Tabitha Simmons talks personal taste: Part One

British stylist-turned-shoe designer Tabitha Simmons brings exquisite craftsmanship and a cool eccentricity to her eponymous label. This year she was voted CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year

Image: Circe Hamilton

My personal style signifiers are a Chanel bouclé jacket, skinny Rag & Bone jeans, and either a white or stripy shirt by Equipment. I pair this go-everywhere outfit with my own pointy boots with a buckle. I also keep my hair very dark and, in true British style, wear it slightly unkempt.

The last thing I bought and loved was a dragonfly table by Emile Gallé. I absolutely adore this art nouveau piece and it sits in my living room in my New York house. The mahogany legs are carved like dragonflies and I feel unbelievably lucky to have found it at auction.

Simmons’ Dolce & Gabbana basket-weave box bag
Simmons’ Dolce & Gabbana basket-weave box bag | Image: Circe Hamilton

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of diamond bird earrings from SJ Phillips in London. I have been coveting these romantic pieces for some time, and I check on them periodically to make sure they are still there.

A recent “find” is the Big Sur Bakery in California, a special wood-fired bakery and restaurant set in an old ranch house just off scenic Highway 1. It serves the best open avocado sandwiches on sourdough bread I’ve ever tasted. 47540 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920 (+1831-667 0520;


The last music I downloaded was Stay Gold by the Swedish duo First Aid Kit. I love these girls’ folk-pop sound. They have great personal style, too.

The last items I added to my wardrobe were a basket-weave box bag with red leather trim  and a red and cream dress with pale-pink buttons, both by Dolce & Gabbana. The dress has long sleeves, is quite fitted and cut long, perfect for day or an evening out.

Estée Lauder Double Wear concealer, $24 for 25fl oz
Estée Lauder Double Wear concealer, $24 for 25fl oz

The place that inspires me is the rambling English countryside, particularly Dartmoor in Devon. The granite hilltops, rivers and bogs are beautiful, and the way that the mist rolls in is spooky but magical.

The best gift I’ve given recently was a zipped Chanel tweed and wool pouch, to my business partner’s mother as a thank you present.

Dustin Yellin glass-encased sculptures
Dustin Yellin glass-encased sculptures | Image: Circe Hamilton

And the best one I’ve received was a poem in a hand-painted, decorated wood frame given to me by my children at a Mother’s Day tea at their school. It has a very special place on my desk and I cherish it.

The beauty staples I’m never without are Terax Crema Ultra Moisturizing Daily Conditioner for my colour-treated hair – it leaves it softer and more manageable; Touche Eclat by YSL, superb for brightening around the eyes; and Estée Lauder’s Double Wear concealer [pictured], a new favourite that gives excellent coverage. Estée Lauder Double Wear concealer, $24 for 25fl oz; Terax Crema Ultra Moisturizing Daily Conditioner, from $22 for 200ml; YSL Touche Eclat, £25;

Simmons’ Alexander McQueen hand-painted, pleated silk skirt
Simmons’ Alexander McQueen hand-painted, pleated silk skirt | Image: Circe Hamilton

The artists whose work I would collect if I could are Damien Hirst – I love his butterfly paintings; Francis Bacon, whose figurative painting I adore; and Brooklyn artist Dustin Yellin. I have a few of his glass-encased sculptures that resemble objects floating in air – his pieces have an eerie life to them.

Objects I would never part with include my collection of Alexander McQueen dresses and one of his hand-painted, pleated silk skirts that is very special to me; a Dolce & Gabbana gold embroidered jacket given to me by the designers many years ago; and the first shoe from my first collection. It is a black and cream wedge with a black bow and symbolises the realisation of my dreams.


My favourite websites are Moda Operandi for fashion; I love its immediacy – you can see the shows and order pieces right away. I also like Net-a-Porter for quick and easy shopping gratification, the BBC for news, for the latest style updates, and AbeBooks for rare or out-of- print titles.

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