In Conversation with Tabitha Simmons
It’s testament to the power of brand Tabitha Simmons that, only seven years since she started her eponymous shoe label – “launched in 2009 at the worst possible time” – style aficionados the world over now know that an ‘Alexa’ is a signature runaround flat point and that the ‘Hermoine’ is an update on the classic Mary Jane. We meet the effortlessly stylish shoe designer (who works with Anna Wintour, no less) to discuss the importance of the 24-hour shoe and why we all need a pair of chunky low heels in our lives.
Tabitha Simmons is that rare thing, a (very beautiful) fashion plate who has managed to parlay her highly revered personal style into an thriving global shoe brand – which sells out everywhere from Colette in Paris to New York’s Bergdorf Goodman. The British-born, New York-dwelling designer was a model before becoming a stylist for Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana and a contributing fashion editor to US Vogue. What started off as a capsule collection of fewer than 30 styles now comprises 120. She has an idiosyncratic take on British Victoriana, and gives ruffles, floral motifs and laser-cut leather a real edge. The model Karen Elson never wears anything other than Simmons’ shoes, and the roster of It-cool girls who are fans reads like a Who’s Who of the best-dressed. “When I first started shoes were all huge platforms, there were lots of bells and whistles,” she says. “I wanted to do something quieter.”