Since moving to the United States from France in the mid-1990s, Prosper and Martine Assouline have made a significant mark on the world of publishing with their shared belief that words and images have the power to transform lives. The brand’s story began with the goal of creating a new, contemporary style of book, drawing upon the couple’s experienced eye for visually rich stories and compelling narratives. Based on the credo that “culture is the best passport for a good mind, and that good minds will make a better world,” Assouline Publishing was born. Over the years, Assouline has developed the well-earned reputation of being the cultural authority on luxury lifestyle with its wide ranging books on design, architecture, jewelry, travel, and food and drink, to name just a few.
For the last quarter of a century, Assouline has energized the book market by designing products that are modern, luxurious, and highly creative. The publisher is recognized for creating books that are both informative and beautiful works of art. From the traditional technique utilized of hand-binding covers to the imagery that captures the imagination of the reader, Assouline’s passion and attention to detail is evident in each of its publications. The roster of collaborators working with Assouline includes some of the world’s most respected artists, photographers, writers, designers, and more, who together, bring the books to life.
“OUR PASSION AND OUR ATTENTION TO DETAIL ARE LIKE THAT OF AN HAUTE COUTURE ATELIER. THIS DEVOTION ORIGINATES FROM RESPECT—A RESPECT FOR THE PRODUCT AND THE METHODS OF CREATION.”
Assouline’s first retail space, opened in 2003, was housed on the seventh floor of New York’s Bergdorf Goodman. The department store’s CEO recognized that, while other publishers created interesting books, Assouline’s niche was closely tied to all things associated with luxury — from haute couture, art, architecture, design, and travel — precisely the type of clientele that frequented Bergdorf’s.
The publisher has come a long way from having just the one retail space. Assouline now has 13 shops and 20 “branded corners’‘ in prominent places across the globe, including the flagship Maison Assouline in London. Gucci, which has published a book with Assouline, named the London Maison one of its “Gucci Places,” which “reflect the taste and values of the House.”
With over fifteen hundred one-of-a-kind titles and four main collections to its credit, Assouline has also curated some of the world’s most aspirational libraries.
The Ultimate Collection
This collection is a tribute to the art of luxury bookmaking. Using traditional techniques, with color plates hand-tipped on art-quality paper, each page of this limited-edition series is hand-bound and bears the unique imprint of the artisan. Covering a wide range of topics from jewelry and fashion, fine art, and the Impossible Collections, the Ultimate Collection succeeds in curating culture from around the world.
Essentially a sub-group within the Ultimate Collection, the Impossible Collection is curated by specialists — collectors, curators and industry leaders — and is, essentially, the epitome of Assouline. These limited editions collate some of the world’s most highly sought after objects as seen through the eyes of experts. Individual topics, among many others, include Formula 1 cars, wine, football, whiskey, watches, and cigars. Hand bound and elegantly presented in linen cases on art-quality paper, these books are the essence of Assouline’s luxurious sophistication.
The Legends Collection
Covering such quintessential brands as Rimowa, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Montblanc, to name just a few, the Legends Collection contains titles that are regarded as the authority on their subjects. Inspiring cultural influencers of today, these hardcover tomes are housed in their own elegant slipcases.
The Classics Collection
Those seeking unique insights on travel will find a wide variety of highly collectible, immaculately illustrated books within the Classics Collection. Included in the collection are tomes devoted to design, art, fashion, and everything in between.
The Icons Collection
This collection features the best-selling “In the Spirit of” destination series, lifestyle titles, and inspiring movements spanning centuries. In trademark Assouline style, the books of the Icons Collection feature exotic adventures, glamorous destinations, and fascinating characters.
“WE WANT OUR BOOKS TO BE BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE THEY SURROUND US AND WE LIVE BETTER AMONG THEM.”
The Assouline Lifestyle Brand
Even though Prosper and Martine Assouline believe in books more than everything else, they, and one of their adult children, Alex, who helps his parents run the business, made the decision to expand the Assouline lifestyle brand in stores around the globe. The brand strives to create all that can be expected in a chic and personalized library setting, from beautiful books and special editions to luxury gift items, unique library accessories, and now a complete turnkey collection of stylish furniture. Assouline has worked with top perfumers to create scented candles, with Goyard for a book trunk, and with Chanel on a quilted leather slipcase.
The Assoulines also work with the Related Companies, the real-estate developer that is among the largest landowning companies in Manhattan. The developer contracted with the Assoulines to put a library lounge in the Caledonia, a hybrid rental-condo building in Chelsea, as one of several on-site amenities that include an Equinox gym and high-end dog care. The Assoulines designed the space and picked the books. “All of the advertising was ‘Equinox for your body, Assouline for your mind,’ ” Prosper says. Two years ago, they came back to “refresh” the lounge; another refresh is planned, and Related has brought them into more buildings, including 15 Hudson Yards and the luxury Lantern House near the High Line.
ASSOULINE BEGAN ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH ONE TREE PLANTED IN 2019 AND WILL CONTINUE ITS CONTRIBUTION IN HELPING THIS INITIATIVE BY PLANTING TREES IN AREAS WHERE THEIR PAPER HAS BEEN SOURCED.
Partnering with non-profit One Tree Planted, Assouline joins the group’s mission for a more sustainable world. In an effort to become an environmentally conscious company, Assouline has committed to planting one tree for every book sold. By planting trees in areas where the paper for the brand’s books has been sourced, a sustainable cycle will be created by sourcing paper from the trees it planted after approximately fifteen years. Assouline will then be able to produce numerous books from its own, responsibly sourced trees.