For its 15th birthday, iconic Parisian fashion emporium Colette decided to go big and go fanciful with a carnival! Youthful partying when you’re getting older, there’s nothing quite like it.
This past weekend, a 4000m2 tent running parallel to Rue de Rivoli housed the two-day bonanza in the Tuileries. The stately and quiet garden had its usual fixtures of joggers and merry-go-round riders, but like a mullet — all business in the front, party in the back — the tent contained a riotous burst of colour and fun. This being the event of the season, 4000m2 was hardly enough: the entrance, by 3pm, was a mob scene. This was the first time that the Tuileries consented to an event of this nature: a brand event open to the public. And if Colette’s reputation is anything to go by, it’ll be the start of a trend.
Inside, founder and proprietor Sarah had enlisted a host of designers and artists to animate the activities. The wonderful juvenilia took the form of hula-hoop contests at Hudson, black lit to make the neon background by artist Aakash Nihalani really pop. Carven’s Peter Pan collar toss had the best graphics (to make up for poor aim, presumably), and for those of a craftier nature, Tatty Devine held a make-your-own-necklace session. Maison Labiche custom-embroidered shirts and Kenzo sold t-shirts exclusively created in honour of the Colette Carnival for those who wanted their memories ready-made. For the sportier spices, Thierry Lasry had mini basketball hoops, and for the real ballers (guys showing off their forearms as they did layups) there was a diminutive Nike basketball court for games of 3-on-3. Further down the line was a small but brightly-graffitied ramp for skaters. And for the less active but equally competitive, there was ping-pong, foosball, and a selection of arcade games.
Decorated with streamers, bouquets of balloons, piñatas, confetti-style polka dots, rainbow hues and whimsy, it was definitely a kid-friendly scene – and not just for the single-digit set. Adulthood be damned! Balloon animals, party games, cakes, cupcakes, and… So. Much. Candy. filled the space – candied apples, cotton candy, wandering Carambar candy stripers, a concession stand brimming with M&Ms and Twix and Snickers. The line for burgers at the food truck-brought-indoors, Camion Qui Fume, practically crossed the Channel. Grown-up sandwiches at boulanger extraordinaire Gontran Cherrier looked tasty, but there was no queue, because, in the face of life choices (or at least weekend dietary decision-making), a meal of macaroons and jellybeans usually triumphs.
One of the nicest, and least frenzied aspects of the fair was the MK2 pop-up theatre, located at the far end of the tent, where kids nestled with their parents in the plush red loveseats, as Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid was projected. When asked what her favourite attractions were, Sarah told i-D, “They were all wonderful, but I thought the David Mallet hair space and the foie gras barbe à papa from Thoumieux were really amazing.”
Here’s to the next 15 years!
Text: Sarah Moroz
Photography: Philip Andelman