What to Wear in Chelsea with Gilles Assor of Robert Clergerie

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.)

Coolest piece of architecture in the neighborhood: The IAC Building.

Best gallery block: Twenty-fourth between 10th and 11th; Gagosian was just showing the new work of Richard Prince during Frieze—amazing!

Best time to visit the Clergerie showroom at 545 West 25th: June 2 through June 16, between 9 to 10:30 in the morning, because we are partnering with Joe Coffee to give out freshly brewed fuel. While you won’t be able to get up to the actual showroom unless you’re on official business, all are welcome to stop by for a cup of Joe.

What to wear while walking around in Chelsea: The Robert Clergerie Teba or the Robert Clergerie Frazziaj.


Shop: Robert Clergerie Teba woven raffia sneaker in black and natural
(also available in natural)

Shop: Robert Clergerie Frazziaj platform sandal in horsehair
(also available in black and black and natural woven raffia)


Best place to get lunch in the neighborhood: Cookshop.

Best place to get dinner: Americano Hotel—but on the roof only!

Best hotel: The High Line.

Best bar in the neighborhood: Bathtub Gin and Gallow Green, but also only on the rooftop.

Best club: Marquee for the sound, but it depends on the lineup.

Most amazing man in fashion so far: Pierre Cardin, he is such a gentleman. I told him that the first time I ever heard his name was in Back to the Future [the French version]—Marty McFly is wearing Pierre Cardin and it becomes one of his nicknames.

Best approach to navigating the fashion industry: Have fun and do crazy stuff.

Daily uniform: I have 25 of the same black Margiela sweater, and when I’m not wearing Robert Clergerie for men, I wear Nikes. I have 125 pairs—I’m not a collector though. I’m going to wear them all; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Shop: Robert Clergerie

—Laura Cassidy