The correct shade of Colette blue is called 293c Pantone. Like so many Colette collaborators before him, Silas Adler—founder and designer of Danish menswear brand Soulland—knows the color code by heart. The legendary Parisian store, headed up by Sarah Andelman, is not only famous for its select choice of products, but also the never-ending parade of exclusive partnerships and one-offs. Next up to get the Rue Saint-Honoré treatment is Adler’s small-but-up-and-coming Copenhagen-based brand.
Adler, who just debuted his AW15 collection at London Collections: Men, is on a roll. His very personal and unique take on Scandinavian menswear, one that he’s been crafting since 2002, sits comfortably alongside contemporaries such as Acne Studios, Wood Wood, and Our Legacy. Unlike many other recent Colette collaborators, Soulland is a small-timer, but the relationship is still a solid and long-standing one. “I started working with Colette two years ago when we did the Babar collection,” Adler explains. “I got in touch about carrying the collaboration, and that’s how I met Sarah. They ended up launching the whole collection, and since then we’ve been on the shop floor.”
For the limited SS15 collection, Adler wanted to present a full look instead of just T-shirts and sweatshirts. And for his inspiration, Adler looked to Paris, a city to which he has personal ties: “Paris is classic—it refuses to renew itself, but it works as if time is not standing still. It moves forward without changing too much, and I love that about Paris.” The collection is inspired by tourist merchandise. “I’ve always been interested in merch, like band T-shirts and so on. But there’s something special about Paris because the buildings here—the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe—look so good on the postcards, tourist T-shirts, and polyester scarves. For me there is no better tourist merch than what you can buy in Paris…Better than London, better than New York—it’s just classy in its own tacky way.”
Adler then took this commercial and mainstream aspect of Paris and mixed it with a dose of counterculture. “As a skater, I’m always looking for potential spots—or if you’re in a park, for example, I think about what could be done to make it skate-able. And last time I was in Paris I went to the Tuileries Garden, which is really close to Colette, and I wondered if I could skate there. You can’t, as it’s made up of grass and gravel, so the idea behind the collection was to create a tourist-merchandise-inspired collection about being able to skate in the Tuileries Garden.” But since it’s impossible to do that in real life, Adler had to make up an imaginary skater who was able to skate there. “We’ve even created an animated film where you can see him skate in the park. And the print is inspired by all the statues you see in the Tuileries Garden. But it’s all done in my very analogue way of drawing.”
Colette’s strength is that the store is so well-curated that it makes you feel that every single thing is handpicked, even though there are thousands of things on sale at any given time. “Yes,” Adler summarizes, “there’s a high level of quality of what comes through the door. They’re good at making stuff look good and fit in, even though it might be a €1 Haribo sweet sitting next to a €50K watch. That’s the skill of Colette, to display things in a way that it always looks new and fresh…”