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Sole Purpose

On the occasion of Jimmy Choo’s 20th anniversary, the brand introduces a capsule collection conceived by Creative Director Sandra Choi. The talented designer, who’s been with the company since its inception, is a champion for the modern woman—as focused on advancing her style as she is on simplifying her life.

Jimmy Choo Creative Director Sandra Choi at the company’s London offices

Peek under any train at the Oscars or the Golden Globes, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a glimmering pair of Jimmy Choo heels. The brand’s strappy stilettos have provided the framework for the statuesque poise of starlets like Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and Reese Witherspoon. The success of these sought-after shapes lies in their ability to make an impact without stealing the show.

Appropriately, that balancing act—playing a starring role without demanding the spotlight—is also performed by Jimmy Choo Creative Director Sandra Choi, who has enjoyed a 20-year-long tenure with the company. When her uncle, Jimmy Choo, started an eponymous footwear line in London’s East End in 1996, Choi went straight to work, as much out of an interest in fashion as a sense of familial duty. “I’ve grown up with this brand,” says the loyal designer. “My education in fashion and luxury is very much through Jimmy Choo.” After 17 years with the company, Choi was appointed sole creative director in 2013 and promptly began designing for a customer who might change from flats to heels to biker boots in a matter of hours, much like herself. “I like to think that my personal style has bled into the brand,” she says.

Choi’s vision of the Jimmy Choo customer is refreshingly realistic—an ode to the lifestyle of the modern woman. “I like to think the Jimmy Choo woman has gone with the wave of time and technology, and the changes in her lifestyle,” says Choi. Busy women need a wardrobe that is stylish and aspirational without being overthought.

“I build a narrative when I’m designing a collection: a place, a character, a certain situation...” says the designer. For the Memento collection ($675 to $4,950), the 20-piece tribute for the brand’s 20th anniversary, which hits stores in April, that meant looking back to look forward. Favorites such as the celebrity-beloved Lance and Minny are offered alongside new embellished styles like the Swarovski-bejeweled Storm and crystal-clasped Tetrus. Choi’s favorite newcomer? The Tizzy, a sandal with a multicorded ankle strap. “A little bit of fantasy, a little bit of sexiness, a little bit of playfulness” is her description of the sinuous style. “It’s just perfect,” she says.

A festive, sparkly spin on the Helena heels ($750) from the new Memento collection

But the same woman who gets giddy over gilded stilettos is also focused on the ideal shoe wardrobe for the modern professional. Choi’s respect for her customer is apparent in introductions like the Made-to-Order collection (from $750), a range of styles that are fully customizable—the bespoke process will soon debut online, but for now, customers can work with Jimmy Choo representatives on designing their perfect pair of pumps. For a woman who embodies her customer as much as she dreams for her, sharing the design process was a natural next step. “I love that, ultimately, our customers have opinions—it’s part of the fun of dressing up,” Choi says. “Fashion is about you, your individual choices and what you want to say about yourself.” As for her own empowered message, and her message for the brand, it’s nothing if not loud and clear. 63 E. Oak St., 312.255.1170