FN Spy: Simmons Meets J.Crew… Designers’ Summer Plans

Crew Team
Tabitha Simmons already knows how she wants to wear the Folly Rose floral Mary Jane style she crafted for J.Crew. “It’s one of my classic styles but has a very high-summer feeling. I’ll wear them with a 1940s-style chiffon dress,” said the stylist-cum-designer. The retail chain launched Simmons’ capsule collection as part of its collaboration with the three CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners, who also include The Elder Statesman and Jennifer Meyer. “I love the idea of being able to create a less-expensive, but still very good-quality shoe, that has a broader market appeal,” Simmons said of the line. As for her inspiration? The Brit designer never loses sight of her roots. “I wanted to create the feeling of an English country garden on your feet,” said Simmons, who is looking forward to escaping to East Hampton when she can this summer, “but not without my J.Crew sandals!”

School Buzz

Parsons The New School for Design’s 2013 Fashion Benefit honoring Bonnie Brooks and Proenza Schouler brought out a cadre of alumni to celebrate this year’s graduates — and to wax nostalgic on their own college days. Prabal Gurung remembered his first fashion show: a competition between Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology. “Vena Cava and Chris Benz were there,” the designer recalled. “ [Parsons] ended up winning, but it was so nerve-racking.” And Gurung still spends time with many of his college chums when he summers on Fire Island. “Joseph Altuzarra, Peter Som, Derek Lam … they’re all there.” Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough said his best memory from Parson’s was “meeting [business partner] Lazaro Hernandez my freshman year.”

Flash Back
Call it throwback Thursday for Rebecca Minkoff. The designer was a special guest on the FIT campus last week, to give the commencement speech to graduates of the School of Art & Design (where Minkoff was took some classes herself.) “I advised the students to trust themselves, be creative and persevere, and always remember why they chose fashion in the first place,” said Minkoff. So did she practice her words of wisdom beforehand? “I must have read my speech close to 100 times to get it perfect,” she said. “I took a flight back from Korea [last week] with a few co-workers and I think they know it by heart as well.”

From Her Lips
Who’s that girl? Rapper Eve is back on the music scene after a long hiatus. Not only did she debut her latest album, “Lip Lock,” earlier this month, but the musician also unveiled a fresh look, courtesy of her new favorite fashion label, Monika Chiang. “[I discovered the brand] when I literally stumbled into the store,” Eve said. “I was wandering around saying, ‘Why hasn’t anybody told me about this?’ It’s effortless chic — just the right amount of edge but you still feel like a woman, and you feel cool.” Eve eventually got to meet the designer and the two hit it off, so much so that Chiang recently hosted a launch party for “Lip Lock” at her Soho boutique. “It’s a very organic relationship,” Chiang said of the friendship. “When I first heard she was in the store, I was like, ‘Eve? Eve! It can’t be.’”

Summer Stops
Jerome Rousseau is hitting the big screen, but in a small way. The designer’s boyfriend, Daniel Auber, wrote and directed the film “Dr. Awkward,” premiering at various film festivals this summer, about a college student studying neuroscience while dealing with OCD. “My friends and I play extras in the classroom scene, so that obviously adds to the excitement and fun,” said Rousseau. “I feel very close to the film as I’ve seen it evolve from the initial concept and ideas.” When he’s not in movie land, Rousseau plans to hit Barnsdall Art Park in Los Angeles for a series of wine tasting events this summer. “There’s a great crowd and a different DJ each week, four delicious wines to enjoy and we watch the sunset with a fantastic 360-degree view of the city from the top of the hill. It’s my favorite place to catch up with friends.”

Sound Session
Pump up the volume, says John Varvatos. With sunny days on the horizon, the designer, chairman and creative director of his eponymous brand talked to Spy about his go-to song for the change of seasons. “‘School’s Out’ by Alice Cooper,” he said. “That’s the one you play when you know summer is here.” As for his current playlist, Varvatos said he’s gotten into rock group Vintage Trouble (the band performed at his Bowery New York store earlier this year). “They’re jaw-dropping musicians and they put on a performance that’s almost unheard of today,” he said.

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