SHOE MAS­TER

Jimmy Choo’s sage ad­vice

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - SHOOTING STARS -

B uy­ing shoes on­line is a bad idea, says the man who re­de­fined women’s footwear 30 years ago.

The iconic brand that bears his name makes much of its money from on­line ready-to-wear sales, but Jimmy Choo says it’s vi­tal to try be­fore you buy.

“You must try on the pair of shoes first,” the 68-year-old ex­plains to BW Mag­a­zine. “It may look amaz­ing on the win­dow dis­play but it might not suit you in terms of cut and de­sign.

“It must fit you like a glove and you are able to walk in them with­out any pinch­ing sen­sa­tion on your toes and heels.”

The Malaysian-born shoe­maker vis­ited Syd­ney this month for a se­ries of events. He also trav­elled to Brisbane, where he held a mas­ter­class for TAFE Queens­land stu­dents, called Cre­ativ­ity Through Skills.

The Aus­tralian visit is the se­cond for Choo in re­cent years — he pre­sented a mas­ter­class at Perth’s Curtin Uni­ver­sity in 2015.

The iconic shoe­maker de­scribes Aus­tralia’s style as dar­ing and cre­ative.

“There are so many great tal­ents and re­sources in Aus­tralia,” he says. “It’s so re­fresh­ing to meet fashion stu­dents to un­der­stand their in­spi­ra­tions, their de­signs and their cre­ative think­ing.

“Style-wise, Aus­tralians are fash­ion­able and dare to ex­plore with colours and cuts.”

Choo, awarded the ti­tle of “Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor” by the Lon­don In­sti­tute, nom­i­nates Elle Macpher­son, Kylie Minogue and Natalie Im­bruglia among his favourite celebri­ties, hav­ing worked with them dur­ing his days at the helm of the Jimmy Choo busi­ness (he sold his share in the busi­ness in 2001 and fashion gi­ant Michael Kors bought out the com­pany three months ago).

But it was an­other Aus­tralian who helped launch Choo and his brand into the fashion strato­sphere.

At the 1999 Os­cars, Cate Blanchett stepped onto the red car­pet in a mid­night blue John Gal­liano gown. She paired it with a pair of Jimmy Choo indigo, satin stilet­tos. It was Blanchett’s first Os­cars and she was nom­i­nated for her first Academy Award for her role in El­iz­a­beth.

She missed out on the gong but es­tab­lished her­self and the Choo brand, then just three years old, as Hol­ly­wood fashion bench­marks.

Blanchett was not Choo’s first fa­mous cus­tomer, how­ever, that ti­tle be­longed to the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Diana had been a cus­tomer when Choo was still hand-mak­ing heels at a rate of just 20 pairs a week from a small work­room in Lon­don’s Hack­ney. She had been in­tro­duced to Choo through de­signer To­masz Starzewski.

Choo would ac­com­pany Starzewski to Kens­ing­ton Palace when Diana needed co-or­di­nat­ing footwear for her dresses, and the pair de­vel­oped a close work­ing re­la­tion­ship. The last pair of heels he de­signed for her, just be­fore her death in 1997, were never col­lected.

“I was grate­ful and priv­i­leged to have worked with the late Princess Diana for 10 years,” Choo says. “She was not just my client, she was a great friend and con­fi­dant, (and) I truly miss her.”

In 2000, cult TV se­ries Sex And The City fur­ther lifted the brand’s sta­tus, with its iconic, shoe-ob­sessed char­ac­ter Car­rie Brad­shaw be­moan­ing the loss of a sin­gle Jimmy Choo stiletto in sea­son three.

“I lost my Choo!” she shouted as she raced to catch the Staten Is­land Ferry.

Choo’s cur­rent busi­ness may be much more be­spoke than the one he sold out of more than 15 years ago, but his pas­sion for a well-de­signed shoe hasn’t wa­vered. He be­lieves a great pair of shoes can trans­form an out­fit, but said women didn’t re­quire a col­lec­tion to ri­val Brad­shaw’s in or­der to be stylish.

“Her wardrobe es­sen­tials are a pair of flat pumps for ca­sual, semi-high heels for her day-to-day wear and high heels for that spe­cial oc­ca­sions or evening wear,” he says.

“A pair of great shoes can com­plete an out­fit and gives you a dose of con­fi­dence and sexy al­lure.”

World fa­mous shoe de­signer Jimmy Choo and model Matilda Rodgers show off a new de­sign in­cor­po­rat­ing work by indige­nous artist Pe­ter Farmer; and (above), Sarah Jes­sica Parker as Car­rie Brad­shaw, and Cate Blanchett.

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