Jimmy Choo Starts New Chapter

Sandra Choi and Simon Holloway will unveil their cruise collection and a whimsical, one-off collaboration with the artist Rob Pruitt today.

View Slideshow

LONDON — With a dash of glitter and an artsy twist, Sandra Choi and Simon Holloway are off and running at Jimmy Choo.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The firm’s co-creative directors — and the new public faces of the brand — will unveil their cruise collection and a whimsical, one-off collaboration with the artist Rob Pruitt, today at the Chelsea Arts Tower here.

Although Choi has been with the company since its launch in 1996, and Holloway joined in 2010, the duo is now firmly under the spotlight since the departure last year of chief creative officer and cofounder Tamara Mellon and chief executive officer Joshua Schulman.

“We’ll really be nurturing the collections, and giving the product more of a fashion angle,” said Choi, who has spent her entire career building the Choo brand. “These collections need to have a strong fashion flavor,” she added during a walk-through with Holloway of the new collections.

“Ultimately, Jimmy Choo is about modern glamour, and we both love glamorous fashion. We’ll keep that core luxurious feeling,” said Holloway.

An industry observer recalled that while Mellon had the marketing ideas, spin and confidence to sell the brand, Choi was always instrumental in the creative process. “She’s extremely dedicated and has got a great eye. She was always the ‘sitting on the right side of sexy’ piece in the puzzle,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

While Choi is a niece of Jimmy Choo and learned the craft by his side, Holloway built his career with a string of international luxury brands. At the start of his career, he worked at Chloé under Karl Lagerfeld, and held senior creative roles at Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren. He joined Choo in 2010 and was named co-creative director a year later.

The Pruitt collection, Jimmy Choo’s first, full-scale artistic collaboration, mirrors Choi’s and Holloway’s glam aesthetic, but also their sense of adventure.

“It was fun to get out of our comfort zone — and he certainly pushed the challenging button. He came to us with four pieces of artwork and we narrowed it down. And we took it from 2-D to 3-D,” said Choi, pointing to stiletto heels, fluffy boudoir mules, jelly sandals and bags with Pruitt’s signature panda prints and thick lashings of glitter.

Pruitt created a lace motif, which the designers laid over some of the shoes and printed onto clutch bags. They also took one of his multicolored dégradé prints and used it to cover heels and soles. Clutches and shoes are lined with leather featuring angel and devil panda prints, while platform and stiletto heels are covered in glitter zebra fabric. Some of the clutches are sprinkled with colored beads — Pruitt’s nod to New Year’s Eve confetti.

The Choo team created special packaging that includes bright pink boxes with dégradé lining sealed with panda stickers. There are 19 styles of shoes, bags and accessories in the collection, including wallets, key chains and a silk twill scarf.

The main cruise collection is equally glamorous, albeit less exuberant in its use of color, pattern and patchworking.

Choi and Holloway said their inspiration this season was “sexy modernism,” and that they were inspired by the work of Rudi Gernreich, Paco Rabanne and André Courrèges. There is a surfeit of metallic fabrics and finishes ranging from silver and gold to turquoise, jade and tangerine. The designers have worked with snakeskin and other exotic materials, and integrated dandyish touches such as matching soles and linings in colors such as citrine.

On a more commercial note, the designers have also introduced a new, 50-mm. kitten heel pump with a pointy toe, and a series of new silhouettes to the 24:7 collection of wardrobe basics, including T-strap patent wedges and stilettos.

View Slideshow