Babs Simpson, Century of Style

The Miriam A. Osborn Foundress Luncheon to benefit the H.O.P.E. Center for Memory Care at The Osborn could not have picked a more appropriate person to honor than Mrs. Babs Simpson, Vogue’s legendary fashion editor from 1947 to 1972.

A14 Babs Simpson
Published May 2, 2013 7:56 PM
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A14 Babs SimpsonThe Miriam A. Osborn Foundress Luncheon to benefit the H.O.P.E. Center for Memory Care at The Osborn could not have picked a more appropriate person to honor than Mrs. Babs Simpson, Vogue’s legendary fashion editor from 1947 to 1972.

By Tom McDermott

 

A14 Babs SimpsonThe Miriam A. Osborn Foundress Luncheon to benefit the H.O.P.E. Center for Memory Care at The Osborn could not have picked a more appropriate person to honor than Mrs. Babs Simpson, Vogue’s legendary fashion editor from 1947 to 1972.

 

Did someone say memories? Babs Simpson was born in “Peking,” as she says, where her father was head of a bank, and left China while being carried in a laundry basket. And, that was just the beginning. Later, when she suddenly found herself in need of a job, she got a call from Syrie Maugham, Somerset’s wife and interior decorating legend, who told her about an opening at Harper’s Bazaar, working for Carmel Snow. Diana Vreeland also worked there.

 

At Vogue, Mrs. Simpson travelled nearly everywhere on fashion shoots with the greatest photographers. Her favorite was Irving Penn, and she was with Bert Stern on a shoot with Marilyn Monroe two weeks before she died.

 

If that’s not enough for you, she met Ernest Hemingway, whose writing she admired, in his house in Havana, along with a beautiful model. What did she think? “He was sweaty and awful.” So, she headed to the airport to go home.

 

Today, she pays attention to Bill Cunningham’s photos in The Times, thinks most women’s fashion is pretty ordinary, and feels the new casual looks for men are “sexy.”

 

Babs Simpson has lived a century, and has the same lively spirit that guided her to have enormous fun at work and at life. You’ll have to go to the luncheon to see for yourself.

 

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