JIMMY CHOO Fall/Winter 2023
Jimmy Choo shoes are a cult phenomenon. Customers from all over the world dream of wearing the shoes that every fashion icon has already worn. Their high-heeled shoes, boots, and all kinds of accessories are undeniable stars of fashion. However, Jimmy Choo's journey is not as well-known as its footwear.
A name that now seems historic had a meteoric rise from the 1990s. Their presence in popular culture elevated them into the collective imagination. The brand is currently one of the most recognized in the world. But do you know how they got here?
It all began in Malaysia...
The son of a shoemaker in Malaysia, Jimmy Choo absorbed his initial knowledge of the craft directly from his father. In adulthood, he moved to Europe to further his education. After spending some time in his father's workshop, he moved to London to formally study leatherwork. Here, he began his journey in the world of leather accessories, opening a small handmade shoe shop with his own workshop.
His niece, Sandra Choi, soon joined the workshop to assist Jimmy Choo in footwear design. His work quickly gained recognition, being worn by figures like Princess Diana. And it's thanks to another prominent figure in fashion that their true expansion began: Tamara Mellon.
The Jimmy Choo Love heels
From Tamara Mellon to the world
At that time, Tamara Mellon was the accessories director at Vogue UK. After witnessing Mr. Choo's work firsthand, his first pair of shoes appeared in the magazine. Then, Tamara Mellon made him an offer to help with his expansion. With an investment from Mellon's father in 1996, the brand began its strategic organisation.
Candace Bushnell, the creator of the hit TV show Sex and the City, visited that small workshop in London firsthand. In Tamara Mellon's words, that workshop "could barely fit three people at once." After Bushnell's visit, that famous episode with Carrie Bradshaw and her adventure with Jimmy Choo shoes came to be. This moment turned the brand into a pop culture phenomenon, capturing the attention of thousands of women around the world.
This was one of many significant steps taken by the partnership between Choo and Mellon. Together, they participated in campaigns such as being the first footwear brand at the Oscars, with a private suite where they would custom dye and craft footwear for the invited celebrities. Mellon mentioned in a recent interview how all the shoes were initially made in white satin and then hand-dyed in the hotel bathtub to match the actresses' dress colours.
With this entrepreneurial spirit and Jimmy Choo's craftsmanship, the duo rapidly grew in the fashion industry, generating annual sales of over 100 million euros.
Jimmy Choo shoes: a footwear legend
Today, Jimmy Choo shoes are a cult item, famous both inside and outside fashion circles. Sandra Choi took over the house in the early 2000s, after both Mellon and Jimmy Choo himself left the brand. Thus, the young niece of the craftsman went from assisting her uncle to managing one of the most powerful brands in the fashion landscape.
Throughout its history, the brand has been on the feet of all the greats in culture and popular entertainment. Among them, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Angelina Jolie. Their ambassadors include current celebrities like Gisele Bundchen, Cara Delevingne, Hailey Bieber, and Kendall Jenner. The cultural impact of these figures added to Jimmy Choo's work, creating far-reaching connections in the industry.