Dylan Jones: 'Colette had the snottiest shop assistants in the whole of Paris – sexless, odd-looking fashion victims'

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For those of you who care, and for those of you who take shopping seriously and use shops, markets and department stores as research tools or social barometers as much as anything else, Colette has just reached the tipping point. It is – and let me say this in a very quiet, almost clipped French accent – over.

There are some stores that appear to define their time and their city – Corso Como in Milan, Colette in Paris and Dover Street Market in London – fashionable oases of the arcane, the arch and the achingly cool. These are the places that you find the PoMo objet d'art, the designer knick-knacks and limited-edition three-legged trousers. These are the places where you'll find pornographic jigsaws, digital radios made out of beeswax, and limited-edition handbags that only an oligarch's wife can afford. And even if you aren't that interested in buying anything yourself, you at least get a feel for "what is going on", for what is right.

And Colette was one of them, the place you went to in Paris to see what everyone else walking up and down rue Saint-Honoré was spending their money on. This was where you bought customised iPods and training shoes covered in Swarovski crystal, where you bought Thom Browne sweaters and Andy Warhol dinner plates, where you flicked through unintelligible fashion magazines and stupidly esoteric art books. Colette also famously had the snottiest shop assistants in Paris – sexless, odd-looking fashion victims who would look at what you'd chosen to buy as though you'd just forked it out of your ear with your finger.

But it is no more. Sure, it's still going, and it's more popular than ever (during Fashion Weeks there are queues that stretch to the rue de Rivoli). But Colette is a fading cultural force and lacklustre retail experience. It is pining for the fjords (or at least the latest hook-up between a cutting-edge Belgian architect and a Japanese rapper-cum-clothing designer). I was there last week, and it felt out of touch with the times. Instead of a temple of cool, it now seems like a museum of the unnecessary and the expensive.

Au revoir.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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