The Aesthete: Prosper Assouline talks more personal taste

The co-founder of the eponymous publishing house rounds up his list of likes with the energy of New York living, Lucio Fontana and Chanel Egoïste

Prosper Assouline at home in New York
Prosper Assouline at home in New York | Image: Dorothy Hong

My style icons are two of my friends, Jonathan Becker, an American photographer, and the talent agent and producer Charles Finch, who live in New York and London respectively. They are best friends and they have the same tailor. They might have a jacket that’s a little old with a frayed cuff but it’s so chic and everything is just theirs – no one else has this sensibility.

The person I rely on for personal grooming is Marc Delacre at Cercle Delacre in Paris, who cuts my hair. I hate to go to a place that does men’s and women’s hair – it makes me crazy. 17 Avenue George V, Paris 75008 (+331-4070 9970; cercledelacre.com).

Jonathan Becker and Charles Finch (right)
Jonathan Becker and Charles Finch (right) | Image: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

In my fridge you’ll always find tomatoes, watermelon and Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs. My wife will tell you that when she met me, when I was very young, the only thing that was ever in the fridge was caviar and vodka. £60 for 75cl; ruinart.com.

An object I would never part with is my cell phone, for obvious reasons, but also because I use it to make picture notes. My life is based on curiosity.

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The last meal that truly impressed me was a simple salad of potatoes and onions at La Albariza, a restaurant serving tapas-style dishes in Seville. I love things that are very simple, and this dish is so Andalucian you cannot find it anywhere else. For me, it is like caviar. Calle Betis 6, 41010 Seville (+34954-338 960; laalbariza.es).

If I didn’t live in New York, I would not be able to do what I do. Here, the energy doesn’t come just from you; it comes from everything around you. 

Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs, £60 for 75cl
Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs, £60 for 75cl | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was some brown suede trousers that feel like a pair of old jeans; they are like a second skin. I found them in Jay Kos, this amazing New York store that has quite rock ’n’ roll clothes with clashing colours that I found one night when we were out for dinner. I thought I’d discovered this great new place but then I found out everyone knows him, and he’s been there for 23 years. 293 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012 (+1212-319 2770; jaykos.com).

The grooming staple I’m never without is Chanel Egoïste. Before it was introduced, I used Bois Noir and we could only find it at the Rue Cambon store. £52 for 50ml EDT; chanel.com.

Concetto Spaziale, Attese, 1964, by Lucio Fontana, at a Sotheby’s auction press view in 2014
Concetto Spaziale, Attese, 1964, by Lucio Fontana, at a Sotheby’s auction press view in 2014 | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Lucio Fontana: he pushed the boundaries. I am in love with the canvases with the simple slashes that he made in the early 1960s, but also the back of his work – it was almost as beautiful as the front.

My favourite room is my office in my Paris apartment, even though I only have a few hours there every month. It looks onto the gardens of the Palais Royale, and everything I love is there. 

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The best book I’ve read in the past year is An Artful Life: a Biography of DH Kahnweiler, written by a distant relative, Pierre Assouline, about one of the most important gallerists of the last century. It’s like a thriller, and what is beautiful is the life that surrounded him. I read it again and again. I asked my son to read it when he was 20, and I am going to ask him to read it again now that he is working with me.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would love to be an architect – not that I have any capacity for it. I think it’s the most important job that you can do.  

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