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Taking a cue from the speakeasy trend that has been sweeping New York City as of late, Hats by Selima ( is tucked away beneath the famed Bond 07 store on Bond Street. This jewel of a space is run by Selima Salaun (of Selima Optique) and Virginie Promeyrat, who have teamed up to bring back the old-school millinery tradition of custom designed, one-of-a-kind hats.

The Fashion Spot spoke with Promeyrat, and got the scoop on the shop’s inception, the allure of hats, and which styles works best for those of us on a tight budget.

What is your background in design?

I don’t have any background in design. I just have been obsessed with fashion from a very young age.

In your opinion, what is the allure of hats?

A hat adds more style than any other accessory ever will.  A hat is elegant, mysterious and sexy all at the same time.

How would you describe your clientele?

My clientele ranges from the young girl who doesn’t really know what she likes, who is very open to new creations and styles, to more mature men and women who have been wearing hats for years and know exactly what they want.

How did you come to partner with Selima Salaun?

I was working as personal assistant for Selima for 6 years. We became very good friends. I stopped working when I had my son, and missed her too much! So I came back to her, and we wanted to do something new and fabulous together.  I think we have succeeded so far.

Can you explain your made-to-order process?

The client comes in and chooses the fabric and color, style, trim, buttons and ‘Lopetti the Magician’ then makes the dream hat! Everything is handmade in NYC. It takes from 2 to 3 weeks to make this creation happen. If you have no idea what you want, we will direct you depending on the shape of your head, the color of your skin, and your taste.  The result is the perfect hat made just for you!

How did the idea for renting hats come about?

Times are tough, money is rare and we still want to have people wearing our creations, so it is a good deal for everybody! When the economy improves, instead of renting, customers will buy the hats they love.

Is there a difference in the kind of hats that women in France versus the women in New York most often opt to wear?

Women in France tend to wear hats more during the summer than the winter, to protect themselves against the sun. I see more women in NYC wearing hats as a fashion accessory rather than for protection. 

What is your favorite hat style? Are there any you aren’t a fan of?

I love the fedora – any kind, high or low crown, small or wide brim. There is a masculine look to it that I love. I can’t really see myself wearing a cloche, which is a very romantic look which I don’t like on myself… but I love it on others! 

Most memorable piece you’ve ever designed?

I love the cocktail top hat we make, called the bella. It has a long feather in the front, and chains all around. It’s very rock-and-roll sexy. 

For those on a tight budget, is there a particularly versatile style you suggest?

Yes.  We call it the ‘bondbon’.  This is a head piece – I call it the new headband because it is an elastic you hide in your hair with a one-of-a-kind base. It’s beautiful and affordable (kind of….).

Do you ever think about branching into other accessories?

Definitely.  We have a lot of ideas, we just haven’t yet found the time to accomplish them all.


Images courtesy of Hats by Selima.