Dato’ Jimmy Choo OBE, born Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat, is a London-based luxury fashion designer best known for his hand-made women’s shoes. Jimmy Choo was born in Penang, Malaysia in 1961 into a family of shoe makers. He made his first shoe when he was only 11 years old, but managed only to complete six years of formal education at Shih chung Primary School in Penang. He attended Cordwainers’s Technical College in London and the London College of Fashion. He is perhaps the most famous of alumni of Cordwainers’ Technical College in London, from which he graduated in 1983. The college is now part of the London College of Fashion. Choo has divulged that he worked part-time at restaurants and as a cleaner at a shoe factory to help fund his college education. Choo’s humble beginnings can be traced back to his workshop in Hackney, East London, which he opened in 1986 by renting an old hospital building. His craftsmanship and designs soon became noticed and he came to the verge of international fame when his creations were featured in a record eight pages in a 1988 issue of Vogue magazine. In addition to delicate high-heels, Jimmy Choo also makes boots which allow designers room for play. Jimmy Choo himself is no longer connected with the shoe designing house which he founded in 1996. In April 2001, he had sold 50 % interest in his company to Tamara Yeardye Mellon, former UK Vogue accessories editor. Jimmy Choo was then a partner but was not involved in running the business. He has since concentrated his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture line produced under license from Jimmy Choo Ltd. This is available, by appointment only, at Connaught Street off Oxford Street in London. The Jimmy Choo London line, also known as Jimmy Choo ready-to-wear or simply, Jimmy Choo, is now under the purview of Tamara Mellon and Sandra Choi. Choi, who was an apprentice under Choo, is the Creative Director at the company. She is the niece of Choo’s wife Rebecca. The ready-to-wear line has expanded to include accessories such as handbags. Choo now resides chiefly in London. He is involved in a project to set up a shoemaking institute in his country of birth Malaysia, where his iconic status is often evoked to inspire budding shoemakers and fashion designers. Tamara Mellon has led the company to grow in size and reputation. In 2001 she bought out Jimmy Choo completely, for about $ 30 million. The company has expanded from 1 shop in London to 4 stand alone stores in London, New York, Beverley Hills and Los Angeles as well as about 80 retail outlets. Then in November 2004 it was announced that Tamara had sold the whole concern to Phoenix Equity Partners for around 101 million pounds. All Choo shoes are hand-made, his perfectionist craftsmanship is displayed in their simple details. They are never overtly fashionable yet are equal in elegance to the designer clothes they are usually worn with.
His style is elegant, feminine, maybe sexy. They were favoured by the Princess of Wales, who would buy one style in several colours for evening wear and to coordinate with her day suits.
Choo favors crystalline colors, aqua, fuchsia, and bright orange and applies them to luxury fabrics like silk satin and shantung. Python and fish skin are some of his favorite materials because of the way they accept dye, and mink and feathers grace some of his styles. He has used a wide variety of stones, from Swarovski crystals to natural crystals for their healing power. His stiletto heels have been described as “dainty and deadly.” Choo’s philosophy is that shoes can be both beautiful and comfortable, and his devotees prove the point by their nearly fanatical devotion to his footwear. Princess Diana, Cate Blanchett, Madonna, Halle Berry¸Victoria Beckham, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Katherine Heigl, Lindsay Lohan, Beyonce, Cameron Diaz, Kyliue Minogue, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez
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