There are two types of people in the world: those who wear shoes and those who love shoes. Stylist and designer, Simone Haag, belongs to a third category: those who really, really love shoes. As a busy mum of two young daughters, Simone’s shoe collection is a combination of the practical and impractical. She doesn’t flip flop in-between, as she puts it: “Give me some trusty trainers or heels so high I won’t be able to walk by the end of the night, but none of this business in the middle!”
Simone is the original hunter and gatherer. Working as an interiors stylist for residential projects and editorially as Real Living’s Melbourne contributor, Simone’s that person who is always sourcing the best stuff from the most unexpected places. It’s part of her charm.
From her Scandi-inspired family home to her recently renovated beach house the Anglers Shack and the homes of her clients, Simone’s aesthetic is hard to miss: it’s meticulous, considered and fun. The same ethos applies to her shoe collection, a place where a $10 op shop find will sit next to a pair of Chloe boots. When it comes to shoes anything goes for Simone, as long as the PPW (price per wear) works out in her favour.
What has been your biggest splurge on shoes?
Chloe boots. They were on the wish list for close to three years, so there was no chance of buyer’s remorse with this pair after lusting over them for so long. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t begrudge me spending money on investment purchases. We have an agreement, as long as the PPW (price per wear) works out in the end, I can add to cart.
What is your biggest shoe regret?
My biggest shoe regret is an ongoing disorder I call USSD (Underestimate Shoe Size Disorder). You see, I know what size I am, I have been the same shoe size for many years now, but this won’t stop me from buying the perfect pair of shoes even if they are one size too small.
I will convince myself that they ‘fit’, take them home and wear them just enough that they are non-returnable. It’s a few weeks later, when I am hunched over with a shoehorn and sweaty brow that I know I am in trouble, and when I hope the client’s house I am about to walk into isn’t a ‘shoe off’ home.
I bought a pair of suede ankle boots from French label IRO a few years ago, I knew they weren’t going to fit, but I purchased anyway. This pair has actually turned into one of my best styling props for shoots, and I am counting down the days until my first-born Goldie can fit into them!
Your verdict on ugg boots out in public, yes or no?
My gut feeling is to say absolutely no, but on reflection, I think a postcode related response is required. I live in what was generally known as a fairly bogan suburb, and likewise, my beach house is on the daggy coast line, so to be fair I have worn my uggs out in public. Would I wear them out in 3142 aka Toorak? Um, hell no!
The age-old debate: Heels or flats?
I love both but when I say I love both I mean I love heels or flats, don’t give me that mediocre business in the middle that tries to be a heel with the comfort of flats. When I’m wearing heels I want a pair that’s super high that I fear I will not be able to walk by the end of the night. To me, that’s part of the fun. Or give me some trusty trainers or an ankle boots. In my job I shift from having to be on-the-go on a shoot day to running to client meetings in something a little more upbeat.
Where is the best place your shoes have taken you?
My trusty pair of Converse Chuck Taylors (the black leather ones) have taken me around the world! I’ve worn them snowboarding in Japan, Canada, France and the States. I popped in some of those lambswool inserts and they became a quasi snow boot.
In my twenties, I worked for Quiksilver the surfing company for a few years all over America, and this pair of shoes saw me through that time. I then did a stint in rainy London, and my socks were never wet. The perfect travel companion, they squashed up nice and small when I backpacked around Europe, and got me from A to B safe and sound.
Be honest, do you keep your shoes in out of the box?
I’m split down the middle here. Expensive shoes in the box, knock about pair of trainers out of the box. Having said that I once tried to be super organised and went out and bought matching boxes for all of my shoes. I then proceeded to stick a Polaroid photo of each pair to the front of the respective box. Now would be an appropriate time to say: What the?!
What is your all time favourite pair of shoes?
A cracking pair of thigh high leather boots found at an op shop in Barwon heads for under $10. And I do love my Versace two-toned pumps (cream and peach) worn on my wedding day. It’s important to note here that my USSD syndrome snuck in again with this pair, so as much as I would like to get the PPW down, I just can’t ever where these beauties again!
How many pairs of shoes are too many?
When they start collecting dust!
Typically Walnuts are a hard nut to crack, but not the habbot variety. What is it about this style that you're a fan of?
Well funnily enough I did say I wasn't a mid heel kind of girl - but this one has a summer sandal elegance and is comfy enough to run after a naughty toddler in between client visits!
Where do you hope your habbots will take you this Summer?
I was really hoping they would take me to the Indonesia resort in Nihiwatu, but I think I will need Qantas for that.
To find out more about Simone Haag visit her website here, follow her on Instagram, or stay at her beach house the Anglers Shack in Philip Island. And of course, feel free to wear your ugg boots if you visit!
Simone chooses habbot’s Walnut to get her from A to B on busy styling days.
Words | Lisa Marie Corso
Photography | Amelia Stanwix