Style | The Aesthete

Martine Assouline talks personal style: Part Two

The co-founder of the Assouline fashion and arts publishing house concludes her directory of tasteful revelations.

December 02 2011
Avril Groom

My style icon is Gena Rowlands, the American actress who is [American film director, actor and screenwriter] John Cassavetes’ widow. She has such character and natural style and has not lost her femininity with age. On the contrary, she is more interesting, attractive and powerful as a woman.

The site that inspires me is MAXXI – the National Museum of Twenty-First Century Art in Rome, which was designed by Zaha Hadid and is the most incredible space. It opened in 2010, after 10 years of planning and building, and is like a sculpture in itself, as exciting as the events which go on there. Via Guido Reni 4a, 00196 Rome (+3906-3996 7350; www.fondazionemaxxi.it).

An object I would never part with is Les Anges Planétaires, a tiny book on angels and how to intercede with them and learn from their influence. I find the words help in many areas of my life. I’ve had it for 25 years and it goes everywhere with me. www.editions-bussiere.com.

An indulgence I would never forego is, whenever I’m in Paris, to eat at L’Ami Louis, a fantastic old bistro that’s like a club of friends and acquaintances. I always go with friends who know how to enjoy themselves and we don’t worry about putting on weight. It’s always a fabulous moment. 32 Rue du Vertbois, 75003 Paris (+331-4887 7748).

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe is a black dress by Alaïa, who is my favourite designer. I get one piece each season and each time I plan on something different but it’s always a black dress and I never throw them away or pass them on. Azzedine Alaïa, 7 Rue de Moussy, 75004 Paris (+331-4027 8558).

My favourite room in my house is the library of my apartment in the historic Palais-Royal in Paris. It has a beautiful view of the gardens and we put a table in front of the open French doors so we can eat there.

The best gift I’ve given recently is a beautiful, handmade limited edition of one of our books, Ballets Russes by André Tubeuf. I sent it to Karl Lagerfeld, and he loved it. $750, www.assouline.com.

And the best gift I’ve received is a gold ring set with ebony from Nardi in Venice, a wonderfully old-fashioned jeweller with a real sense of ancient glamour. Piazza San Marco 69, Venice (+39041-522 5733; www.nardi-venezia.com).

The people I rely on for grooming and style are Edward Touhadian, my personal trainer and fitness adviser in many ways – he teaches me how to stand, how to be, how to stay strong and flexible, and helps me understand that the body needs to be valued – and Ricardo Rojas, who is a genius at cutting hair. Edward Touhadian, +1917-623 4718; etouhadian@gmail.com Ricardo Rojas Salon, 30 East 67th Street, New York (+1212-721 5900; ricardorojassalon.com).

If I didn’t live in New York and Paris, the city I would live in is Hong Kong. It has a mix of modern energy and the old Oriental side, which is like a myth or something from a film. Plus I have a lot of friends there and I love the way they go to China or India for a long weekend – it’s a great centre.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a documentary filmmaker. I’m fascinated by film and current events and I like the idea of being able to educate and give pleasure in this way.