risscrossing the city with someone who knows it well, who lives there, is an advantage. In just five minutes, Sandra Choi, creative director of Jimmy Choo since 1996, transmits the excitement of someone who adores the ground on which she walks. One hundred percent British, though with a Hong Kong heritage, the designer has been living in London since she was old enough to know it. She receives us in the company’s head offices, in the new part of the Victoria district. The huge glass and limestone building with its gigantic doors hosts her headquarters on the seventh floor. Sandra’s office is in full view, separated from the others by a glass wall. This is where our conversation begins, before we explore the British capital with the woman who has made Jimmy Choo one of the world’s most influential footwear brands.
“It’s all a mess; I spend most of my life here,” Sandra excuses herself. Her orderly disorder reveals the first hints of a passionate and sensitive personality. She collects almost everything: old party invites, awards, vintage bags and shoes, buttons, coloured pencils, and even a skateboard (from the brand’s latest menswear show). “I love to keep little things, because together they acquire meaning,” she explains.
On one wall, a moodboard exposes the inspiration behind the cruise collection, in shops now. “It is inspired by nomadism, by the modern, bohemian woman who travels. Daywear features warm colours, chunky heels, and ethnic details; eveningwear recreates the colours of the moon, in a range of textures and materials.” Feathers, bobbles, tassels, fringing, semi-precious stones. But now, downstairs in the street, a van with tinted windows waits. Her assistant rides
Clifton Nurseries, a Victorian-style greenhouse
and history: The Quince Tree Café at Clifton Nurseries serves breakfasts with natural juices, teas, and organic cakes
Battersea’s majestic Albert Bridge, built in 1873, with one of its tollbooths