With an infectious smile framed by hats of her own design, Selima feels that freedom and spirituality are the greatest gifts that one can have-- next to her Pierre Hardy shoes, that is! (Just kidding.) Though she grew up in Tunisia and went to optometry school in Paris, she considers NYC her hometown, with its melting pot of different cultures, religions, and people. To her, it's a land of opportunity.”It's very spiritual,” she says. And though her daughter Zoe feels that NYC has totally influenced her own sovereign spirit-- Check out her “ghetto fab” zebra nails! – it is her Mom, she says, who is “definitely New York” and has most inspired her. When Zoe says she gravitates against what people do, and that people with true style don't feel cool because of what they wear (they just are), you know she is her mother's daughter. In North Africa, Selima had cooks and drivers, but when all of her girlfriends were dating the son of the Prime Minister, she was going out with the plumber's son.
Ironically, Selima feels that kids can be more judgmental than their parents. When Zoe says that her mom's Dolce and Gabbana dresses are too super-sexy, Selima's response is: “Why not?” Pretty much her response to everything she wants to do. When avant-garde French eyeglass designer Alain Mikli hired Selima to work for him in NYC in 1990, she went. When Selima fell in love with a space at the corner of Mercer and Broome, she opened her own eyewear store. When celebrities want her glasses for free, she says no, but then gives them to the people who don't have the money to buy them. When I asked her to get into the bathtub to shoot her in her red top hat, veil, and Balenciaga blazer, she jumped right in. With Pierre Hardy heels.
Equally her own, but leaning towards a more classic understatement in the Breton stripes and eyelet that her Mom sometimes refers to as her “grandma clothes”, Zoe is not disinclined towards the Balenciaga dress that her Mom bought for her. She has been brought up not to care about what others think when it comes to dressing, including her Mom. However, Selima does admit that her daughter's style often ends up in the windows of American Apparel, years later. Classic red bermudas and Madewell lace-up boots express Zoe's unassuming mindfulness. She is concerned with the present state of the world, and her responsibility to it as someone of privilege. “Since I'm surrounded by everything that's good, I think I should focus on the bad, so I can make it better for everyone. Like with the oil spill-- No one went to jail for it. How?!” she says. Clearly her mother's daughter, Selima lives by thanking God for everything that she has and trying, always, to be as good as possible despite the fact that she is not (yet, anyway) wearing vintage Claude Montana like her Mom.