Saturday, 19 January 2013

Guilty pleasure of the day - Assouline albums

I must have been around 15 when I first heard of Assouline and, at the time, I was going through a secret "I want to be a chic Parisian" phase. My dreams of growing up consisted, mainly, in dressing in neutral black and white, sensually smoking cigarettes over a glass of wine and living in an apartment with books on the floor and beautiful art albums. So, when I found out about Assouline and first touched one of their albums, I immediately integrated it into my dreams. And that's because they were just right - beautiful luxury books about the 'savoir vivre', in all the different shapes it can take. Responsible for some of the world’s most beautiful and luxurious books, Assouline publishes subjects that represent the full spectrum of its two founders’ interests, the very pinnacles of lifestyle: art, design, travel, and of course, fashion. For it isn’t just knowing how to live, but knowing what to cherish, what to immortalize, and what to present to the world. 

The story behind the brand is just as marvelous as the albums it publishes. Prosper and Martine Assouline are two very interesting, erudite people (Martine is African-born and Swiss- and South American-raised; Prosper was Morocco-born and Paris-bred) that, in 1991, they fell in love, married, and then had their son Alexander. The couple welcomed their second “child” in ‘95, in the form of their first published collaboration. With words by Martine and images by Prosper, the book depicts La Colombe D’Or, a charming hotel in the south of France they call a “second home” — and which also boasts one of the world’s most impressive collections of modern art. Since that first book, they've published over 1,000 titles, running the gamut from 'Picasso' to 'In the spirit of St. Barths' or 'The Trench Coat'. My favourite? 'Gaia', Guy Lalibert√©’s collection of photographs of the Earth shot while aboard a private space voyage, 'Barbie', 'The big book of Chic', 'Bals' and 'Dior'. Five different topics, but all equally guiltily luxurious and necessary for a truly stand-out lifestyle.

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