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2020-03-24 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine

How Tabitha Simmons Finds Inspiration In Her Glamorous Life

How Tabitha Simmons Finds Inspiration In Her Glamorous Life

The chic shoe designer helps Avenue launch a series on makers and their mood boards.
Tabitha Simmons
Tabitha Simmons
Photo by BFA

Four times a year, Tabitha Simmons delivers her signature, vertiginous footwear collections, and an important part of her creative process is pulling together source images. “I’m such a magpie, I find inspiration everywhere,” she told us while curating the photos here, images which inspire far more than just a single collection. Tabitha’s stylish life in springtime has to be seen to be believed: From Alta Moda — the couture fashion show she helps style for Dolce & Gabbana — to the Save Venice party in March, to the Met’s Costume Institute gala in May, you’ll find her kicking up her heels.


“Save Venice is one of my favorite parties of the year, and my work with Dolce & Gabbana means I always have amazing gowns at the ready… I love the ceilings of Italian museums — so if you see me at the Uffizi you’ll most likely find me looking up.”


“I find inspiration everywhere: museums, books, furniture, the library — and then I try to pull it all together into an overarching theme. This season I was inspired by Bianca Jagger — she emulates such strength and is a woman with so many sides, both boyish and really feminine. If I’ve done my job right, you’ll find some of this baked into my Patton platforms with block heels, and the strappy sandals — all done up in metallics, Nappa leather and in iridescent colors. This collection was trying to show that women don’t have to embody just one identity: that you can wear towering high heels one moment, and then be in comfortable shoes racing around doing errands in the next.


“When Puma asked me to collaborate on a capsule collection, I jumped at
the chance: I have two teenage boys after all. A friend of mine introduced me to their team, and we all decided this would be a perfect mashup of their athletic aesthetics and my signature florals. (I do love an English garden.) And then I saw the work of floral designer Lewis Miller, who is known for “flower-flashing” city streets. We decided to commission one from him, and that’s what you see here: staging for our ad campaign. After we finished our shoot it was all disassembled and taken home by neighbors — that was my favorite part.”


Tabitha styles the runway shows for Dolce & Gabbana, designers she considers to be among her chief inspirations. “Domenico [Dolce] is so talented, and they were both so encouraging when I launched my first collection.”

“The Alta Moda shows are so special,” she adds. “They’re so intimate and focused on engaging their top clients and collectors. There’s no press, no red carpet, just gorgeous clothes.”


“I love seeing where these dresses end up,” says Tabitha of Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda couture. “I mean they go on to lead such incredible lives. One minute they’re being stitched by brilliant hands in an atelier, and the next they’re at the Met Costume Institute gala sitting next to a famous actress. I’ve been lucky enough to wear a few of them myself over the years at the Met, and in this case I’m sitting with Annabelle Wallis [pictured below]. Just look at these dresses and headpieces and cloaks — they’re works of art in their own right, with every reason to be seen next to the Met’s fine art.”


“I love rescue pets. And because I often passed by Animal Haven, which was near my office, I came up with an idea to help their adoption efforts and increase awareness about rescues. So we photographed a dozen of their adorable dogs and cats and posted them on Instagram. And it really worked — so many of them were adopted through the initiative.


“Looking at these pages it would be easy to think of my life as just being very busy, but in truth, I work hard to balance all of that with what really matters to me — which is my family. It’s a juggling act, and it’s hard-won, but I’m so proud of my sons’ work ethic, and I try to be a role model for them. They now have a two-year-old sister (who thinks she’s the boss of all of us) and I want her to grow up with that same sense of earning her way in life. Oh, and remembering to make time to put up her feet every once in a while and actually enjoy that life.”

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