By  on August 26, 2008

PARIS — Fans of the cult Paris concept store Colette flocked to check out its revamped interior Monday, conceived by Japanese interior designer Masamichi Katayama, aka Wonderwall. The event coincided with the launch of Colette’s redesigned online boutique.

The store’s new look centers on a graphic interplay of white walls with glass, steel and black leather merchandising units and tables. The staircase has also been reworked in shiny steel.

Artistic director Sarah Lerfel said she sees it more as a facelift rather than a radical departure from Colette’s original look.

“The interior was already timeless. We wanted to make it lighter and create a dialogue between the different universes; to have less of a break between the shop floors,” she said gesturing to the new, brightly lit steel and mirror beauty counters flanking the fashion area on the first floor.

Fashion accessories have moved upstairs, presented in hip-level glass cabinets dotted among the forest of mannequins. The focus continues to be on exclusive lines, such as jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez’s customized glove designs for Causse.

A second cash desk now borders the upstairs fashion area, while, across the way, the store’s former streetwear area will host monthly projects, according to Lerfel. Preview designs from Colette’s collaboration with Gap, for example, are currently on display, including a customized trenchcoat by graphic designer André and a bow clutch in gray jersey by Alexis Mabille.

The 8,000-square-foot Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré shop closed for renovation on July 7 with shoppers rerouted to an ephemeral Mini Colette in the neighboring Place du Marché Saint Honoré, as well as the retailer’s online shop. The remodeling marks the first time changes have been made to the store’s interior since it opened in 1997.

Newly lowered ceilings on the ground and first floors come lit with vast panels, light boxes and extra-long lighting strips.

A raised merchandising perspective greets visitors on the ground floor, dedicated to streetwear culture, from an aquarium-like glass and steel structure situated at the store’s entrance — housing rails of hip T-shirts — to a glass wall of rectangular shelving units showcasing the store’s ever-rotating, flashy range of collector sneakers. Colette’s new shoe for Adidas, Consortium, is among the selection.

“We wanted to encourage customers to spend as much time shopping downstairs as they would upstairs,” said Lerfel.

The store’s electronic gadget tables now stand in the former book area, while corners dedicated to the streetwear brands A Bathing Ape, Original Fake, A Life and BBC/Ice Cream line the right wall. A Bathing Ape’s mosaic-floored corner section features raised steel and glass display cabinets that resemble fish-and-chips counters.

According to a spokesman, Monday’s bestsellers included pieces from the new streetwear corners, as well as Marc Jacobs’ black bowling bag for Colette, priced at 67 euros, or around $99 at current exchange.

Key features of Colette’s freshly streamlined basement Water Bar, meanwhile, include integrated steel refrigerators, Colette-blue aluminum chairs and a black leather banquette.

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