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Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo the man

Born in 1957, the Malaysian born shoemaker Jimmy Choo is also considered a master of the stiletto heel.  At the age of twelve he made his first pair of shoes and worked in the family business that was based out of their home.

While visiting relatives in London in the late 1970’s, early 80’s Choo attended Cordwainer’s Technical College to perfect his knowledge of shoemaking.  He began designing footwear in 1980 under the name Lucky Shoes, quickly moving to a more custom shoe business by the mid-eighties.

Jimmy Choo continued to build his own shoe line that was known for using exotic skins such as python, embossed leathers, fish skins, and other materials. He also became known for his unusual embellishments, catching the eye of many celebrities that included Diana, Princess of Wales.

In 1996, Tamara Mellon, a stylist for British Vogue, approached Choo about taking the company to a larger scale, and would use her father’s wealth to back it.  The line was produced in Italy, and grew quickly, selling $400 a pair stilettos around the world.

Frequent mention of Choo’s stilettos in the press accounted for their success, such as the Bush twins wearing cashmere boots to their father’s inauguration in 2001.

Unfortunately creative differences between who actually designed the shoes soured the partnership between Choo, Mellon, and a niece who was also involved in the partnership, named Sandra Choi.  The Jimmy Choo name was owned by Mellon and Choi, and became its own household name.

The Jimmy Choo brand was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2014. It was subsequently bought by Michael Kors in a transaction which completed on 1 November 2017.

Image credit (top): TEDxShanghai Jimmy Choo” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Lawrence Wang 王治钧

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