Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Here's lookin at Choo!

My fashion journo friend Laura kindly invited me to an evening with Tamara Mellon, the company founder and president of Jimmy Choo, hosted by Colin McDowell at LCF.

The evening got off to an exciting start with Tamara giving away bags and shoes to two lucky ladies, the envy was palpable in the room! Though Colin got rather stuck on describing Tamara as 'more Teflon then chiffon', meaning more business minded then creatively driven. Still no-one wants to be compared to a non stick frying pan!

Tamara herself is incredibly chic and glamorous, though as my friend pointed out had limited facial expressions, must be all that Teflon. Ahem! Though not quite hitting Imelda Marcos's shoe statistic of 3000, Tamara did admit to owning over 800 shoes and employed a lady from 'practical Princess' who helps to categorise and store them.

If you're not familiar with the story of Choo, it all began with Jimmy himself in his workshop in East London and his assistant and niece Sandra, until Mafia princess (not that this was part of her heritage was mentioned) Tamara discovered his skills and went into partnership with him.
The brand has since gone global; Michelle Obama is wearing them, they were a key feature in hit series 'Sex in the City' and they won Brand of the Year award in 2008 at the British Fashion Awards.

Photo by Terry Richardson from the Jimmy Choo S/S 09 campaign featuring Angela Lindvall

On answering why she thought the company has been so successful, Tamara reiterated the necessity of luxury fabrics and also that in contemporary society, 'a bag is a status symbol, it shows you are part of a certain tribe, I have this much money, I'm part of this crowd'

Although Tamara clearly has a hard hitting business approach to the company and would be something to be feared in the board room, she was also inspiring for her commitment and drive to a still young brand, her ability to juggle her family and work and her undeniable female strength in a male dominated environment.

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