Entertainers and fashion exploits have long gone hand in hand, but powerhouse singer Jessica Simpson has managed to crack a tough code.
The actress, music star and mother (now expecting her third child) has built — and sustained — her billion-dollar eponymous line of apparel, accessories and shoes for more than 13 years. What’s more, she’s spent the bulk of that time giving back by contributing to the QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes of Sale” breast cancer charity. And in 2009, she served as the event’s spokesperson.
For that reason and more, FFANY this year will honor Simpson with its first-ever Fashion Icon award.
“I am humbled,” said Simpson, whose shoes — and presence — have become a staple at the annual fundraising gala. “FFANY is such an important authority in the footwear business, so for them to say I am doing it right is a great honor.”
Here, the 38-year-old opens up about Shoes on Sale memories, her personal style and adding one more to her tribe.
What has been the most memorable part of working with “FFANY Shoes on Sale” over the years?
“First of all, I dream in shoes, so the Shoe Salon is always so much fun for me. I also remember so many years of being there with my mentor and good friend, [the late] Vince Camuto, [whose firm previously owned the Jessica Simpson label]. He will always be my inspiration, and I will definitely be thinking of him and hopefully feeling his spirit when I accept this honor.”
Why is this kind of philanthropy meaningful for you?
“I have always been inspired by the very powerful work that FFANY does in supporting breast cancer research. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer, and I deeply appreciate FFANY’s genuine dedication to finding a cure.”
What does it mean to you to be a fashion icon?
“Let me start by saying I don’t consider myself an icon. I am so flattered. I hope — if anything — being this award’s first recipient can help me spread the message that beauty truly comes from individuality and from the inside. Fashion is a wonderful way to express yourself and find confidence. I always like to have a point of view.”
Has your style evolved over the years?
“My preferences have always remained the same: classic, all-American and effortless. I still wear some of the same cowboy boots and flannel denim shirts that I have worn since I was a teenager. I believe great pieces stand the test of time and get better with age. I am a collector of timeless pieces — an accessory fiend.”
How do you infuse your personal look into the brand?
“At the core of the Jessica Simpson Collection, we believe that all women are uniquely beautiful. My No. 1 goal is to deliver a collection that helps women feel confident and unique. I definitely infuse the collection with my personal preferences — like sky-high heels. But I always make sure that we have a variety of pieces that appeal to all different types of women. We are trend-forward, but I have learned to listen carefully to our customers and fans, and adapt. I’ve also enjoyed expanding the collection according to my own passions. For instance, when I was nesting and decorating my own home, we got to start our home line. When I got pregnant, we started maternity — which I am using again now.”
When do you feel most beautiful?
“I feel the most beautiful when I am at home, with my family in my cut-off jean shorts and a T-shirt. I am really a homebody, and when I am around the people who I know love and support me through everything, I feel content, and that makes me feel beautiful.”
What big projects do you having coming down the pike?
“We’re getting ready to launch color cosmetics and a new fragrance, which is super-exciting because I love makeup. I am also working on a TV project and writing new music. I am very creatively inspired right now. My most important project is always though being a mom and a wife. My kids are 5 and 6 now, and being their mom and Eric [Johnson’s] wife are the best parts of my life. And my most current project, of course, is growing the baby in my belly. We can’t wait to meet her.”