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FH PROFILE // Laryssa Chomiak

**** Photos shot on 35mm film by Italo Gaspar and Laura Taylor in May 2022, Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia.

Dr. Laryssa Chomiak is the type of person you go to the flea market with who comes out with twenty incredibly good finds while you come out with nothing. She has such a good eye that the “mafia” of one of the biggest furniture flea markets in Tunis once thought she was a professional reseller. Spoiler alert: she isn’t. She is, however, a spectacular human being with great taste (and one of our best friends in the world). Laryssa is enviably energetic, endlessly entertaining, a fiercely loyal friend and a generous host. Her official and non-official titles include mom to 2.5 year old Chloë Dassine, wife, daughter of political activists, political scientist, writer, professor, institute director, fashion lover, art collector, life of the party, exercise addict, thrifter extraordinaire and oh-so-much more.

We met Laryssa a little over a decade ago, and saw her move from a small one-bedroom to a bigger apartment on the same floor to make room for her daughter Chloë's room. We met back when the idea of singing “Baby Shark” 100 times in a row was totally laughable. How things have changed…

Born to Ukrainian parents and raised in Germany, Laryssa’s connection to Tunisia dates back to her teenage years, but it's her political science research that led her to eventually choose to live here. Today, Laryssa’s intimacy with Tunisian culture, experience working in the country, and years living here make her one of the most interesting people to talk to about Tunisia’s history, and most excitingly, its current culture shifts, especially in the worlds of art and politics.

If you've been with us for a while, you have definitely seen bits and pieces of Laryssa's home and rooftop in our photos before. In May of this year, while we were in Tunisia piloting new fouta designs, working with artisans, shooting editorials, creating lookbooks and eating harissa, we took the opportunity to shoot a few photos of Laryssa and Chloë on their rooftop since Brazilian photographer, Italo Gaspar, and Laura Taylor, our creative director, each had their analog cameras ready to capture the love and magic that are the Chomiak girls.

Our love and admiration for Laryssa has no bounds, and we are thrilled to be able to share these photos and this brief conversation with you.

Read on for our fun interview with Laryssa.

All of these photos are taken in your home in Sidi Bou Said, where we've taken incredible fouta photos before, thank you for being one of our homes. What are your and your daughter Chloë's favorite spots in the house?

Chloë and I definitely agree that her eclectic Sicilian disco baby room is the place to be. We adore the rooftop space with 360 views of Tunis (where all photos in this post are taken), especially during the day, and we love snuggling up with a movie on the mod build-in couches in the living room at night.

What is the most surprising way your neighborhood has changed in the time you've lived there?

The ways in which people have transformed their Sidi Bou Said homes into creative and quirky spaces, integrating the stunning landscape and views into living spaces. Sidi Bou Said is a real community, and I love that comforting part of it.

View of Sidi Bou Said and the Mediterranean sea from the rooftop.

What are your favorite ways to use your fouta?

Aesthetically, I love them most as beach wraps and to chill out in on the sand. I have had severe atopic dermatitis since I was a little kid, so drying off after a shower or a swim with my soft foutas has been the most soothing blessing. Soft cotton that dries quickly is essential for people for skin issues – my FHs are always fresh, dry, and clean.

You are mom to 2 and a half year old Chloë Dassine. Thank you for bringing her into our lives <3 What are her favorite ways to use and style her foutas?

“No, mommy, it's MY fouta,” she has a mini fouta that no one can touch and she knows it’s a fouta. She also knows how to do a full body wrap!

Chloë running around with her "In the Clouds" linen fouta.

Did you have anything fouta equivalent growing up?

Yes! My mom used to buy soft white towels in Spain in the 80s and bring them to Germany where I grew up. For softness, my mom’s and grandma’s old sheets (and T-shirts) which have been washed for decades and dried in the sun. We have a family practice of always hanging on to sheets and handing them down from generation to generation. I love old sheets and cotton products.

“No, mommy, it's MY fouta”

Your most treasured handmade object(s) in your home?

Tunisian pottery, especially my Tunisian-Ottoman-Japanese-Balinese batik-inspired vase by Mohamed Messaoudi and my Ukrainian great-grandma and grandmas’ handmade embroideries.

What art piece at home are you spending more time lingering in front of these days?

Our Ukrainian Avant-Garde and École de Tunis paintings (mixed with prints of Helmut Newton photography).

Outside of your home, what galleries are you going to in Tunis to discover new art work?

My go-to galleries here are Yosr Ben Ammar and TGM Gallery in la Marsa, and Salma Feriani in Sidi Bou Said.

What are your most pleasurable Sunday reads recently? Fashion, politics, fiction, art world? Books, magazines?

On Sundays especially, the New York Times Real Estate section for the surreal NYC stories (from ghost busters to architectural treasures). Magical realism, academic art history books by my friends (especially modern art), Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Vintage Vogue, Dissent Magazine, Middle East Report.

What excites you about living in Tunis at the moment?

Raising Chloë in an incredible place, all the new artistic movements and artisanat, proximity to tennis player Ons Jabeur (2022 US Open and Wimbledon finalist), my wonderful friends who have become family.

You make the most delicious healthy and seasonal salads and vegetable dishes. Can you share one of your quick go-to recipes right now?

My favorite: Steamed asparagus (crunchy), thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes, shaved parmesan, sautéed pine nuts (or almond slivers), purple sprouts, mustard-balsamic vinaigrette.

Laryssa's asparagus and fresh market produce served on the rooftop during our shoot.


What brand/designer are you spending the most time Instagram stalking?

Galvan London and Pichulik.

What's the spiciest snack in your pantry?

Currently, spicy roasted nuts from Lebanon.

Do you like Harissa? Souri (processed/pureed) or 3arbi (homemade/usually smoky & textured)?

3arbi. With fresh olive oil.

What's your day job?

Director of CEMAT and Political Scientist. (Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis)

Last/top conversation topic with your daughter Chloë?

If “Bubble bubble water” (sparkling water) is superior to pink juice (strawberry juice).

Top 3 items in your beach bag?

My FH, my second FH, a second bikini.


**** Photos shot on 35mm film by Italo Gaspar and Laura Taylor in May 2022, Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia.

Shop the story!

Yellow linen H and white D.

(**Chloë's In the Clouds is currently sold out)

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