“I just swam, like, a mile,” said a breathless Catherine Baba, wrapping herself in her fur jacket at Colette’s 20th anniversary party. The Australian stylist had just emerged from the sea of clear plastic balls that filled the central nave of Les Arts Décoratifs.
The stark white ball pit, part of Brooklyn-based design firm Snarkitecture’s installation “The Beach,” had guests of every age taking the plunge. Among those spotted bobbing amid children and inflatable toys were LVMH’s digital honcho Ian Rogers, gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin, artist JR and magician David Blaine.
Guests were asked to leave behind their drinks and don disposable shoe covers to enter the pristine white space at the museum, which will remain open to the public for free until Saturday. Many confessed they hadn’t been near a ball pit since their children were toddlers.
Louis Vuitton men’s wear designer Kim Jones dutifully slipped the covers on his Nike sneakers but looked doubtfully at the expanse of plastic balls. “I don’t know if I’m going in. I’m feeling a bit delicate today — I’ve got a flu coming on,” he demurred.
Inès de la Fressange shook her head as she watched her daughters, Nine and Violette, fool around. “Look at my silly girls — 23 and 17,” she said with a mock sigh. “This place really makes you want to take pictures.”
The model, designer and Roger Vivier brand ambassador is a big fan of the Paris concept store, founded by Colette Roussaux and her daughter Sarah Andelman. “The first time we ever agreed to sell Roger Vivier shoes outside our own stores was for a limited edition for Colette. For mother and daughter, you do things you wouldn’t do for anyone else,” de la Fressange said.
Andelman, Colette’s creative director and purchasing manager, had dyed her cropped hair in the store’s signature blue for the occasion.
In the entrance hall of the museum, the party continued as waiters circulated with trays of Mumm pink Champagne. Among those spotted in the crowd were André Saraiva, TV presenter Mademoiselle Agnès, Vogue Paris editor in chief Emmanuelle Alt, Hermès artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas, L’Oréal heir Jean-Victor Meyers, jewelry designer Elie Top, Courrèges design duo Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, and DJ Pedro Winter.
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, looking dapper as ever in a suit and tie, was preparing to deliver a masterclass on art at Colette, part of a series organized in collaboration with online publication twentymagazine.fr. “I dove in, but I lost my footing,” he said, taking a break on a deckchair. “I should have worn something more appropriate.”