Founded in 1996 by Malaysian Chinese couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo, his niece Sandra Choi and Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon, British fashion house Jimmy Choo has evolved from iconic luxury shoes into handbags, small leather goods, scarves, sunglasses, eyewear, belts, fragrance and men’s shoes.
The brand traces its roots to the early Nineties.. to London College of Fashion alumnus Jimmy Choo. After graduating in 1986 the Malaysian-born cobbler opened a made-to-order shoe boutique in London’s East End for private clients including Princess Diana. By 1988 it was featured in an eight-page issue in Vogue. There was no looking back since. After the sexy stilettos appeared in ‘Sex and the City’ where Carrie Bradshaw proclaims “Wait—I lost my Choo” it became the shoe of choice for everyone from First Lady Michelle Obama to Beyoncé and Duchess Catherine. In 1996 former British Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon – who took a £150,000 loan from her father – collaborated with Jimmy Choo and his niece Sandra Choi and grew the modest shop into global empire Jimmy Choo Ltd.
“Keeping innovation and energy flowing it key” Tamara Mellon told Vogue. “I dreamed of creating the perfect luxury accessory house, one that captures the hearts of women around the world. Even now with everything that we have accomplished we are far from resting on our laurels, what excites me most is the thrill of the next project, the next idea. And, while I am enormously proud of our brand’s heritage, I know the best is yet to come.”
The first store opened in 1997 on London’s Motcomb Street. The same year late Princess Diana was photographed on the red carpet wearing Jimmy Choo slingbacks. Two years later the company expanded to the United States, with stores in New York and Beverly Hills, and several boutiques in secondary outlets such as Saks Fifth Avenue. International expansion continued with Jimmy Choo stores in Sloane Street and Bond Street in London, Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Via Condotti in Rome, Madison Avenue in New York, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and Ginza in Tokyo.
“There are no shortcuts… You have to know your craft and respect the fundamentals of shoe design. It can’t be borne purely out of creativity” Sandra Choi told Glamour. “When you’re Chinese and living with family, you just do work with family, It’s cultural. I was really into making things, and this world of fabrics, materials, and sewing machines was amazing to me.”
In 2001 Choo sold his 50 per cent share of the company to Equinox Holdings- a private equity firm- for a reported sum of $30 million. Mellon and co-creative director Sandra Choi stayed with the company and diversified into fragrance and eyewear. Today, Choo is no longer involved with the company he co-founded in an official or design capacity.
In 2004 Jimmy Choo- which had 23 stores- was sold to Lion Capital for a reported price of £101 million and was then sold to TowerBrook Capital Partners the following year for reported £225 million. In 2011 Tama Mellon retired. Jimmy Choo was resold to Labelux for reported £525.5 million and the following year, the company hired Pierre Denis as CEO. With 177 stores in thirty-four countries, Jimmy Choo became the first luxury footwear brand to go public on London Stock Exchange.
In 2014 – with 177 stores in thirty-four countries – Jimmy Choo becomes the first luxury footwear brand to go public. About 25 per cent of the company was sold in a London IPO at $2.24, giving it a market capitalization of about $870 million. However, the tides turned once again. Jimmy Choo put itself up for sale in April 2017 and in November that year, was acquired by Michael Kors Holdings for reportedly £896m.
John D. Idol- chairman and chief executive officer of Michael Kors Holdings Limited- said in a company statement: “We are thrilled to have completed the acquisition of Jimmy Choo, which brings together two iconic brands to create a global fashion luxury group. Jimmy Choo has a rich history as a leading global luxury house, renowned for its glamorous and fashion-forward footwear, and is an excellent complement to the Michael Kors brand. We believe this combination further strengthens our future growth opportunities while also increasing both product and geographic diversification.”
To capture the hearts of women and inspire men around the world.
The brand won prolific awards including Order of British Empire in 2002; British Fashion Council Awards Designer Brand 2008; Accessories Council Brand of the Year 2008.
Sandra Choi (Creative Director)
Pierre Denis (CEO)
Peter Harf (Chairman)
Jimmy Choo retails luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and fragrance.