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Tabitha Simmons on white shoes, pointy toes, and Peru

Steven Pan (above)

Designers are always keen on what’s selling, but Tabitha Simmons finds just as much joy in what’s already sold. Nothing makes the shoe designer happier than seeing one of her earliest designs on a customer several seasons after the purchase.

She can likely expect some of those longtime loyalists to show up Thursday, from noon-2 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston, where Simmons will greet devotees and sign shoes.

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The stylist-slash-designer, who is a contributing editor at Vogue and counts the Duchess of Cambridge and Emma Watson among her A-list fans, delivers collections with soul (pun intended). Her label won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Swarovski Award for Accessories in 2012, and was runner up for the same year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award for Accessory Design.

The jet setting British talent chatted earlier this week — just before stepping onto a Vogue shoot in Los Angeles.

Q. So give us a primer. What styles of shoes do you think you’re best known for?

A. I guess that would be the flat point. It’s very signature to us, especially for summer. We used to do high heels, and we still do. I used to wear them all the time [but] I have two young boys, so I wanted to introduce a flat as well. I’ve really tried to make them very timeless.

Q. How did you translate the flat for spring 2014?

‘I love the high-heeled shoe with black straps. That looks fabulous with a black dress. It creates a very graphic moment.’

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A. We did a couple of flats. One is a Peruvian print based on my travels. My husband (fashion photographer Craig McDean) surprised me on our 10th wedding anniversary. I fell in love with the country. The customs and the traditional dress [were] amazing, and I became very inspired by that. Spring/summer was also based around butterflies, and the fragileness and femininity of them.

Q. Did you love shoes growing up?

A. I did love shoes growing up but wasn’t allowed to wear high heels or pointed-toe shoes and I had to wear black and brown lace-up shoes to school.

Q. Being a designer and a stylist for Vogue, does your work in one sphere influence the other?

A. I go onto set and I’m thinking, “What is best for the picture?” and “How is that going to photograph?” I try and keep them very, very separate, because I feel I almost switch heads.

Q. Your spring collection features a lot of white. What’s your advice for the woman — OK, me — who’s afraid of wearing white on her feet?

A. White I really, really love. If you’re wearing a pastel dress, you can finish it off with a white shoe or sandal. If you’re not feeling confident to wear a white shoe, then try a white sandal. I love the high-heeled shoe with black straps. That looks fabulous with a black dress. It creates a very graphic moment that looks really nice. I saw a woman trying them on recently in Houston. She had leather pants and a gray T-shirt and the heels, and that looked really good.

Jill Radsken can be reached at jill.radsken@gmail.com.
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