Twenty years ago, publishing magnate Prosper Assouline was holidaying in the south of France with his wife when he was inspired to create a beautiful book about one of his favourite hotels in the world, the Colombe d’Or. It was to prove the start of his eponymous publishing company, which has since produced over 1,200 fashion, art, design and architecture books.
On Tuesday October 28, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the firm is moving into its first international flagship store, a handsome 1922 Edward Lutyens-designed building on London’s Piccadilly. The store will sell a curated range of beautiful vintage Assouline books alongside new titles such as Krug by Krug Lovers (£40) and Valentino: At the Emperor’s Table (£95, third picture), a window into entertaining in the style of the flamboyant fashion designer.
Budding bibliophiles wishing to create a one-off special piece can use the Assouline book binding service (price on request), while those wanting something more bijou can personalise notebooks (£160) and leather book bags (from £550). Elsewhere, a range of candles (£35, first picture) in scents including paper and wood evokes a bookish air. A cabinet of curiosities displays interesting ephemera along with prints and gifts, including photo frames (£90), paperweights (£95) and bookmarks (£16) and the company’s letterheaded paper and stationery (cards from £6.50, second picture).
The room, designed to look like the sort of library you might want in your own home, will also have a bespoke library service (price on request). And lastly, perhaps the jewel in the crown is the Swan Bar, which will be serving dishes from breakfast time to early dinner, including foie gras and Spanish ham, coffee, tea and champagne.