Apr 24, 2014

    Choo to focus on his couture shoes


    HAUTE couture shoemaker Jimmy Choo says he is happy to focus on his own exclusive footwear line, amid reports the famous brand bearing his name - but with which he is no longer associated - could be set for a flotation worth US$1.7 billion (S$2.1 billion).

    The London-based designer revealed he is on good terms with the people in charge of the pret-a-porter label and occasionally meets the chief executive.

    "We have an agreement. I still carry on my couture, they still carry on the Jimmy Choo ready to wear," he said in an interview.

    "Now and then when I am in London, I will call the CEO (Pierre Denis) and have tea with him and talk about what we're doing.

    "I think that's why it's an important friendship. You know we still carry on, still support each other."

    Having earlier established himself as a bespoke shoemaker in London, Malaysia-born Choo founded the brand in 1996 with British socialite Tamara Mellon.

    It became a household name after its shoes were featured on high-profile TV shows, including Sex And The City, and was worn by celebrities and royalty, including Britain's Princess Diana.

    Jimmy Choo has since developed into a luxury fashion brand encompassing shoes, handbags, leather goods, scarves, eyewear and fragrances.

    In 2001, with ties between him and Mellon souring, Choo sold his stake in Jimmy Choo Ltd, which now straddles the globe, with operations in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia.

    The company's present owner, Swiss-based luxury goods group Labelux, is reportedly looking at raising capital for the group, with a London listing being considered that could value the business at £1 billion (S$2.1 billion), according to the Financial Times.

    Mellon told American television last year that she had been the creative brains behind the partnership and claimed that Choo - who she dismissed as merely "a cobbler" - had never even lifted a pencil to design a shoe.

    Her former business partner did not comment on her claims, but said profit could not be the sole driving force behind a successful business.

    "Knowing how to respect people, that's what is very important... If you love each other, you will be successful. It may not make a lot of money but it will make a lot of love, and that's very important to the world, to society," said Choo.