Tucked away on the mezzanine level of New York's Plaza Hotel is a beauty of a boutique. Assouline,best-known for superb coffee table books that you actually want to read not just admire, is a treasure trove of art, design, fashion, and photography books. If you have ever wondered how Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, and some 100 other top American designers live, new this fall from Assouline is American Fashion Designers at Home
by Rima Suqi. Another stellar publication for fashionistas who yearn or own one of the best Swiss timepieces is Piaget
by Franco Cologni. He documents why this Swiss watch company has maintained its pre-eminence since its founding in 1874.
Beyond books, the Assouline boutique has some of the most exquisitely turned out gifts you will find in the city. Consider the Goyard trunk ($20,000) with 100 memoirs by art, architecture, and fashion trend setters. Another rarity is the most unusual Proust Questionnaire
. These are the questions about personality that the French writer answered at different times in his life, They have been used on TV and in magazines to ferret out what various celebs were thinking. Proust's answer to "Your favorite virtue?" was "The need to be loved; more precisely the need to be caressed and spoiled much more than the need to be admired." The keepsake book of questions includes Proust's answers, blank pages for you or your guests to fill in their answers, as well as the answers from Daniel Boulud and Richard Meier among others. Bound in bright leather ($295) it's a popular house and wedding gift. Assouline has also venture into furniture with an exclusive rendition of architect Oscar Niemeyer's rosewood book stand ($8,500). Just what you need should some Christmas angel give you one of the company's Ultimate Collection titles which include Veruschka, Oscar Niemeyer, Barbie, Tommy Hilfinger, and early next year, a book about Bergdorf Goodman windows. Details at www.assouline.com