NEW YORK — Jimmy Choo is far from Old World, yet that’s exactly where Tamara Mellon drew from for her latest design endeavor — the company’s Madison Avenue flagship.
“I wanted to create something that was very feminine, and I was really looking at the Forties,” said Mellon, the company’s president in a phone interview from her vacation home in Ibiza. “I wanted it to have a boudoir feel, something very intimate that has more of a domestic feel than a shop.”
Mellon, along with the help of Italian architect Tiziano Vudafieri and Lena Pessoa, was able to realize this vision. Situated at 716 Madison Avenue, the 1,500 square-foot unit, which houses the company’s sought-after stilettos and a new line of handbags, evokes an elegant dressing room in variegated lavender hues. The jewel box setting is accentuated with pale lilac satin-covered wall panels, Art Deco mirrors, sleek ultra-suede chaises and Lucite tables. The boudoir-like touches are further offset by tiny footstools with fringe, Venetian crystal drop chandeliers and luxe velvet drapes.
“The boutique has been designed from floor to ceiling so that every component, from the mirrored vitrines to the chrome and glass door handles, echo the sensibility of the Jimmy Choo brand,” said Mellon.
The dreamy interior is the perfect backdrop for the fall shoe collection, which was inspired by the Twenties and the Sixties and features patent boots in petrol blue along with moire silk pumps festooned with ornate vintage-inspired brooches.
Despite her desire to create a haven for female shoppers, Mellon was also keen on bucking the trend of minimalism and homogeneity that she’s seen at retail.
“What I wanted was something completely different from anybody else,” she continued. “I find that with stores today you could really just change the name outside and it could be anybody’s store. They really all look very much the same.”
A second store in Manhattan was a natural step for the company.
“When we first opened on 51st Street, we really had no idea what type of business we were going to have in New York,” said Mellon. “So we didn’t know if we’d be able to pay the Madison rents, and since then we’ve built up an extremely loyal client base, and we know we have the business now to support a Madison Avenue store.”While the Madison Avenue flagship marks the 10th Jimmy Choo store in the U.S., the company is rolling out several more both in America and abroad over the next year and half. Stores will open in Milan, Dubai and Short Hills, N.J., this September while other openings in Houston, Chicago, Paris, London and Hong Kong are slated for next year.
The company is on track do in excess of $40 million by year’s end, according to Robert Bensoussan, chief executive officer of Jimmy Choo Ltd. He estimates that first-year sales for the Madison Avenue store will exceed $5 million.
Yet the company’s retail expansion is just one part of its three-fold growth plan, said Bensoussan. “There is also the development of wholesale in areas where we are not very present, like continental Europe,” he said. “We are a company which has been more focused historically on the U.K. and the U.S. So the main objective becomes also, in terms of wholesale, continental Europe and Asia.
“The third point of development is the handbags, which have started incredibly well. We’ve restructured our bag collection completely. We launched a new line called the Tulita, which is having incredible success this fall already. We’ve almost sold out in our own stores. And this is a major objective of ours: to become a good name in handbags following the same rules of Jimmy Choo — exclusivity and sexiness,” he said.
Retail prices for shoes range from $400 to $1,500, while handbags start at $700 and cost up to $1,200. The Jimmy Choo label is sold at major U.S. retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and select Nordstrom stores, as well as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in London. While the business is currently 55 percent wholesale and 45 percent retail, Bensoussan expects to reverse those two figures by the end of next year.
The company rolled out its handbag collection this fall, yet Mellon would like to continue developing the Jimmy Choo accessories brand with other offshoots such as cosmetics, jewelry and sunglasses.
Mellon said, “I’m very interested in looking into all of those areas.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast