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Mar 13, 2024

Colette’s Sarah Andelman believes reading is cool at Le Bon Marché

Amidst the era of digital dominance, a refreshing breeze stirs. The scent of paper, fountain pens, and library shelves disrupts the icy precision of algorithms. Leading the way is trend guru Sarah Andelman. From 1997 to 2017, she showed the world that Paris was not just about the Eiffel Tower with Colette, a concept store brimming with novelties, accessories, curiosities, and fashion and beauty must-haves. 

At Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, Sarah Andelman has crafted Mise en Page, an extraordinary programme of book-themed animations. Yes, the ones made of paper and ink. In this temple of fashion culture, as described by Émile Zola in his novel “Au bonheur des dames,” a new pop-up will steal the spotlight until April 21st.

Amidst Jean Jullien’s towering paper sculptures from the “Paper People” series, you can discover special edition books, notebooks, and t-shirts adorned with quotes from renowned authors. Fragrant candles like Diptyque’s “Papier” enhance the sensory experience, complemented by intriguing items such as “The Unbearable Lightness of Hair” brush and tote bags from various libraries around the world. Indeed, at Le Bon Marché, you’ll discover souvenir products from renowned bookshops such as The Strand and Pillow-Cat Books in New York, Cow Books in Tokyo, and Book/shop in Oakland. These offerings, spanning from book-related products to more whimsical pieces, celebrate the art of reading and its cherished spaces – bookshops, publishers, and bibliophile houses. 

With her keen insight into public preferences, Colette’s Sarah Andelman has grasped the resurgence of paper and writing among the Screenagers generation. In our dematerialised, digitally-driven society, books are enjoying an unexpected renaissance, especially when read in their original language.

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Across social media platforms, young enthusiasts eagerly swap recommendations for the most alluring bookstores, reminiscent of the communal sharing of cocktail bars in days gone by. The hashtag #booktok serves as a testament to this trend, garnering an impressive 220 billion views.

Gone are the days when literary circles were the domain of middle-aged ladies sporting a slightly British look; today, it’s the young fashion icons who reign supreme. 

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Introducing 22-year-old model Kaia Gerber, who has been creating ripples with the launch of her book club—a platform devoted to sharing literature and showcasing up-and-coming writers. For Gerber, the appeal of reading is undeniable: “Reading is so sexy,” she confidently asserts. And she’s not the only one who thinks so.

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Singer Dua Lipa echoes similar sentiments through her reading circle, Service95, where she shares her favourite reads and emphasises the integral role reading plays in her life: “I have always taken a book with me wherever I go. Reading is a major component of my life and one of my greatest joys.”

But the roster of Gen Z stars enchanted by literature doesn’t end there. Harry Styles was recently snapped with a book by Joan Didion tucked under his arm, while Timothée Chalamet revealed in an interview that he loves “Crime and Punishment” by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, labelling it as one of his favourite reads.

Even Montblanc’s creative director, Marco Tomasetta, shared his passion for books by setting the brand’s advertising campaign in The London Library. “It’s not just a place for studying classics; it’s a reflection of this multicultural city,” said the designer, an avid Virginia Woolf enthusiast. “Here, you can discover a new wave of inspiration in the unexpected, countercultural elements. The spirit of London encourages us to embrace classics by making them our own, adapting them to our style and challenging the conventional.”

It’s clear that many people are now seeking books that transport them “into a world of emotions and adventures, embracing both reality and escapism”, as Sarah Andelman points out.



Silvia Manzoni
Journalist, Paris