Susannah Frankel: 'I have never actually bought anything at Colette. I always browse'


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Indy Lifestyle Online

This week I find myself on unusually haute form, shopping in Paris at probably the most fashionable shop in the world: Colette on Rue Saint-Honoré. It is, in fact, my quest for food that is the primary reason for my entering. Fitting in a Colette 'green plate' for lunch is an essential part of the collections calendar safe in the knowledge that a girl can't live on croque monsieur and steak frites alone. The green plate is predominantly green (yes, the clue's in the name), vegetal and with the odd flash of orange or red thrown in. This is presumably for aesthetic reasons and the end result is a beautiful thing to behold.

Beyond lunch, I have to admit that I have never actually bought anything at Colette. I always visit, browse the uber-cool trainers, the rails of Alaia and just about any other respected international fashion name one might care to mention. This time, more space than might be expected was devoted to young British designers including Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou which is a very good thing for them indeed. I check out the books and magazines – again an inspired edit of the mountain of newly published gloss dedicated to both fashion and art. I look at the watches, the cameras, the phones...

The secret of Colette's success is that buyer/art director, Sarah Lerfel, has a hugely discerning eye and that applies to everything she touches from the mainstream – both Nike and Timberland are stocked here but only the good bits – to the rarefied. The latter dominates, of course, and such elegance, comes at a price. I'm with my friend at the counter – he's buying shoes – when I discover that at Colette even playing cards have been given a super-chic make-over. Dogs Best In Show, with illustrations by Polly Horner, is a far cry from the requisite Top Trump trash that fills every modern child's bottom drawer. And so I buy a box, for the princely sum of 11 euros, and we've been playing with it at home ever since.

Susannah Frankel is fashion editor of 'The Independent'