Jimmy Choo is a British high fashion house specialising in luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and fragrances. The company, J. Choo Limited, was founded in 1996 by couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo and Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon. The brand claims to have been a favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired in November 2017 by Michael Kors Holdings, now Capri Holdings.
The brand traces its roots to shoemaker Jimmy Choo, based in the East End of London in the early 1990s, who catered to the global jet set, including Diana, Princess of Wales. The J. Choo company was eventually founded in 1996, when social figure Tamara Mellon joined Choo and his niece, Sandra Choi. Choo departed the company in 2001.
Choo sold his 50% share in the company to Equinox Luxury Holdings Ltd. in 2001. Lion Capital acquired a majority shareholding in November 2004, and the company was sold in 2007 to TowerBrook Capital Partners for £225 million.
In 2011, it was sold to Labelux (which was integrated into its parent company, JAB Holding Company in July 2014) for £525.5 million. In 2012, the company hired ex-LVMH executive Pierre Denis as its CEO.
The company’s IPO was announced in September 2014. In October 2014, the company announced it would price its London Stock Exchange listing at 140 pence a share, giving the firm an equity value of £546 million.
The company put itself up for sale in April 2017. In July 2017, it was announced that the company would be bought by Michael Kors Holdings in a deal worth £896m. The transaction was completed on 1 November 2017.
Shoes under licence
Separate to the Jimmy Choo ready-to-wear brand, Mr. Jimmy Choo began Jimmy Choo Couture Limited in late 2006 to continue his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture shoe line, which is produced under license from J. Choo Ltd., available by appointment only at Connaught Street in London.
Jimmy Choo store at Woodbury Common, New York
The first Jimmy Choo store was opened in 1996 on Motcomb Street in London. Two years later, the company expanded to the US, opening two stores in New York City and Beverly Hills. Over the following years, Jimmy Choo expanded its store portfolio by opening directly operated stores and with local partners. Over 2011 and 2012, Jimmy Choo took control of the majority of its Asian operations in China, Hong Kong and Japan. Several boutiques are to be found in secondary outlets such as Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as smaller boutique stores on shopping estates such as Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York.
The brand has won awards for its products, including the British Fashion Council Awards Designer Brand category in 2008, the Accessories Council Brand of the Year 2008, the Footwear News Brand of the Year Award, and the 2009 Nordstrom Partners in Excellence award.
J. Choo Ltd. has over 600 design patents to its name. The company has brought up several prominent cases for copyright and trademark infringement, as well as being the target of “knock-off” counterfeit imports in the UK, the US and Australia. The company has sued Oasis, Warehouse and Marks & Spencer for copying shoes and bags.
- Jimmy Choo suede and leather platforms worn by Carrie Bradshaw in American television show Sex and the City Season 3, Episode 1,1999. She lost a shoe running to catch the Staten Island Ferry and said “I lost my Choo!”
- The Jimmy Choo ‘Abel pump’ was featured in the South Korean TV show My Love, From The Star, in 2014
- In 2006 US film ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, Jimmy Choo shoes are worn by Andy Sachs, assistant to the editor on ‘Runway’ magazine.`
- Jimmy Choo footwear is worn by a villain, and cited as a clue to the nature of her character, in The Salt-Stained Book, a children’s novel by Julia Jones.
- The Jimmy Choo “Vanessa 85” red suede and nappa pointy toe pumps were featured in the American TV show “House of Cards” Season 6, Episode 5, 2018. Character Jane Davis enters a room in the white house while carrying the pair of pumps in her hand.