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Home to stunning monographs of the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Picasso, Cartier and Cadillac, the arsenal of publishing house Assouline is a what’s what of the luxury world’s most defining figures, brands and places. And whilst stacks of luxury tomes might have become mainstays of stylish coffee table vignettes of late, Martine Assouline – one half of the husband and wife team who founded the company – has always appreciated the worth of a good book. The Frenchwoman has built an empire on her seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of all things luxury, style and quality – well, what else could be expected of someone who counts Azzedine Alaïa and Valentino as friends, the person commissioned by Lee Radziwill (the sister of Jackie Kennedy) to create a book about her life and is a regular globetrotter? It only makes sense that the Assouline family have branched out from publishing to opening boutique-like bookstores, trading in collectibles and designing commissioned libraries. As Martine says, “It’s a lifestyle.” And what a lifestyle it is.
Apart from a well-curated library (obviously), Martine reveals that people should invest in a “large, comfortable and beautiful” sofa and claims it is the starting point of a room. “It is my nest,” she tells us, “I can spend hours there; reading, eating, chatting with friends, resting, dreaming, working.”
Whereas other firms present themselves as curators of culture, Assouline seeks to be an engine of culture.
This year is a big one for the Assoulines – they’re celebrating a commendable 20 years in the industry. What’s now considered France’s largest independent publisher, their company has certainly come a long way since Assouline’s first book La Colombe d’Or with new branches popping up around the world including their very first bookstore, Maison Assouline, in London’s Piccadilly.
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