LONDON — Sandra Choi and Pierre Denis are poised to write a new chapter in the story of Jimmy Choo.
In their first joint interview, creative director Choi and Denis, the brand’s newly appointed chief executive officer, outlined some of their plans for the brand, including collections with a broader appeal, a new shop fit and steady penetration into the Chinese market, where Jimmy Choo has only begun to plant its flag.
Choi will show her first full collection as sole creative director in Milan on Saturday. She began her career interning for her uncle, Jimmy Choo, in his bespoke shoe business and was named creative director when the current company was established in 1996. After that firm’s cofounder Tamara Mellon quit in 2011, Choi was named co-creative director with Simon Holloway, who left earlier this month.
Choi said her goal is to make the brand, a division of the privately held Labelux Group, “more relevant, more current, more today. Put it back into the limelight. I want this brand to have power and strength.”
One of her aims, she said, is to show the different sides of the Choo woman: “Jimmy Choo is not just about a high-heeled, slinky party number; there is another side. We do biker boots and smoking slippers — for men and women — really well. There’s room for [Choo] 24:7, the fashion collections and the edgier, tougher styles.”
The Choo 24:7 collection is the company’s line of day and night wardrobe staples.
For fall, Choi said she was inspired by Helmut Newton’s photography, and especially his powerful images of women. The collection is filled with boots and military references. There is also a nod to Newton’s leg-loving lens with straps, cuffs and corsages around the ankles of shoes.
Denis, who joined the company seven months ago having most recently served as managing director for John Galliano SA, said putting Choi in the spotlight was a key decision.
“Sandra has been breathing Jimmy Choo since the beginning, and she fully understands the DNA of the company. She has been the creative force driving Jimmy Choo for a very long time,” he said.
He explained that the two are working together on a new shop fit — partly to accommodate the new, larger stores that will stock men’s and women’s styles — and are “rethinking” the look of the ad campaign and overall brand imagery.
In terms of retail, Denis said he is looking to open four to five shops a year in first- and second-tier Chinese cities, with a goal of having about 25 in the region. Choo already has shops in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Nanjing. The Chinese shops, which will stock the men’s and women’s collections, will be 1,620 to 2,160 square feet.
The brand will also be opening a men’s flagship on Dover Street in London in April. The 1,200-square-foot store will span two floors and house a complete assortment of Jimmy Choo men’s shoes and accessories, including bags, belts, scarves and small leather goods.
Denis said that while women’s shoes is the largest product category in terms of sales, men’s offered the biggest opportunity and was growing fast.
Growth — overall sales were up 17 percent year-on-year in 2012 — is coming from a variety of regions, including Europe, he said. France, Germany and the U.K. have been particularly strong, with Eastern Europe the next new frontier. A store is set to open in Prague in March. Jimmy Choo’s online shop remains its biggest retail outlet.
The U.S. is Choo’s number-one market, with about 30 stores and a network of wholesale accounts including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The company recently opened a unit in Nashville.
Choi said, looking forward, a new handbag line will launch in 2014, and more collaborations —such as the one with Rob Pruitt for the 2013 cruise collection —are in the works.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews