Sarah Andelman is a big name in fashion retail. After founding the legendary Parisian concept store Colette with her mother in 1997, the duo shifted the fashion shopping landscape forever, merging a clothing store, art gallery, bookshop and restaurant all into one location on the city’s Rue Saint Honoré. The pair also mixed high fashion and streetwear together well before it was the norm, and were one of the first to stock pieces by Simone Rocha, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler and Mary Katrantzou.
All of that stopped in 2017, when it was announced that the store would be closing its doors after 20 years. 'Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and Colette cannot exist without Colette,' said the company in a statement at the time, as the fashion world wept.
But luckily for us, Andelman has been whittling away at a new project: a publishing, consulting and curating endeavour called Just an Idea. Her latest move? Books - an unsurprising venture, given her innate love of printed matter. Just an Idea Books has officially launched with five titles from Canadian wordsmith Douglas Coupland, Japanese artist Sho Shibuya, New York-based designer Nicole McLaughlin, Parisian florist Louis-Géraud Castor and sneaker aficionado Eric Ng. True to Andelman's eclectic taste, these books and their subjects make for a unique bunch.
'These artists were already creating amazing work, but I noticed it was limited to a spreading via Instagram and social media, exclusively online. I felt it was frustrating to not have them on paper, for a different approach,' says Andelman over email. 'We need this contact with paper, it’s a completely different interaction with content than [with] a screen.'
Novelist and visual artist Douglas Coupland, who published a downloadable edition of his book tour diary from the year 2000 with SHOWstudio last Christmas, is know primarily for his colourful aphorisms on modern day life and popular culture. His singular most popular slogan is 'i miss my pre-internet brain.' 'I’ve now done slogans in almost all media in many languages around the world. It keeps growing. I’m unsure if I have the power to stop them,' he writes over email. His biggest influence is American artist Jenny Holzer and her biting series of Truisms, which she began to create in 1977.
While describing a visit to Holzer’s Guggenheim show in 1988, Coupland writes of the experience of witnessing the artist's Truisms in the flesh. 'There was a magic moment near the end where the world dropped away from me and suddenly, I was in a world composed only of words, a universe of text, and it was transformative. Her work is as important to young artists as is Warhol or Picasso,' he says. Coupland's book contains a foreword written by British graphic designer and artist Peter Saville, which Coupland describes as a 'dream come true', and features ten new slogans and an essay by the artist.
Japanese artist Sho Shibuya's New York Times paintings from 2020 also attempt to interpret the chaos of the modern world. From the start of lockdown, he began painting the sky in luminescent shades of blues, purples and oranges, as seen from his Brooklyn apartment window. Made as an act of daily meditation in contrast with the newspaper's headlines charting the rampant chaos of the world in 2020, the series ended as Joe Biden was elected president of the United States, signalling a hopeful new era for American politics.
Reflecting on the first chapter of an exciting new venture, Andelman says of the five titles: 'I like their diversity, it’s quite extreme actually, but they reflect for me how a simple idea can become a phenomenon, each one in a very different way.'