At some point during last night's packed opening party for Aesop's cozy store, we were conveniently wedged between an antique sink basin, a makeshift open wine bar, and Paris Review editor Lorin Stein — who was looking particularly fresh-faced and rosy. When asked about his dewy complexion, he let us in on his secrets: "I give all credit to my (Aesop) parsley seed lotion and my cedar oil scalp tonic — which smells good and deters moths."
But, you might be wondering, how did the venerable literary journal find itself in bed with the beauty brand? Aesop founder and creative advisor Dennis Paphitis explains: "I first discovered The Paris Review in a vintage Melbourne bookstore many years ago and became clinically addicted upon reading the 12th issue, published in 1956, which features Jean Stein's interview with William Faulkner." Paphitis then contacted Stein, and one morning over coffee, propositioned the editor — what if Aesop opened a store that also sold issues of the magazine? "Naturally, I said, 'Yes," says Stein.
The shelves have been neatly filled with Aesop's signature amber-hued bottles, while the shop walls have been papered with Paris Review ephemera: a couple rejection notes, a letter to director Pedro Almodovar requesting an interview, pictures of founder George Plimpton from back in the day. But the most impressive installation? The 1,000 original editions of The Paris Review strung from the ceiling — if you were to lie down underneath them, it would look sort of like how a literary professor's living room floor might appear after a psychotic fit.
Aesop Chelsea, 174 Ninth Avenue (between 21st and 22nd streets), 212-929-7838.
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