 copies, and it always works because people know if they can find it anywhere it will be here. The latest edition, for example, is a pop-up special, with pop-ups created by the likes of Steven Meisel and Mario Testino. We also do collaborations, like the Oakley Frogskin sunglasses that were created for Colette and limited to 100 worldwide. They sold out very fast. You really have to visit the website a lot to keep up with what's available, because once it's gone, it's gone for good.
And the one thing that never fails to sell is the Belgian cartoon character Tintin. We have a huge Tintin readership at the moment and there are no boundaries - man, woman, young, old, French, foreign, rich, poor. Tintin's really having a moment. Shop online at @email:www.colette.fr