Tamara Mellon and Tootsies creative fashion director Fady Armanious
So many things have been said about Tamara Mellon. That she owns more than 3,000 pairs of shoes … That she launched and sold one of the most famous fashion footwear lines to ever exist … That her mother was a model for Chanel … The list goes on and on. But what may not have been said is that she’s a great mom — a mere mortal who struggles with the same conflict and turmoil that every mother faces on a daily basis. Make no mistake: This is a mom who winters in the Caribbean and summers in the Mediterranean, has Natalie Massenet (founder of luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter) on speed dial and, according to the Sunday Times, is the 64th richest woman in Britain. But in spite of all this, she confesses to being a homebody and seems truly grounded by her 13-year-old daughter, Araminta — “Minty,” as Mellon calls her.
In town for a shindig with Tootsies, Mellon hit Houston for a few precious hours last night before continuing on to L.A. to promote her namesake apparel and accessories label, which she launched in 2013 after her public exit from the behemoth of a brand that she built nearly 20 years ago, Jimmy Choo. Tootsies hosted a two-day trunk show celebrating her visit and culminating in an invite-only garden party hosted by Houston cuties Allie Fields and Annsley Popov on their outdoor patio. Here are some of the tough questions that my own daughter and I put to her while primping for the event.
Describe yourself in one word.
designers you admire.
I like all the Parisians, actually. I love Balmain and Givenchy. And I love what Hedi [Slimane] is doing at Saint Laurent. Everything just feels really new right now.
Is that an engagement ring?
Well, it’s a promise ring, as we’re actually engaged not to be married. Michael gave it to me because he wanted to say to me “I love you, and we’re together.” [Her non-fiancé, Michael Ovitz, is a Hollywood heavy hitter, the co-founder of prominent celebrity management group Creative Artists Agency — or CAA, as it is known. They got engaged not to be married in December, right before going away for the holidays.]
Is Minty interested in fashion?
She is. She’s very opinionated. She has her own style, so she’ll tell me when she doesn’t like something. We’re going through a stage where I’m the most embarrassing person in the world to her right now.
If ShE WANTED to pursue a career in fashion, would you encourage her?
Oh yes. I would say to do what you’re passionate about. Because if you do what you’re passionate about, the rest will follow.
Advice to YOUR DAUGHTER OR YOUR YOUNGER SELF.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
what you enjoy most about your business.
The creative process. I’m very hands on.
Accessories or apparel.
I love both equally.
Anything you would have done differently.
Yes. I would never have given up control of Jimmy Choo. Because ultimately when you do, it’s like living as a guest in your own home.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.