Over the years, Zoe Saldana has become both a much appreciated actress and a fashion inspiration for many women. If you’ve always admired the diva’s style and wondered about her preferences and her experiences in the matter, Gotham magazine can certainly satisfy a bit of your curiosity in its September 2012 issue. Looking spectacular in a series of classy and attractive new season outfits which are sure to turn heads, the diva shares some thoughts when it comes to fashion.

Her affinity for fashion seems to be closely correlated with the fact that her relatives were involved in the fashion industry and this fact has shaped her perception regarding fashion: “My grandmother and great-grandmother were seamstresses their whole lives, so when my grandmother moved to New York in the ‘60s, she worked for design houses throughout the city. She really loved fabrics and textiles, so it was natural to my family. Fashion wasn’t like a religion to us, but it is in my ancestry. It was never about luxury; it was about art.” This is also the star’s first memory of fashion.

In the process, she fell in love with Coco Chanel’s designs: “It wasn’t too feminine, and it wasn’t too plain; it was just woman, where you saw that the fashion had a personality. It was very androgynous, and that’s what appealed to me because I could inhabit it with everything that comprised the kind of woman I wanted to be.” Of course, since then her love for style grew and now she has a handful of favorite designers.

Asked about her favorite creative minds in the industry, the actress responded”: “Well, Prabal Gurung is one of my closest friends. We came up at the same time in New York, so he and I were sort of parallel in our trajectory, and we bonded so much because he is a very beautiful person and he felt familiar to me. He is an artist, a true artist. I see his art, and I just truly believe in it. It really touches me. But then, I can also have that same kind of love for classic designers whom I have never met and whom I may never have the chance to. The designers that I love? Chanel, Gucci, Versace, Halston, Balmain, Ralph Lauren, Alaïa. See, I can’t even say it in English because I am literally saying it the way my grandmother says it, the way my mother says it. My entire sense of fashion is shaped by my family, especially my grandmother, and knowing whom she would think about. And that’s my education, my relationship with fashion is truly inherited.”

Despite her love for androgynous touches, she cites a dress as her absolute favorite piece of clothing: “There’s this Azzedine Alaïa dress I have that makes me feel like I am collecting art. Collecting from certain designers is like collecting art and will always remain as memorable as the very first Chanel bag that I bought myself.” As far as her sources of inspiration go, she looks up to effortless beauty icons: “Sienna Miller, Julianne Moore, these kind of effortless beauties. Diane Kruger. I just love looking at their styles and feeling inspired by their choices.” She also confesses that she isn’t too picky when it comes to choosing colors and that although she isn’t focused on trendiness, she is very eclectic when it comes to her style purchases.

Pick up the newest issue of the magazine for more highlights from the star.

Photo courtesy of Gotham Magazine