Tabitha Simmons Interview: My Life In Shoes

tabitha simmons Source: Vogue

If, like us, you’ve spent much of the past year and a half in slippers, you’re more than likely ready for a slightly more elegant footwear alternative. Fortunately, the incredible Tabitha Simmons has landed on BrandAlley, featuring some of the A-List designer’s most iconic and famed pairs.

Born and raised in Cambridgeshire, Tabitha moved to New York City working as a model then stylist, before launching her eponymous footwear label in 2009. Her shoes have been worn by superstars such as Meghan Markle, Gigi Hadid and many more. We were fortunate to speak to Tabitha about some of the shoes that shaped her, and the designs that she goes back to time and time again.

What are the first pair of heels you ever bought?

My first pair of heels was a black patent Manolo Blahnik heel. I was so excited about them – I just kept looking at them in the box all the time! To me, Manolo has always been such an ultimate in luxury footwear.

At the same time, I bought another pair that was actually the complete opposite. It was a Prada white patent lace up that looked like a little school shoe! By doing this, I literally covered both bases, I loved them both.

Tell us about your wedding shoes?

For my wedding, I wore my Alhambra shoes. For a personalised touch, I embroider the date of the wedding and the brides name in blue. I always used to do that for every bride’s shoe, and I did it for my own too. The best thing is that they’re super comfortable, I genuinely wore them from morning to night and all was good! It was so important to me to have shoes that not only looked amazing, but were comfy too – especially as you’re stood up all day and night talking to family and friends!

Which shoes do you always pack in your suitcase?

tabitha simmons
Gold Metallic Bobbin Sandals – £179 (was £462)

My Bobbin sandals! I actually have them on right now. They’re so simple but have some really great details. The metallic shade is perfect because they go with everything.

Whenever I pack a sandal for summer I try and go for something either neutral, gold or silver to ensure they work with everything in my wardrobe. That way you can wear them with both prints or solid colours. Regardless of whether it’s day or night, Bobbin’s a shoe you can wear time and time again.

What were the first pair of shoes you bought for your daughter?

A classic Mary Jane, I bought her an adorable velvet pair from Italy in a pale green. She’s definitely a budding shoe addict – she already wants to wear all of my shoes so I think ‘oh my gosh I’m creating a monster’…

What kind of shoe do you think works for all seasons?

tabitha simmons
Beige Suede Leticia Sandals – £155 (was £447)

The Letitia sandal has always been a core shoe for me. It’s great because it’s got a lower heel which means you can wear them during the night or daytime, they’ve always been a key style that our customers buy once and go back to time and time again – the perfect go-to pair.

The shoes which hold the most sentimental value for you?

I’d have to mention a pair from my first collection, when my company first started to come off the ground. They’re called Karen, named after a very famous friend of mine, (model) Karen Elson. I think it was very sentimental to me because I couldn’t believe that my dream had finally come to life.

As well as this, I have many fond memories of whenever a celebrity has worn my shoes, for example when Kate Middleton wore my Dela pump. That feeling of pride never goes away, I see people wearing my shoes in the street and I just accost them! I look like a crazy person going up to them and saying ‘you’re wearing my shoes’.

Your favourite shoes that you’ve ever worked on?

It’s difficult because with shoes, I think you always fall in and out of love with them – so it’s hard to choose just one. I’ve done some collaborations with Johanna Ortiz and The Brock Collection. I was able to create extravagant shoes adorned with crazy prints and feathers which are great to look at.

The shoes which earn you the most compliments/spark conversation?

tabitha simmons
Black Crystal Suede Selina Mules – £235 (was £605)

My Brock Collection feather shoes started a conversation because they were really out there, but also I love just a simple flat like the Hermione or an effortless block heel like Selina – those are my favourites because they bring a hint of sparkle. Miranda Kerr has worn a pair of them – I think people need some glamour in our footwear after these times and Selina definitely brings that!

Your comfiest shoes?

Being a woman designer, I try and make sure all of my shoes are comfortable. As a mother of three I have to run around after my kids, as well as working in as a fashion editor – so comfort is a key function in all of my shoes, particularly Letitia and Bobbin. As well as this I try to use soft leathers, ensuring my footwear not only feels great, but looks beautiful too.

What are the shoes you’d buy time and time again?

tabitha simmons
Black Leather Jude Heeled Mules – £145 (was £426)

I like Jude because it’s versatile, it goes with everything and always looks great. The best thing about the mule is that it’s not only very on-trend but you can always count on it to never go out of style, giving it that true timeless element.

Words: As told to Maria Loizou