Designer Q&A: Tabitha Simmons on New York Fashion Week & Her Favourtie Shoes of All Time

04 September 2013 by

Tabitha Simmons has been working in the fashion industry in some guise for over two decades. As a model, stylist and designer, Ms Simmons has seen fashion from every perspective. Whether she’s backstage styling at Dolce & Gabbana and Zac Posen, working on editorials as contributing for US Vogue or shodding glamorous A-listers with her footwear designs, she always brings her very own inimitable personal look to the table. Now living in NYC with her photographer husband, Craig McDean and their two children, we caught up the British fashion polymath to talk fashion week, ultimate shoes and English roast dinners.

Left: Tabitha Simmons at this year's Met Ball, Right: Tabitha Simons at CFDA Awards 2012, credit both Rex

GraziaDaily:You have seen fashion from so many angles as a model, as a stylist and now as a designer - what wisdom have you accrued and which do you think is the best job in the business?

Tabitha Simmons: My work as a stylist has given me a broad perspective of the industry but has also taught me to edit and be selective. This in turn helps me with designing a collection. It’s hard to pick one job over the other as I love both styling and designing equally.

GraziaDaily: Have you always been into shoes? If you had to call out memorable pairs over your life which would they be and why?

Tabitha Simmons: Yes, because as a child I was limited to one pair of brown shoes to go along with my school uniform. As soon as I was finished with school, I had the opportunity to explore my style and shoes were the first thing I gravitated towards. My most memorable pairs are, in order, my ‘Sally’ boot because they were the first pair of shoes I designed and wore from my brand; Balenciaga's lego heels (from Ghesquiere’s Autumn/ Winter '07 collection) - I saw them on the runway and couldn’t wait to own a pair because I thought the design was so unique; my brown school shoes - as much as I didn’t like them they still have a place in my memory and Manolo Blahnik's black patent high stilettos because they were my first pair of designer shoes I ever purchased.

GraziaDaily: Do you own an indecent amount of shoes?  Is your house a sea of them?! How do you store them?

Tabitha Simmons: Yes, I have tons and tons of shoes in all nooks and crannies. I have them in every closet at home, at work and even my summer home! I take good care of my shoes storing each one as a pair displayed nicely on shelves.

Tabitha Simmons with Miranda Kerr, credit: Rex

GraziaDaily: Which are the favourite shoes you have ever designed and why?

Tabitha Simmons: I have two favorites that I’m proud of. The ‘Alexa’ as it was one of my first designs, yet is still relevant in my collection today. It goes back to my style philosophy of being timeless. And the ‘Harley’ wedge boot - it takes my ‘Early’ boot and gives it height. I’ve always loved heels and this is a cool and comfortable way to wear them.

GraziaDaily: You have so many celebrity fans - from Julianne Moore to Miranda Kerr - what does it mean to you see such high profile women wearing your designs?

Tabitha Simons: It is very touching. These women have so many options available to them and for them to choose my shoes time and time again is wonderful. From a styling perspective, I love to see how one shoe can be styled in so many different ways by these women.

GraziaDaily: As a Brit in NYC what do you miss most about home? 

Tabitha Simons: English Sunday Roast! It’s hard to get a good meal like that in the States.

GraziaDaily: What about New York Fashion Week - which designers do you rate, do you like the atmosphere in comparison to Europe?

Tabitha Simons: I love how it kicks off the month and is always high energy. It’s exciting to see what the trends and themes are going to be for next season. My favorites are Rag & Bone, Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs.

Tabitha Simmons with Lily Collins, Credit: Rex

GraziaDaily: What do you do to get ready for fashion week? Are you all about juicing or is the focus just shopping?!

Tabitha Simons: For me it’s relaxing at my country home with my children. Relaxing and letting myself unwind is the best way to prep for the madness of fashion week.

GraziaDaily: What have you bought for the new season?  Which designers cannot you not resist? Are you a big planner with your purchases or is it more spontaneous?

Tabitha Simons: My most recent purchase was the lace dress with floral petals from Dolce Pre-Fall and I have my eye on Givnechy's Bambi sweatshirt. I cannot resist Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy and Proenza Schouler.

GraziaDaily: Describe a typical Sunday at your place.

Tabitha Simmons: Running around with my kids!


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