The Paris Review, co-founded by the late George Plimpton in 1953 and edited by him for 50 years, has enjoyed some pretty successful collaborations. The quarterly published a Jack Kerouac short story two years before On The Road hit the shelves, for example. Philip Roth and VS Naipaul are among the other lengthy list of names to have been introduced by the Review, which moved the main offices to New York after starting out in the French capital.
This project is a partnership with Aesop, a company which also started out abroad. Now a worldwide operation, the brand produces skincare products so wonderful that they – to quote The Paris Review editor Lorin Stein – “make complete strangers want to smell your face”, which in this context is a good thing.
The location of this seemingly unlikely pairing is Aesop’s store on 9th Street in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood. Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis admits to a full-blown Review addiction which began when he came across back issues in Melbourne years ago. Now he’s on a mission to read every one sober, and his new store offers customers the chance to join him on the joyous task; a selection of the Review’s greatest editions has been curated and made available in store (just make sure you literature obsessives have got all the ointment off your fingers first or you’ll stick the pages together). Added to that, in a brilliantly literal piece of upcycling, back issues of the magazine now form an attractive if less readily readable ceiling installation, and the walls are also covered with important pages from the Review’s past.