mardi 3 novembre 2009

In the business of Choos

In less than 2 weeks, H et M will be launching its collaborative effort with Jimmy Choo. It is the first collaboration of its kind by Jimmy Choo whose range of goods normally retail for several hundreds of euros more than the usual going price of an H et M item. The H et M line is supposed to include not only its trademark stilettos but also bags and for the first time, ready to wear. Take note, they are also releasing a line for men. The news created quite a buzz among fashion circles and there is much anticipation over it.

It is interesting that Jimmy Choo has now decided to jump on the collaborative high street band wagon when its main cachet is, and has always been luxury and exclusivity. I’m just as curious as the next person who follows these things and to be sure, I’ll make the effort to see what the fuss is all about. And it comes at an opportune time too as I’ve just finished “The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe” by Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira de Rosen.

This book tells the story of the Jimmy Choo business as spearheaded by former British It girl turned glamorous business mogul Tamara Mellon (nee Yeardye). When Tamara first met the Malaysian born Jimmy Choo, he was already in the business of hand made couture shoes for a select group of rich clients, including the late Lady Di. It was Tamara who convinced him to start a luxury retail shoe business. And it was her family that initially put up the funding for the fledging business. From here, the book details the gradual rise of the company, along the way losing Jimmy Choo as designer to the company’s retail business. It seems that Jimmy Choo wasn’t content with the way the business profits were being divided yet at the same time, he refused to come up with the required number of designs needed for the company to release new stock every season. From such beginnings the company has since been sold from the Yeardye family though Tamara has retained a significant amount of shares in the company and the book goes into great detail into each financial transaction. At times, such detail slows down the narrative of the book but fortunately the authors know enough to go back to the personal narrative behind such financials to keep the readers’ interest. Along with the evolution of the company, the book gives us a rather intimate look at Tamara Mellon’s life including her often tumultuous love life. Interestingly enough, the book was written without Tamara's cooperation. What remains the most fascinating aspect of the book however is still the how the business grew and the tremendous effort involved into making it into what it is now—a multimillion dollar business with glamorous shops all over the world.

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