Maison Assouline: A Dream Come True

You could easily pass it by. I know I did. Until the day, when heading for lunch atThe Mark, I found the doors at 25 East 77th Street, steps off Madison Avenue, wide open. Within was one of the smallest and coolest bookshops in town—an outpost of the luxury brand Maison Assouline.

As I spoke to the congenial representative, I learned that Maison Assoulinewas about far more than handsomely bound books with bespoke bindings and special editions that would make for lovely gifts.

Itseems that last year, the publishing firm,  Assouline, celebrated its twentieth anniversary with the opening of a flagship store in London’s Piccadilly Circus in an historic building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1922. And then they went on to furnish that lovely building with everything one could possibly want in a well-furnished library.

Since 1994, they have published 1400 titles and have opened 18 stores worldwide.

To think it started with a dream. Prosper Assouline, the publisher, and his wife Martine had long wanted to create a home for culture, at the heart of which are the books, beautiful books and unique library accessories. Now they have added a line of library furnishings, including a traditional line of furniture called “High Society” and another more contemporary line called “Allure.”

Then, too, there are the curios collected from all over the world. The scented candlesmade by top perfumers, the leather goods made by the same people who make the Louis Vuitton line. Indeed, French luxury conglomerateLVMH is an investor in Assouline, a part of the family.

When a few years back, Prosper and Martine Assoulinedesigned their ideal library for the Neiman Marcus annual Christmas catalog, the contents of the room sold for $125, 000 the very first day the catalog appeared. Sold to a woman living in Montana who wanted all of the library furnishings — from the books and curios to the tables and carpet.  It was like having Ralph Lauren furnish a room for you,  with everything delivered in one fell swoop. Now that’s a dream worth having.

And that’s it for today, Guys and Gals, as I’m off to celebrate my birthday.  If you’re on Madison Avenue, be sure to stop by and take a peek at Assouline.  But should you be heading for London,  you can get the full effect  at their flagship store at  Piccadilly. You could even visit Swans Bar located within that emporium.  In New York, in addition to the shop at The Mark Hotel, they have shops at the Plaza Hotel and in the Decoration & Design building.

Hope to see you next week…I’ll have the coffee ready.  Until then, remember that caring is sharing. Merci beaucoup.

Beth Beauchamp