Buro 24/7 Exclusive: An interview with Sandra Choi of Jimmy Choo
Continuing a legacy
In conjunction with the iconic brand's 20th anniversary, Sandra Choi, Creative Director of Jimmy Choo, designed the Memento capsule collection—a special collection that incorporates 20 shoe and bag designs which embody the essence of Jimmy Choo, the epitome of style, glamour and confidence. Editor-in-chief, Cai Mei Khoo, catches up with the Choi to discuss the brand's glorious milestone and the exclusive collection.
Congratulations on the brand's 20th anniversary! What was the starting point for the Memento collection? Where did you get inspiration from?
Memento is a tribute to the entrance-making moments that have come to define Jimmy Choo style in the last 20 years. I was inspired by looking back in our archives, sometimes you need to reference the past to look forward. The 20 shoes and bags comprising the capsule collection honours our legacy of high glamour looks—many of which have been played out over the years on the red carpet. Reimagined and designed for today, the collection is intended to thrill and delight in equal measure.
What message do you intend to convey with the Memento collection?
Think of Jimmy Choo as a jewel with many facets; on one hand we are committed to the continued innovation of the seasonal fashion collections, and on the other we are honouring a sense of timeless glamour associated with the red carpet all combined with the highest quality of design and production.
We are a celebratory brand, it makes you feel good to wear something that is beautiful, exquisitely made and fun! We also have a global identity—we are a British brand based in London but we aren't defined by that which allows for a global customer to be able to identify with us.
The transformational power of shoes starts from an early age and as a brand I feel we embody that. We have been very fortunate to have support from the world of film and celebrities from early on when we pioneered our relationship with the red carpet, and that has helped to build the brand's global allure and radiance over the past 20 years. The red carpet brings to life the magical, fairytale side of the brand.
Which is your ultimate favorite style in the Memento shoe closet?
Definitely Storm—a T-bar stiletto bejewelled with hand-sewn Swarovski crystals and stones in a smoky colour palette. Storm beguiles and mesmerizes with its three-dimensional facets and mercurial crystal chrome finish. I also love the modern simplicity of Tizzy, a minimal strappy sandal.
What is your most memorable red carpet moment?
Princess Diana in 1996, it was the ultimate fairytale moment.
Looking back the past 20 years of Jimmy Choo, which are some of the most standout celebrity looks to you?
At the Awards it has to be Cate Blanchett, as she was our first and you never forget your first. Also Natalie Portman when she won her Oscar for Black Swan. We designed a non-leather version of our Macy sandal for her. Uma Thurman in flats at Cannes was special too. She proved that there are no style rules when it comes to shoes, it is all about confidence and poise.
What makes Jimmy Choo different from other shoe brands?
We were one of the first designer brands for shoes and over time this has evolved to become a lifestyle brand covering women's and men's shoes alongside handbags, accessories and fragrance. However, shoes will always remain our backbone, heart and soul.
How would you describe the Jimmy Choo woman?
She is multi-faceted and dynamic, she is daring but playful. She is confident and effortlessly stylish with an innate sensuality. She is every woman.
What is your proudest moment as the Creative Director of the brand?
I have two: meeting Michelle Obama at a reception at the White House for designers and representing Jimmy Choo at the V&A's Pleasure and Pain shoe exhibition. Although to be honest, I get such a thrill when I see someone in the street wearing Jimmy Choo shoes. A fun, and strange, fact: I can't remember my life by dates, but I can only do it by visualising what shoes I was wearing at the time.
What's a recent shoe trend that you're loving and why?
I love ankle straps, I always have—they are an obsession. It is all to do with the positioning of the strap, it has the power to flatter and elongate the leg.
What is something you'd love to create or reinvent for the brand?
It isn't bringing something back, but post motherhood I definitely wear more flats. However, as I am quite short, I am on a quest to combine more flats with height.
Any insider's tips on dancing all night long in a pair of stilettos?
1) Know your limits when it comes to heel height and 2) a platform will offer more comfort.
Is there a perfect heel height?
It's totally personal, you have to know your limits. Mine is 100mm, I know that I can wear that height all day and through the night but another person might be 85mm. That is why we work so hard to create the same silhouettes in multiple heel heights.
Where do you hope to see the brand in the next 20 years?
Being 20 years old you have achieved your set characteristics for your brand, my vision is to maintain the integrity of those characteristics whilst pushing the boundaries and instilling a firmer creative code throughout.
The Memento capsule collection is now available at Jimmy Choo, Lot 2.55.00, Level 2 Pavilion KL.