Step and Repeat
Tamara Mellon co-founded cult brand Jimmy Choo in 1996 before launching her eponymous lifestyle brand in 2013 — and then relaunching it as a direct-to-customer luxury footwear line last year. Fresh off the opening of her first brick-and-mortar store at L.A.’s splashy Palisades Village, Mellon answers our burning questions.
Who is your ideal seatmate on a long plane ride?
Someone who doesn’t talk. It’s a time when I don’t feel social. I want to read, watch a movie, meditate. I like to be in my zone.
Describe your travel wardrobe.
I try to dress as comfortable as possible. I wear Lululemon leggings with a comfy cashmere sweater and my Love It or Hate It shoe. It’s the perfect airport shoe. It’s like an outdoor slipper.
Describe the most memorable trip you’ve taken this year?
To a friend’s wedding at a ski resort in Switzerland. You wouldn’t normally go there in the summer, but it was beautiful. The wedding was at the top of a mountain and you could only get there by chairlift. Coming down at night when it was pitch black out was interesting … but it was really fun.
What three iconic figures would be at your dream dinner party?
The Dalai Lama, because he is such a spiritual human and I would love to get some lessons from him; Gloria Steinem, because she is my hero; and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because she is so strong. Now, that would be an interesting dinner!
What dish do you prepare best?
I can make an English Sunday roast. It’s roasted beef or chicken with vegetables.
What’s your favorite word?
Empathy. I think it sums up everything that the world needs. It’s something that I try to use every day.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A neuroscientist. My partner teases me all the time by saying, “You’re the only person I know who reads the Psychiatric Times for fun.” But I do! I have always been obsessed with the brain.
Worst job you’ve ever had?
I handed out flyers on Kings Road in London for a discount hairdresser chain.
Do you prefer phone calls or texts?
I prefer FaceTime, because I like seeing people.
Most treasured possession?
Minty, my daughter. She’s not a possession, but she is my most treasured thing.
How are fashion and travel related?
You don’t have great fashion without great travel. Diana Vreeland [the late fashion icon and former Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue editor] said, “The eye has to travel.” I believe that.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep working. Even if you don’t know what you want to do, if you’re doing something, you’ll find an idea and an opportunity, so just keep working.
What does no one know about Tamara Mellon?
That I love hip-hop. People wouldn’t expect me to, but I love old school hip-hop like Run-DMC. You should hear my workout playlist.