Q&A with Tiffany Tuttle, designer and founder of LD Tuttle Shoes
September 8, 2015
Tiffany Tuttle is a shoe designer and founder of LD TUTTLE, an LA based shoe company. She began her career as a professional ballet dancer before attending FIT and Ars Sutoria, the Italian shoe school. Dance and movement remain continuous themes in her designs, working with soft unlined leathers and letting the wearer make the shoe her own. Tiffany has collaborated with various designers on their runway shows including Doo.ri, Mandy Coon, Peter Pilotto, Matthew Ames, Helmut Lang, Victoria Bartlett for VPL and Creatures of Comfort. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
What I love most about being a mom is my kids! I love spending time with them and as a working mom, I try to really cherish and relish the time that I do get to spend with them.
Motherhood has changed me in small mundane ways – I am more efficient at work, and of course in much larger ways. I think all mothers have a different view of themselves in the world. It is not better or worse, mothers just have a distinct relationship to the world around them where there is something outside of themselves that is of the highest importance.
I breastfed but it didn’t really affect my wardrobe much, except when I had shingles! I had to make sure that none of the spots touched my son, so I only wore button down shirts during that time.
My style has gone through a series of changes depending on pregnancy, post-pregnancy, etc. There was time period after each of my children were just born that I opted for the easiest, most comfortable thing I could find. For the most part, I have tried not to let it change what I wear and my style is still the same– utilitarian, a bit androgynous with a few extreme fashiony pieces thrown in the mix. Although I am very careful with light colors! I can’t seem to spend a day with my kids without getting paint, food, something on my clothes.
As a professional ballet dancer and in the years of training before that, I spent a lot of time staring at my feet, other people’s feet etc. It seemed normal at the time but dancers definitely spend an inordinate time thinking about feet. When I moved into fashion design, it felt natural for me to keep coming back to what women were wearing on their feet. It mattered a lot to me personally what my shoes were. Shoes dictate the silhouette and the mood of someone’s look. I decided I wanted to focus on shoes for that reason. They are such an essential part of fashion. So I left my work as a clothing designer and went to shoe school in Italy! I have never looked back. People ask me all the time if I want to go back into clothing but I don’t. I love focusing on shoes. I don’t dance any longer. I think it would be too hard to do it without really putting my full self into it. Instead I do pilates. I don’t have the same joy of movement but the intense focus on specific parts of the body reminds me of dancing.
We live in Hancock Park in Los Angeles, which is right in the center of the city. Every weekend, I take the kids to breakfast at Sycmore Kitchen. It has delicious food and a large patio filled with other kids and dogs so there is plenty for them to look at and you don’t feel too bad if they make a mess. I love taking my kids to the LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits next door. It is a fun place for them to run around and have some space while seeing a few interesting things. Otherwise, I try to keep the weekends very simple – we hang out in our back yard and paint, go for a walk around the neighborhood with my son on his scooter and get pizza from Larchmont Village Pizzeria. We also try to go away fairly often on the weekends to get the kids out of the city. The nice thing about Los Angeles is that it is so easy to get away – we go to the beach, to the desert and have taken the kids camping up in the mountains as well.
I wake up with the kids and make them breakfast. We always sit down and have a pretty long meal together. Then it is a rush to get everyone and myself dressed. I am usually running out the door with my son to try to get him to school on time. I always drop off my son at school when I am not traveling. I really value this time with him and feeling connected to something that is a big part of his life. I head from there to work and am back home around 6 for dinner with the kids. After dinner, we usually run around outside for a few minutes and then do our bedtime routine which is bath, books and bed. By 8, they are down and then I often go back to working.
I find it important to still see friends. I try to schedule dinners after 8 so that I can put my kids down to bed. In the last few months, I have started working out again for the first time in years. Sometimes, I feel guilty that I am not with my children or working for that hour but it really makes a big difference in how I feel – I have more energy and my body feels so much better. But mostly just talking to other working moms helps me remember that I am not the only one who feels like a crazed maniac at times!
Anyone who is warm, who listens and who cares.
Bedtime Story: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Lullaby: Somewhere over the Rainbow – not really a lullaby but my son loves it.
Vacation Spot: Ketchum, Idaho – I just came back from a week there with the kids and it was amazing for them. Every thing we did, my children begged to do again – wading in the river, taking the gondola up the mountain, hiking around. It was so nice to see them spending the whole day outside.
Restaurant: Sycamore Kitchen
Children’s Brand: Makie but only rarely as it is expensive…
I knew so little! I had not spent that much time around children before I had my own. Maybe that is nice because I wasn’t so nervous or anxious. I wish had known more about toddlers though! Learning how to help my children through the ups and downs of being a toddler is where I think the real challenge is.