PARIS — Colette, the hip fashion and design emporium here, this spring won’t carry such major brands as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Pucci and Miu Miu to funnel more of its buy into lines with smaller distribution, such as Hussein Chalayan, Vèronique Branquinho, Junya Watanabe and Lutz & Patmos.
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The minimalist Rue Saint-Honoré store will also shave back considerably the amount it orders from Gucci and Prada.
Sarah Lerfel, who runs the store, said the decision was prompted by the growing omnipresence of brands backed by fashion conglomerates as well as the current retailing environment.
“It’s a difficult period,” said Lerfel. “You have to make a choice. We’ve decided we can’t be everything to everyone. We were spreading ourselves too thin. Our philosophy has always been to be very selective. Now we are becoming even more selective.”
Lerfel insisted the store is unopposed to so-called power brands. For instance, she said Jil Sander, which is designed by Colette alumnus Milan Vukmirovic, and Dior Homme by Hedi Slimane, will remain in stock.
“If there’s a great Saint Laurent story next season, there’s no reason we won’t pick it up,” explained Lerfel. “We have no categorical, clear-cut line. But with all the money and advertising that’s being put behind the major brands, I’m starting to believe that they are better represented in their own stores.”
She continued: “We want to surprise our customers and show them things that they wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere. We want to open our doors more to the independents and support creativity.”
Colette’s move follows a similar decision at L’Eclaireur, the designer boutiques here. Armand Adida, who owns L’Eclaireur’s four stores, this fall axed such brands as Helmut Lang and Prada, which he had carried for years, to focus on more obscure names.
“I think it’s the globalization effect of luxury,” he said last month. “You can go into any high-end shop around the world and get the same thing. Shoppers are very advanced now. They travel and know what is in shops around the world. If you can’t give them something exciting, they won’t open their pocketbooks.”