Although you wouldn’t figure him to be any older than, oh, say, your favorite older brother, Gilles Assor, U.S. head of the super-chic heritage footwear brand Robert Clergerie, has been around—in the best way. If you’re lucky enough to spend an afternoon hearing about his career in fashion, you’ll get an earful. From Galliano-era Dior to Jean Paul Gaultier’s JPG line (“before streetwear was streetwear”) to Paco Rabanne (“Balmain now is Paco Rabanne back then”) to the first time Birkenstocks were cool (and sanctioned by the Parisian boutique Colette), and from Barbara Bui to Margiela to Marc Jacobs in the era of baby discos at the Palais de Tokyo. Assor’s narrative résumé is just plain killer. If he weren’t so sweet and fun, he’d be pretty darn intimidating.
And as much as he knows about fashion (in case that isn’t clear yet, it’s A LOT), he’s also a pretty good resource for all things Chelsea. He’s lived in New York’s art gallery–studded neighborhood for four years, and the Robert Clergerie showroom, Assor’s “office,” has been in the Chelsea Arts Tower for two.
We were lucky enough to while away a few hours there with this fine Frenchman a few weeks ago. He snuck us up to the showroom’s rooftop event space, The Glasshouses, and pointed out the sites from on high: the seemingly singular one-story building where Donna Karan is said to be hosting her next runway show, the Frying Pan, the condos with drive-in, elevator-up garages (!).
“Realtors around here are now buying the sky,” he said in his spot-on, deadpan way. We left it at that—except for the following download on galleries, cocktails, coffee and, naturally, summer’s best shoes. (And some other stuff too.)