JaKissa Taylor-Semple is better known to the New York party crowd as DJ Kiss, the music specialist who works the turntables in 5-inch heels.
Named one of the 25 Most Stylish New Yorkers by US Weekly in 2010, Taylor-Semple recently launched a fashion blog, XOXO-kiss.com, where she reveals her style obsessions, including her own looks. She also spins every Wednesday at Gold Bar, as well as for private parties of clients that have included Madonna, the New York Knicks and Salvatore Ferragamo.
“I’m fortunate to be able to work in a [casual] environment,” she told Footwear News. “I get a lot of leeway to dress how I feel.”
Taylor-Semple uses that freedom to express a preference for the high-end, with a luxury footwear collection that rivals that of her husband, Masud Ogbonna Semple, aka DJ M.O.S., whom she married in January 2011.
“We both have similar pairs of a couple styles of Louboutins,” said the Louisiana native. “We [wore them at the same time] once by accident, and people were like, ‘We get it. You’re in love.’”
Taylor-Semple has turned a bedroom in her Brooklyn, N.Y., duplex apartment into her dream walk-in closet with three clothing racks, a vanity and full-length mirror.
“This was a guest room, but every time we’d have guests over, I couldn’t get my stuff,” said Taylor-Semple. “So I was like, ‘No more guests!’”
Pairs owned: About 60. “I don’t like a lot of clutter. So if I don’t wear them, I’m not one to keep them. I’m not going to be the person who has stuff to hand down to my daughter.”
Brands: Brian Atwood, Christian Louboutin, Miu Miu, Salvatore Ferragamo, among others
Personal style: “I’m pretty classic. I definitely pay attention to trends, but I fit them into my style as opposed to following them full on.”
Shopping method: “Most of the time, I’ll see something in an editorial a couple months out and I’ll keep my eye out for it. Because if you don’t [look for it immediately], in New York it goes like that. These are professional shopping women, so you can’t mess around.”
All-time faves: “My favorite pair is my leopard-print, pony-hair Miu Miu sandals. And then it’s a tie with the metallic silver Brian Atwood Maniac pumps. They are ridiculous.”
Most comfortable: Sergio Rossi peep-toe pumps. “You can wear them for hours on end. I’m thinking about getting a pair in black because I have them in bronze and they are so comfortable that it’s almost worth it.”
Biggest shoe mistake: “There are plenty. But years ago, when I first moved to New York, I bought a pair of Beverly Feldman stilettos — maybe 3 inches high — that were black suede sandals. But there was a vine or something that wrapped around the ankle. I wore them proudly.”
Best deal: “Those same Miu Miu shoes were on Net-a-porter.com and I had been eyeing them for a while. Then I Googled them and found them on Bluefly.com for $450. So I scooped them up, and they were on Net-a-porter at regular price for months after that.”
Most expensive: “Let’s close the door. We don’t need hubby to hear. … Definitely the pair of Louboutin 6-inch spiked peep-toes. I cringed when I bought those. I grudgingly handed over my credit card, because I think $1,200 is a lot of money for a pair of shoes.”
Wedding shoes: “I don’t even remember the name of them. I had wanted to wear something really great, but I waited until I got to Louisiana. And once I got there, I realized they have nothing even at the top department stores.”
Favorite city for shoe shopping: Paris. “If you want Givenchy, you go to Givenchy. If you want Lanvin, you can go there, too. And there’s a Chanel on every corner. I also like going to metropolitan areas outside of New York, like San Francisco and Chicago. They’ll have better collections because it’s not been pilfered by the fashion maniacs we have here.”
Best fashion era: “I love the late ’70s, early ’80s. I like that post-disco look with high-waisted jeans, but before the teased hair and shoulder pads.”
Fashion idols: “In the past, Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross, and then now, I really love Kerry Washington. She’s always put together; her red- carpet looks are dead on.”
Dream shoe: “A couple years ago, Louboutin made the Pigalle in leopard print pony hair. This year, he’s doing leopard again, but it’s the wrong [color]. Now I’m thinking about having them custom made.”