After co-founding the iconic concept store Colette in 1997, Andelman’s name was etched in cultural history and her influence spread far beyond the confines of retail. Her collaborations became the symphony of a new generation, uniting brands, artists, and musicians in a harmonious crescendo of creativity. When the curtains closed on Colette in 2017, the stage was set for a new artistic chapter— Just an Idea, a publishing house. 

Just an Idea is a testament to Andelman’s bold embrace of the physical in a digital age. The collectible books she publishes reveal a curated world that transcends their paper binding. At a time when the ephemeral often overshadows the tangible, Just an Idea rekindles our connection to the real. 

hube: Can studying the history of art help cultivate good taste? Or is such ‘taste’ a gift?

Sarah Andelman: I don’t know what good taste is, and I don’t think there is just one kind of good taste; it’s very subjective. The impact of the history of art on our perception is more about knowledge. I think it’s important to know the past in order to understand the present and the future. The history of art is so large and mysterious that I don’t think it’s related to learning good or bad taste. Instead, I think that understanding how creativity has developed over time allows us to better appreciate contemporary art or fashion with context.

h: You were one of the first visionaries to acknowledge the potential of interdisciplinary collaborations; your work has combined art, music, fashion, design, and gastronomy. Are there any other disciplines we should add to this list?

SA: I’m really interested in everything from food to beauty, music, and sport. I admire passionate people. I love people who create new things and push ideas outside of the box and into different fields. I love people who go hiking in the mountains ☺ it’s a great way to break things up. I would say it’s life in general that fascinates me. I love learning and exploring how everything is connected.

h: Given the prevailing shift towards digital formats, your enthusiasm for traditional print projects might surprise some people. Could you tell us about this? 

SA: I have always loved books. I think the tactile experience of a book is something that we can always appreciate, even in our fabulous digital world. My motivation came from some of the artists I was following on Instagram. Sho Shibuya and Nicole McLaughlin were part of the first series I worked on. I assumed that for an audience, it was too frustrating, too limiting to see and appreciate their art through a screen. For example, Sho Shibuya’s work is strongly connected to paper; he paints on the New York Times every day. I thought that if we put something on Instagram that was originally on paper, that if it only existed in the digital realm, we would really lose something. So that’s how I started Just an idea books. 

I believe there is always space for books. From generation to generation, they remain across time. They’re objects that have so much value. Despite spending so much time on our screens, I think we still need those moments where we just sit and read a book. It’s inspiring. 

There was this moment in fashion, when everybody was thinking: “Maybe we should do a movie instead of a fashion show,” but we realised very quickly that seeing a proper show is everything. Movement and music create a feeling that a movie can’t transmit, and it’s the same with the books you read. They’re something tangible that you can give or keep. I think we need this tactile, paper feeling.

h: Complexity and simplicity in art have a complicated relationship. Minimalism can be profound, while excessiveness risks being dull. What kind of contemporary visual art are you attached to these days?

SA: Oh gosh, there is a lot. I love the classics, but I’m also very much inspired by the works of new artists. As I said, I like when there is colour, so artists like Josh Sperling spring to mind. I also love art in which there lives a sense of the absurd. I realise most of the artworks that have really touched me have done so because they have made me laugh, made me smile; because there was something about them that was a little weird or unexpected. I like artists with humour.

h: We’d like to ask if you think it is possible to separate an artist from their work?

SA: I don’t think so. I think that would be almost strange. If we separate the artist from their work, if a person is not aligned with what their art says, I’m not sure whether they would be the kind of artist I like. You feature Daniel Arsham and Marina Abramovic in your magazine. They are both really representative of their work. It is an extension of who they are. I think it’s difficult to imagine people being disconnected from their work. Daniel is a good example. He is making sculptures, paintings, and drawings, and is involved in all of these beautiful collaborations. I think there are more and more renaissance artists who want to cover different worlds; I think it’s part of their personality, to experiment and to explore new things. 


Photography by AMÉLIE AMBROISE

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