Fashion / Style File

CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winner Jonathan Simkhai Has a Breathtakingly Quick Personal Appearance at Tootsies

See Him Wednesday

BY // 05.08.17

Designer Jonathan Simkhai burst on the scene in 2015 when he won the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund with $300,000 in prize money to invest in his label, and most importantly, a year-long mentorship with Michael Kors. He has put that prize purse and knowledge to good use.

Since, he has dressed Gigi Hadid, Anne Hathaway, Kendall Jenner, Emma Roberts, and in the past week Lorde, Kate Hudson, Sofia Vergara and Ashley Graham. He launched his label in 2010 and early success propelled him into the CFDA Fashion Incubator program where he developed his eye for quality of craft.

Simkhai packs his trunks for a trip to Tootsies Houston, for a personal appearance — Wednesday, May 10, 1 to 3 pm — and trunk show of his fall collection — Wednesday and Thursday, May 10 and 11, 10 am to 7 pm. The collection is strong! In several ways — it’s good, very good. But the strength lies in his portrayal of powerful women, with trademark-Simkhai body-con giving edge to beauties Gigi Hadid and Anne Hathaway, who wore it on the red carpet.

The fall collection is inspired by centuries-old techniques that connote power and authority, and how these visual dynamics played out in religion, entertainment and the aristocracy in Spain. The regal romance of corsetry, matador costumes, diaphanous blouses and emphasis on the torso via constructed patterns and boning, all make appearances —and is sexy, extravagant, and dazzling.

One the eve of his trip westward, we chatted via email with Jonathan Simkhai.

As a 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner, what was the most important thing you did, or most important thing you spent the award money on. The no regrets decision.

Holiday Gifting

  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Cotton Club
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Wayne Smith
  • Cotton Club
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Wayne Smith
  • Asher Gallery
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish

Jonathan Simkhai: Winning the award was beneficial for me personally and my company in so many ways. The most important was having the ability to expand my collection to include demi-couture eveningwear and swimwear. Having the industry support you as your company grows and you try new things is invaluable.

Best takeaway from the mentoring process with Michael Kors?

JS: Michael emphasized that a designer should never lose touch with his customer, which I completely agree. The women who buy my designs are always my top priority. That’s why I’m really excited for this event with Tootsies, because it means I get to meet all the wonderful women that represent my brand on a daily basis.

You have 144,000 followers on Instagram. How important has this been to your business?

JS: It’s another avenue to connect with my customers. My brand is more than just the looks that walk down the runway. I like to show my followers the many sides of the Jonathan Simkhai brand.

Has Texas proven to be a big market for you?

JS: Texas women have been big supporters of my brand. I always want my designs to make women feel elegant and powerful — qualities that I find so many Texan women have in abundance.

Lightning Round

Margaritas: rock or frozen?


Favorite restaurant in NYC?


One thing you want to do in Houston?

I’d be crazy not to get some BBQ while I’m here!

Next trip for fun?


Inspiring places?

At the moment, LA.

Favorite Hotel?

Coral Sands at Harbour Island.


Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Daily uniform?

An APC sweater and Acne pants.

Jonathan Simkhai fall collection personal appearance and trunk show at Tootsies Houston; meet Jonathan Wednesday, May 10, 1 to 3 pm; trunk show Wednesday and Thursday, May 10 and 11, 10 am to 7 pm. Tootsies, 2601 Westheimer, tootsies.com.

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