The Life: Kimora Lee Simmons
There are few people—let alone women—in the world who have more and better-suited titles than one Kimora Lee Simmons. Mother. Wife. Supermodel. Mogul. Author. Philanthropist. Producer. Television star. Force of friggin’ nature. Simmons, former wife of powerhouse music and fashion billionaire Russell Simmons and current wife of three-time Oscar-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou, always seems to have strong men in her life. Good thing. This lady wants it all.
Though a lot can be said for her considerable successful business ventures—the Baby Phat fashion empire and the KLS Design Group among them—what sets Simmons apart from so many other glamorous entrepreneurs is her palpable desire to create. You can see her desire to succeed in her stunning face. She’s nothing short of a creative dynamo in head-to-toe couture and four-inch heels and wouldn’t have it any other way. Simmons’ 21st century blended family of three children and husband Hounsou call Saddle River, NJ, home.
HudsonMOD caught up with the exotic beauty as she prepared a slew of new fashion-related launches for the world to see. For someone who wants it all, Kimora Lee Simmons sure looks like she has it all. Here’s the thing: She wants even more.
How do you personally define luxury?
It’s funny that a lot of people think about luxury in broad, sweeping terms—a little heavy-handed. 99 percent of luxury is found in the details that most people may not notice: The stitching, the weave, the handle, the details. Luxury is when an object can tell a story and bring you into it.
What’s the one luxury accessory you couldn’t live without?
I have a vintage Chanel agenda/planner that’s one of a series I’ve collected. Because I’m a meticulous note taker and list maker, it’s well worn and truly loved. I love tonal stitching and the gold leaf on the paper inserts—to me at least, that’s luxury.
How does luxury play a role in any of your businesses?
Luxe sells, definitely. Luxury is one way of showing the consumer you’ve thought about your product as a part of their lifestyle. I began my career as a model and have always taken inspiration from the brands I wore on the runways and in advertising campaigns and infused those sensibilities into whatever I was creating. We built a billion-dollar brand by offering that extra touch or special surprise that people appreciate.
Ever worry about your children being too isolated and not fully aware of others’ hardships?
All three of my kids have activists for fathers. My ex-husband [Russell Simmons] works tirelessly on behalf of the underprivileged and marginalized, so Ming and Aoki are well aware of economic injustice and their role in working to reverse it. My son Kenzo is almost three—still very young, but his father [husband, Djimon Hounsou] will undoubtedly instill in him the belief that we all take care of each other.