by Ariston Anderson
Today we went to the new secret hat atelier beneath the Selima store on Bond Street in New York. Accessory and eyeglass designer extraordinaire Selima Salaun recently set up shop with her friend Virginie Promeyrat to launch a new line, Hats by Selima. They started the line through a shared passion for hats and with the goal of serving as each other's design muses.
The atelier is full of vintage clothing and accessories collected on Selima's journeys around the world. Drawing from scarves, tulle, ribbons, buttons and beads, the collection is the perfect inspiration for each one-of-a-kind hat. Reviving old school millineries, clients are invited to come to the shop, have their head measured, and pick out the colors and designs for their hat and each hat is hand blocked and hand sewn in New York. Customers can also bring in a design idea of their own and have a hat custom made from start to finish.
While the fall/winter hats are felted, the upcoming spring/summer collection is all straw. There are six basic styles, including a bowler, a capeline, a cloche and two unisex fedoras, all hand-braided. A short top hat crosses the line between cabaret and elegance, while a crème straw fedora drums up the image of a perfect Brooklyn summer night hat. The collection is just as suitable for the beach as it is for a night out.
Virginie was influenced by the Caribbean for her spring/summer palette. Shades of aqua, royal blue, silver, magenta and lavender allude to the island of St. Barth. "The colors were my number one inspiration," she says. "I love colors, and especially now, the times we're living in, I need to see colors all around me. When I go out now I want people to have a smile on their face when they look at me.â" With the hats decorated in feathers, jewels, chains, brocade ribbons and silk floral designs, it's hard not to smile at each unique creation.
In addition to brightening our moods, the hats make a good indulgence in a recession as an accessory that will jazz up what you already own. "Now people aren't buying a lot of designer clothes," she says, "so what you need is one amazing accessory and then you can wear it with simple clothes."
"These hats are for everyone, because we have classical shapes and classical colors and then we have very unique hats," she says. "There are people who say they don't have a head for a hat. That's like saying you don't have a fit for shoes. Everyone can wear a hat, but you have to try them on and experiment."
As hats have become indoor accessories as well, the new line also includes a stunning cocktail collection, from small head pieces with ornate decorations to mini top hats embezzled with buttons and brooches. The head pieces are attached with an elastic band around the head and incorporate a variety of decorations, according to the client's wishes. They've also teamed up with jewelry designer Lulu Frost who will bring her ornate jewelry to trim select pieces of the collection. The cocktail head pieces are much easier to wear than a headband and a lot more fun—just the thing for a surrealist tea party .
Prices are around $280-350 and the hats are available in any of Selima's boutiques in New York, Los Angeles and Paris, as well as at Lolita Jaca in St. Barth. Cocktail hats start at around $200, can go upwards of $600 for very complicated detail and are only available in Selima's Bond 07 shop. Each hat includes a luxurious hat storage box.