Adele Simpson was born in New York in 1903. After graduating from the Pratt School of Design, she became a dressmaker for designer Ben Gershel. After a few years there, she moved over to William Bass, and then to Mary Lee Fashions, where she began designing under her own name.
Simpson won the Neiman-Marcus Award in 1946 and the Coty American Fashion Critics Award in 1947. She bought the business in 1949. Simpson designed dresses for First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Rosalynn Carter, and Barbara Bush. Simpson was the first American designer to use cotton for high fashion. Her designs were consistently conservative and feminine.
Her clothing ethos was to make high-class wearable clothes for busy women, who could continue their ensembles or outfits from daytime into evening. Simpson continued designing until 1985, and her daughter and son-in-law ran the business until selling it in 1991. The line has been since discontinued.
Simpson died in 1995.