The Fashion Icon Award is a fitting honor for Jessica Simpson, whose billion-dollar namesake collection of shoes, apparel and accessories launched more than 13 years ago.
The 25th annual Fashion Footwear Association of New York’s Shoes on Sale gala, presented by QVC, recognized the mogul’s achievements and support in raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
Admittedly, Simpson felt “nervous” today being in the spotlight among her peers at the ceremony.
“I feel very blessed to be here and be in the presence of all these amazing people who do what I do,” she told FN on the pink carpet. “It’s very humbling to accept this award.”
In 2009, Simpson served as FFANY Shoes on Sale ambassador, a role that Katy Perry took over this year.
The fight against breast cancer resonates with Simpson because it hits close to home. “This is one of the most important causes, especially in my family — both of my grandmothers have had breast cancer,” Simpson, who was joined by her mother, Tina, explained. “I feel like everyone coming together in the industry is a powerful thing and it does make an impact. We need to find a cure because we deserve it.”
Tina introduced her daughter with heartwarming and humorous reflections on their relationship ahead of calling her to the stage to receive the award.
She recalled giving birth to Jessica during the “hottest summer in Texas history” on July 10, 1980, and shoes were already the topic of discussion in the delivery room.
“The doctor walks in and in his deepest Southern drawl said, ‘Ms. Simpson, your daughter is perfect, except we have one problem — she has Neiman Marcus feet.’ I look at him, and I’m like, ‘Is that a disease?’ He said, ‘Well, sorta — she has long, skinny feet, and that’s going to cost you a lot of money because she’ll need special shoes.’”
“Little did any of us know when that doctor said that one day, 38 years later, my daughter’s feet would actually be her trademark.’”
Serving others has long been a passion for Jessica, Tina said, recalling missionary trips they took with her youngest daughter, Ashlee. “[Jessica] cried on many of our mission trips because she couldn’t bring home an infant from Mexico. She was 16 years old. She vowed to take care of these children in the orphanage. To this day, Jessica, Ashlee and myself provide for this orphanage and these children.”
Simpson’s brand launched in 2005 in a partnership with Vince Camuto, who died 10 years later. Tina described Camuto as a “master.”
“He opened the door to our future by believing in Jessica. We began building a shoe brand — and from there, it just grew,” she said. “We will forever be grateful to our Camuto family.”
The mother-daughter duo has worked collaboratively over the years to expand the brand beyond footwear to include other women’s categories. They leveraged their creative synchronicity to success.
“People ask me all the time, how do you work so closely with your daughter? Do you fight? The answer is no,” Tina said. “Our connection is so unique, and it goes well beyond a working relationship. We actually like each other. We get along — our brains think the same. She is my daughter, but the pure joy of working together and creating and changing the world is a passion that we share.”
The FFANY Shoes on Sale gala, held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York, raises funds and awareness for the cause. The program includes an award ceremony that honors outstanding achievement in the fashion industry. Among the honorees, Tabitha Simmons was named Designer of the Year, Olivia Palermo received the Influential Figure in Fashion Award, and Famous Footwear received the Retailer of the Year Award, accepted by Molly Adams, president.
FFANY and the QVC network have sold more than 2 million pairs of donated shoes and raised more than $55 million to benefit breast cancer research centers across the U.S.
“It has been just a mind-boggling experience to learn about the talented scientific minds that are engaged in finding a cure [for cancer],” said Ron Fromm, president of FFANY. “And the amazing thing is that from 25 years of raising breast cancer awareness, today the funding is actually curing breast cancer in some patients.”
In tandem with the ceremony, QVC will broadcast from its headquarters in West Chester, Penn., hosted by Jane Treacy. Nearly 80,000 pairs of shoes from 126 brands will be for sale during the broadcast.
See photos from the FFANY Shoes on Sale gala red carpet.
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