Sophie Simmons, Designer | Dawn To Dusk

Sophie Simmons and her son Lucas, 8. All photos by  Heidi Ross.

Sophie Simmons and her son Lucas, 8. All photos by Heidi Ross.

Like many of my close female friends in town, Sophie Simmons is not a native Nashvillian. Born in Paris and raised in DC, she moved to Tennessee nine years ago from New York City, where she worked as a fashion designer after studying at Parsons.

Due to our mutual fashion backgrounds and wide Venn diagram of overlapping friends, Sophie and I had heard of each other long before we finally met seven years ago at a baby shower in East Nashville – as you do.  

We didn't waste much time getting to know each other. Early on, I loved hearing her stories of growing her second fashion brand, a lingerie company called Dessous (the French word for underneath), which sold with top-line vendors like Barneys and Net-A-Porter. And I was totally blown away when we made the connection that I had once written about Thread Bridesmaids, the company she co-founded in the late ‘90s, when I was a fashion writer for the New York Post. (I went back and looked: I only interviewed her partner, which accounts for the initial lapse of recognition.)

However, I’ve always felt that our professional overlap was secondary to what I think of as the guts of our friendship, which to me is based on our shared willingness to be brutally honest about the kind of shit that most people would only bring up with a therapist in the room. Like me, Sophie likes to go very deep, very quickly. From our first conversation, nothing was off-limits.

Around the time we met, we were each experiencing some degree of emotional duress. Sophie was going through a heartbreakingly hard time learning how to care for her sick father; I was coming out of a particularly anxious blue period and was feeling like one big, exposed nerve. To top it off, it was the day after Sandy Hook. So, on our second date, we drove to Leiper’s Fork, where we ate dried root veggie chips at a natural café and talked (and cried) about it all. We’ve been friends ever since.

One of the coolest things about having a company in Nashville that caters to a creative community that holds so many of my dear friends is that I inevitably end up working with them. Last year, The Callaway entered a relationship with Sophie to develop a new namesake fashion company. Last week, we helped launch Sophie Simmons’ first collection, a range of underpinnings appropriately titled Dessous. Even if I wasn't doing her PR, I’d still be praising these lovely garments, which are made in New York City from Japanese ribbed cotton trimmed in French lace. Just dreamy.

To celebrate the launch, I asked Sophie to help us debut a new TCR feature called Dawn To Dusk, wherein we ask locals of note to share their perfect day in Nashville. A long-time resident of 12 South, it’s not surprising that Sophie’s sked includes stops at favorite neighborhood businesses sandwiched between time spent at home with good friends and, of course, her son Lucas, 8.

The photos that accompany the story are all by our dear buddy Heidi Ross (perhaps you remember her from TCR 23?). In addition to photos from the debut Sophie Simmons campaign shoot, we included some shots of Sophie’s closest Nashville friends — who, like her, are all professional women running their own small businesses here in Nashville — wearing her new collection, styled their way. Thanks to Andra Eggleston, Kindy Girdley, Savannah Yarborough, and Vadis Turner for modeling. You wear it well.

FIRST THING

I wake up at 6 AM. The first thing I do is stretch my body out while my fully flexible young cherub imitates me. After that, I do a five-minute quiet meditation during which I invite in some gratitude.  

I drop off my kid at USN at the bright and early hour of 7:20. Then I head to Radnor Lake for a hike. I think Radnor is one of the main reasons that I moved to Nashville. It’s 15 minutes from downtown and you’re in the woods. As Nashville grows, the trails are getting more crowded. But if you get there by 7:45, it’s fine.

By 8:45 I’m at The Jam Coffeehouse, which is in a strip mall on Wedgewood Avenue. They use great ingredients and make solid, delicious food. My favorite drink is called Reverse the Curse. It’s full of antioxidants and as soon as I drink it, I feel better. I was going through a thing where I had trouble chewing in the mornings. So I would get one called the Popeye that has peanut butter and spinach. It sounds awful, but it’s really good.

LATE MORNING

Then I like to go home and take my dog Ruthie for a walk in the 12 South area. She’s a fox/collie/lab/shepherd blend with Cleopatra eyes. I got her at Love at First Sight, a fabulous vet organization that takes in non-breed puppies, and for the price of using their veterinary services for year, lets you walk out with a warm little fluff ball. 

While I'm out, I like to hit up local shops like Ceri Hoover and White’s Mercantile, which is great for gifts. I usually have a friend who’s had a baby — or who’s moved into a new house or who’s in the process of having a nervous breakdown — and deserves a gift. It’s perfect for that. I always make sure to go across the street to visit Sarah Scarborough at Firepot Chai. I’ve known Sarah since New York. A lot of my friends here are former New Yorkers. It’s not so much that they are all friends I knew from New York, like Sarah, but that the people I met here early on tended to be transplants like me. Now I’m working hard at building my local game. And it’s not hard because people are so friendly here. And I completely mean it.

MIDDAY

I’ll squeeze in a couple hours of work and some yoga at Liberation. I love classes with Raquel, Molly and Bethany, and they all teach energetic classes around that time that are all about getting your blood flowing. After that, if I get hungry for lunch, I’ll grab a Tom Kha soup from Smiling Elephant. I also love their ginger tea — it’s spicy, sweet and seriously delicious.

For the first four years I was in Nashville, I refused to believe that I lived here. Then I accepted it and embraced it. But I must say that the pace of Nashville was appealing to me from the get-go. I was so grateful to be in a place that was calmer than New York.

Still, for a while, I would only get my hair done in New York. And then I started doing it here and was like, why haven’t I always done this? A lot of that is because Jen Maselli at Green Pea Salon is particularly talented. I have a lot of friends who go to her. I first went to her because she does Karen Elson’s hair. And Karen gets paid for her hair to look good. I do not. 

AFTERNOON

On a really perfect day, at some point I make it to Practical Massage to see Pauline. She’s a master. Ideally, I go at 5:30 and no one talks to me after that for the rest of the night. Practical has moved out of 12 South and over to 8th Avenue. The new place is great because it’s more removed. So when you leave your massage, all blissed out with your hair sticking up everywhere, you can walk outside and not see everyone you know on the sidewalk in front of Burger Up.

Then it’s time to pick up my little monster. After school, we like to go to Sevier Park and grab an ice cream from Las Paletas, across the street. It’s strawberry lemonade for Lucas and Nutella for me. And he doesn't get a bite of mine because he’s allergic to nuts — of course, I get the one he can’t eat.

SUPPERTIME

I like to invite friends who also have kids over for dinner. In a perfect world, these start at 5:30. I cook a lot of vegetables and get my meat from Martin’s BBQ. In the warmer months, I’ll get veggies from local farmer’s markets, but otherwise I'm a huge fan of Publix. I cannot tell you what a mecca it is. In Nashville you have Kroger and then you have Whole Foods and they’re both kind of eh. Publix is very every-man, and I love it.

Overall, the veggie game in Nashville needs to go up. Vegetables here are just another excuse for bacon and mayonnaise. You know I’m right. When I first had collard greens here, I was like, What is this? The person who nails vegetables in Nashville is going to be famous.

DATE NIGHT

I’m a single mom. When I have my kid, I like to be at my house. But when I have nights off, l like to go out. On date nights, I love to go downtown for fatty tuna at Koto. It’s actually a pretty decent sushi place and the décor is legendary. It’s on Union Street, around the corner from Noelle. So after we eat, we head over and go up to the roof to have drinks at Rare Bird. I really love it there, and not only because I get to sit on cushions covered in electra eggleston fabric designed by my friend Andra. The drinks are really great.  

LIGHTS OUT

On nights out, I’ll stay out until 10 — my, how times have changed since my New York days! But overall, I tend to go to bed early. Most nights I start my bedtime ritual after Lucas goes down. I take a hot bath with my awesome friend Kindy’s Herbal Soaking Bath Salts by her apothecary company Revel and get into my bed for some light Netflix viewing. I went through a period of watching crime shows, but they ended up being a part of my dreams, or shall I say nightmares. So now I stick to comedy. The last season of Broad City is about to begin, and I’m ready to take those ladies into my dreamscape.


SOPHIE SIMMONS DESSOUS IS AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT WWW.SOPHIESIMMONS.COM.