When a pair of shimmering blue Jimmy Choo pumps were worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, to a gala dinner 20 years ago, it triggered a new phase of red carpet glamour. It was a moment that went beyond fashion, steering Jimmy Choo towards an era of elegance.
In the ensuing two decades, Jimmy Choo has been a constant presence on the red carpet, escorting a multitude of leading ladies at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Baftas and Grammys. At these events alone, the brand has made an estimated 618 appearances, traversing about 74 km of the hard-wearing scarlet pile. Each appearance has become a significant media moment, etching celebrity consciousness in the mainstream.
To mark the 20th anniversary, Jimmy Choo Creative Director Sandra Choi has unveiled a new capsule collection, respectfully called Memento. The collection of 20 shoes and bag designs captures the brand’s inimitable style, glamour and confidence. It also invites recollections of 20 of fashion’s most memorable moments, some of which the brand has captured in rereleases for the collection.
“Jimmy Choo pioneered a relationship with the red carpet when we hosted our first style suite for the Oscar’s in 1999,” says Choi. “From the start we were known for creating a collection that catered to red carpet style, shoes for those important entrance making moments.”
Prime among these red carpet moments is the head-turning, leg-lengthening, strappy heel Lance, which is known as one of the brand’s signature heels, clocking more appearances under the bright lights than any other Jimmy Choo. It has been worn by Rihanna, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry and Taylor Swift.
“The 20 shoes and bags comprising the capsule collection honour 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.”
The 20th anniversary capsule collection reimagines several modern classics. While Lance will no doubt remain a must-have, there are other signature heels up to 145-mm high. The intricate looped straps and spot-on details accentuate the instep and ankle in styles such as Hesper and the elegant Lumiere. The footwear reaches from the timeless to the minimalist. With a sandal perfectly timed for summer, Tetrus is one of Uma Thurman’s favourite flats.
“When actresses come out onto the red carpet, they are playing themselves,” says Choi. Thurman’s choice of a flat at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 was a very public announcement of an actress’s individual approach to style. “I was very flattered when she chose a pair of Jimmy Choo flats because not only is she cool but style-wise the flats on the red carpet looked so modern.”
Jimmy Choo has found well-known fans, including First Lady Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as other prominent individuals throughout Asia. Gwei Lun Mei glided across the stage in Jimmy Choo when she took the statuette for Best Leading Actress at the Golden Horse Film Festival in 2012. Just last year, South Korean Actress Jun Jihyun, famous for her role in My Love from the Stars, wore Valdia at the Paeksang Artist Awards in Seoul.
One of the brand’s most audacious red-carpet moments came when Zhang Ziyi wore the Kendall platform heels and carried the Cloud clutch at the Asian Film Awards in Macau in 2012. She may have been claiming the award for Best Actress for her work in The Grandmaster, but it was her supreme taste in footwear and accessories that had people talking. The clutch has since been carried by notable icons including Kate Winslet and Gwen Stefani. The Cloud clutch that Zhang carried so elegantly re-emerges in the new collection as an objet d’art with its simple shape embellished with a sculpted flower corsage of flocked blooms punctuated by crystals.
As much as the collection reflects the brand’s vibrant past, there is a glittering future to be explored. Among the showstoppers are Storm and Rox, twin T-bar stilettos with hand-sewn crystals and stones. The arch of each heel delivers a feminine line but there is something forthright, if not downright punk, about the steeply ascending strap. The smoky palette of the shoes has a crystal chrome finish that is accentuated by the more than 300 hand-stitched crystals on each pair.
Through a succession of red-carpet highs, the sexy cut and exceptional Italian craftsmanship of Jimmy Choo has remained a byword for glamour. The brand has delivered a collection that commemorates the look and spirit of each of these moments, and celebrates the fact that some of the best from the brand is undoubtedly yet to come.