CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner-up Tabitha Simmons, the English-born shoe designer and stylist, invited us to her Chelsea studio to reveal an envy-inducing number of shoes and a little boy’s hat made of vintage Cracker Jack charms that was totally, well, charming.
Among shelves of coffee table books and an assortment of graciously pinned-up thank-you notes from designers like Jack and Lazaro of Proenza Schouler and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, it’s the sixteen or so racks holding 500 pairs of shoes that steal the show. “I think the DNA of my shoe is something that’s quite chic and whimsical. It always has that sort of slight British quip to it,” says Simmons.
The shoe manufacturing happens in Italy, but it’s here in Simmons’s office where the creative process of reviewing swatches and sketches begins. “I don’t really have a desk, I guess. I’m always sitting somewhere other than my desk or on the floor, cutting,” she says. “I’m never in one place.”
Most of Simmons’s office is a clean palette—big white sofas, freshly painted white walls, huge picture windows. Even the hundreds of shoes and clear bins stacked 20 high of styling accessories are concealed by a large curtain. Perhaps this is an effort to keep her working space somewhat neutral, since in addition to shoe design, Simmons is a stylist for Vogue and finds herself ping-ponging between Milan and Paris for shoots. “I try to keep styling and shoe design in two different heads,” she says. “I think the thing about having a background in design is that it just makes you very aware of the details and what’s around you. And from there you just get to work.”
Photography by Bryan Derballa.
Read more about the lead-up to the launch of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund collections here
And to shop the exclusive Tabitha Simmons shoe collection and the rest of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund designs, click here