Jessica Simpson: The Working Girl

NEW YORK — Jessica Simpson has worn many hats through her 28 years. The singer-turned-reality TV star-turned-actress has lately found a booming career in fashion, lending her name to a host of apparel and accessories collections. “I have always loved fashion,” Simpson told Footwear News. “Even as a little girl, my hair scrunchy had to match my socks.”

While she is quickly expanding her franchise under a partnership with The Camuto Group — a fragrance, dress collection and intimates are all on tap — the star’s footwear line has been her biggest fashion success to date. The collection, which is closing in on $100 million in annual sales, is now sold in approximately 2,000 doors globally. And Simpson is also hard at work on her music career. FN caught up with the star as she was prepping to release her first country album, which is already garnering big buzz with the release of the first single, “Come On Over.”

FN: What’s the best part about working with Vince, and what do you think he brings to your collection?

JS: Vince understands who I am and what I want to achieve with my collection. He is honest and a great listener, as well as a visionary, and he brings all these attributes to the collection.

FN: How involved are you in the footwear design process?

JS: I am very involved in the design process as I sign off on every single shoe. I bring design inspiration and ideas and then leave it up to the Camuto Group to do what they do so brilliantly.

FN: Who are some of your favorite designers right now?

JS: I am always a fan of Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel and [Azzedine] Alaïa because their designs are always on the cutting edge [of fashion].

FN: What other product categories would you like to get involved in?

JS: I’m [working on a] dress line and I’m so excited to bring my style to the dress world. I live in dresses and jeans, so I am hoping denim will follow. I have always loved fashion. Even as a little girl my hair scrunchy had to match my socks.

FN: What’s the best fashion advice you could give to someone?

JS: The best fashion advice that was given to me was to always be yourself. You wear the clothes — don’t let them wear you!

FN: You just celebrated a birthday. How did you spend your special day?

JS: I am feeling a little bit older this year as I am turning 28 (I know, shut up …) but I just wanted to be with my family and those closest to me. That is the perfect celebration.

FN: You went country for your upcoming album, a departure from your pop music past. How did you find the experience?

JS: I am so thrilled with the entire process of making this album. It has been inspiring and spiritual and enlightening. My biggest hope is that everyone who listens will take that inspiration with them.

FN: What other projects do you have on deck for this year or next?

JS: At the moment, I am going to be working the album and touring. I will also be launching my first fragrance, Fancy, in August, as well as a lingerie line for spring ’09. I will also be preparing to be an auntie, which is so exciting.

FN: Have you ever experienced a wardrobe malfunction or fashion mishap?

JS: I have had many wardrobe malfunctions and fashion mishaps, but I believe that is how we find our fashion sense. We have to [experience] the good, the bad and the really ugly.

FN: What inspires you to do what you do, be it music, designing or acting?

JS: I am inspired by those who surround me — my family, my friends and my fans.

FN: As a world traveler, where are some of your favorite places to shop?

JS: I love to shop in London and Paris. I always find the most amazing jewelry at the flea markets. I also love vintage shopping in rural areas because you find many hidden treasures.

FN: What’s your favorite city for fashion?

JS: I love New York for fashion because New Yorkers wear their fashion with such confidence. But I also love Los Angeles because it’s casual and laid-back. And then there is Dallas, which is where I grew up. The women there are always so beautiful and put together in such an impeccable way.

FN: Who do you get style advice from?

JS: I get my sense of style from my mother. She is the one who always taught me to wear my clothes with confidence.

FN: If someone were to walk a mile in your shoes, what would they be surprised to find out about you?

JS: If someone were to walk a mile in my shoes, they might be surprised to find out my 5-inch heels are always comfortable … metaphorically speaking.


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