Trendsetter: Luxury Fashion & Lifestyle Book Publisher Prosper Assouline

There is one place where parading your fashion labels around and showcasing the jet-setting lifestyle for all to gloat over is not

Ceciel Beaton by Assouline

only perfectly acceptable, but highly encouraged: the coffee table. And boutique publishing house Assouline has elevated this to an art form by making its chic tomes on fashion, design, art and architecture de rigueur table-candy for style aficionados of all ranks — from aspiring to arrived.

Suddenly, trotting out your quilted Chanel, displaying the Dior, flaunting your Fornasetti and showing off luxe trips to Cannes and Venice isn’t nouveau riche, but rather an essential component of a rich, contemporary library of style. Indeed, the 15-year-old Parisian publishing house covers all of the aforementioned subjects. Its top-three bestsellers are “The Chanel 3 Book Set” Special edition with quilted leather slipcase and original metal Chanel logo, “Dior” and “Conde Nast Traveler’s Room with a View.”

Today marked the debut of the company’s newest retail concept, Assouline Books, Gifts, & Gallery at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., the fourth freestanding boutique for the luxury book publisher, and the first location to have the full line of hand-curated gifts and a dedicated gallery space for rare art and museum-quality prints and art pieces.

Check your Kindle at the door, please. Tactile is the word of the day here. Real books that you can hold, caress and covet are

Assouline Paris store

Assouline Paris

flaunted at this chic spot modeled after founder Prosper Assouline’s own library. Elegant ecru lacquered shelving, richly painted red walls, and personally curated objets d’art from Prosper and wife Martine’s global travels set the tone. The store also features signature Didot-lettered carpeting and the Mondrian eighteen-foot “Wall of Books.” Assouline’s Paris boutique, which opened in 2005, was the first freestanding boutique for the company. They followed up with a New York outpost at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, and a location bowed last year at the Crystals at City Center in Las Vegas.

Goyard trunk from Assouline

Goyard Trunk filled with Assouline Books

Suddenly, shopping for that “person who has everything” category just got a lot simpler. Traveler? Try a vintage globe or telescope. Sexy secretary? We suggest a

Assouline candel

Assouline candle

cashmere blanket paired with library-theme scented candles. Fashion maven? Leather bag designed in collaboration with MCM. Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley? The pièce de résistance: a one-of-a-kind, special-edition Goyard trunk that doubles as a library. It contains 100 titles and sells for a cool $20K.

Goyard is good. Very good. But we think that the ultimate luxury at Assouline is the personal library service, curated by Prosper or an Assouline professional who will assemble a library for a client’s home, yacht, or plane. (Contact Assouline for pricing.)
With that in mind, Fashion Trends Daily got the final word from Prosper Assouline on the new concept that bowed at South Coast Plaza, and creating a stylish library of one’s own.

Martine and Prosper Assouline

Martine and Prosper Assouline (Photo by Jordan Doner)

Fashion Trends Daily: What are some of your most cherished books in your own collection?
Prosper Assouline: The rarest of rare tomes I find on my travels with Martine, my wife. I have one about Romania and the crown jewels. There were only 30 printed and it’s signed by the Queen.

FTD: What inspired you to add on the gallery concept?
PA: We sell art and objects of note in each stores, however it’s important to offer a full line in the South Coast Plaza market. You will find sets of limited-edition prints and one-of-a-kind, rare pieces.

FTD: How often are you called upon to create a personal library, and is it something you personally oversee?
PA: I personally oversee each and every design decision for the company and private design projects are a personal passion for me.  We have created private libraries for clients in hotels, second homes, and we’re currently designing libraries for yachts.

FTD: Are people’s tastes in art books changing? What are they gravitating toward right now?
PA: Fashion, Art and Architecture are our best categories. Peoples taste are ever expanding and more and more sophisticated these days.

FTD: Can you give us a few tips for the new collector who wants to build up a special library?
PA: It’s important to have books that touch on all aspects of culture: fashion, art, architecture, travel, photography, the culinary arts and viticulture. It’s also important to consider more than the content of the books. When designing a library beautiful books can be as important as tomes with great content.

FTD: What are the top 5 fashion books that fashion lovers must have in their library?
PA: Dior, Chanel set of three, the entire series we did with CFDA [Council of Fashion Designers of America]: “American Fashion,“American Fashion Menswear,” “American Fashion Accessories,” “American Fashion Cookbook,” and now “American Fashion Designers at Home.” And this fall’s [upcoming release of ‘Beaton The Art of The Scrapbook’ ”

OK, so we counted a few more than five must-owns. But if Prosper Assouline is curating, who are we to quibble with an extra few?

**Prosper Assouline will greet guests Tuesday, October 5 at the South Coast Plaza store from 6 pm to 10 pm during South Coast Plaza Style, an evening of fall fashion events, in-store appearances and more.

To see the full collection of titles, go to
The South Coast Plaza store is located at 3333 Bristol, Costa Mesa, Calif., Level 1, Nordstrom Wing

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.