Claire de Rouen is one of London's most celebrated bookshops. When its owner, Claire, passed away last year, its far-flung supporters were relieved to hear the shop will continue to remain open. Leading a new chapter for the shop is Royal College of Art-trained artist Lucy Moore.
While at the same time painting in her east London studio, Moore has spent the last months making plans for the shop's future. Continuing Claire's approach – maintaining a carefully considered selection of international fashion and photography titles and supporting emerging talent – Moore has also organised the shop's latest exhibition, featuring the work of celebrated photographer Norbert Schoerner alongside recommended reading lists under the title Chance Claire. AnOther Magazine was proud to be invited to kick off the series, nominating photographic publications by Lina Scheynius, Craig McDean, Mark Borthwick, Lise Sarfati and Walter Pfeiffer.
Here, Moore reveals how she first became involved in Claire de Rouen and her future plans...
How did you come to be involved in Claire de Rouen?
When I first met my boyfriend, Ned, I mentioned that one day I'd love to have my own bookshop. It was just a dream but he said I should meet Claire, a friend of his, and ask her advice. He told me to wear my Pierre Hardy shoes and when I met her I understood why! She was beautiful, glamorous and so clearly passionate about photography. We talked about me working for her, but it was around the same time that Ned and I decided to go to live in Australia, so it didn't happen. When Claire became ill she asked if I'd take on the day to day running of the shop for her. I didn't make it back from Sydney fast enough to do that, but I'm happy I managed to save the shop, with some friends, and I feel very honoured that I'm able to carry on what she started.
"I feel very honoured that I'm able to carry on what Claire started"
What do you enjoy most about running a bookshop?
The best thing without question is when young photographers come into the shop with their books, which often very few people have seen, and give me the opportunity to share their work with my customers.
What are your future plans?
I'm building a new collection of art books in the shop, related to my painting practice. I'm also working on developing a programme of events, including Chance Claire, the reading list project that just launched, and on a publishing project with Lily Cole, one of my closest friends and a super intelligent woman. Next week, the London outpost of Opening Ceremony is opening, and Claire de Rouen will present a collection of books and magazines especially for the space.
How did the reading list idea come about?
Claire and I shared a love of the idea of browsing, and the chance encounter with a book you didn't expect to find. Chance Claire is a way of introducing new books into the shop that is collaborative – each person or group invited proposes a list of five books with a particular focus – there will be future Chance Claires on Italian photography and inspiration for millinery, for example. I'm interested in stocking books that are chosen by different people, so the shop becomes like a jigsaw of different people's loves and interests. Of course I also have very strong tastes myself, as does Ryan who also works for me. I listen to customers a lot and buy what they like too.
Visit the new Claire de Rouen website here.
Text by Laura Bradley