Happy 15th Birthday Jimmy Choo!

17 December 2010

Colossus of the shoe selling world, Jimmy Choo, is 15 years old! Congratulations to Tamara Mellon and her transatlantic teams! As a tribute to the self-start-up that became a megabrand, WWD has posted a series of articles on the label, the various secrets to its success, dreamed up by founder and CEO, the inimitable, Mrs Mellon.

For example, the way she secured the brand’s position in Hollywood – by providing a bespoke shoe dyeing clinic for the pre-Oscar preparations in a nearby hotel. After noticing the number of celebrity stylists who were putting their clients in Jimmy Choo shoes for the ceremony, she thought; 'I have to go out there myself. There’s an opening for us here. Why don’t we dye the shoes to match the dress on the spot?'

The following year, Mellon boarded a plane for Los Angeles, accompanied by hundreds of white satin shoes in 25 styles, and one staffer [who] specialised in dyeing them. She invited the stylists to pick their favourites — free of charge — while Mellon and her colleague got down to the business of customising the footwear in their hotel suite.

'We’d run around like crazy looking for shoes,' the celebrity fashion stylist Jessica Paster told W Magazine in 2006. She applauded Mellon for coming to Los Angeles, 'offering us everything under one roof.'

The history of Jimmy Choo is spotted with stories of Tamara’s brainwaves like this – not just being in the right place at the right time, but going to seemingly ridiculous lengths to make sure it was her shoes that got the publicity, and that she was generating the right image to build her brand.

At the time of the Oscars stunt, Jimmy Choo had little or no advertising budget, so to dress the most famous feet in the movie world was a major milestone. 'It was a big breakthrough for us,' said Mellon of her decision to set up the temporary shop in Los Angeles each year. 'And it’s still paying off today.'

- Naomi Attwood


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