Pret-a-Reporter

In Her Shoes: A Chat With Jimmy Choo's Creative Director

Todd Williamson/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images

Sandra Choi shares how the iconic luxury footwear label has become a red carpet must-have and the time she didn't recognize Angelina Jolie.

When Sandra Choi took the reigns as creative director of Jimmy Choo in 2013, she noted that the brand "needed to shake things up a bit."  

Choi has worked with the iconic footwear company since her late teens (Jimmy Choo is her uncle), and she's played a pivotal role in it’s resurgence over the last few years, breathing new life into the brand with new women's styles, trainers and even a men's collection — all while still maintaining the classic looks so many have fallen in love with over the years.

After THR's and Jimmy Choo's recent Power Stylist Luncheon, we chatted with Choi about her most surprising celebrity encounter, everyone's go-to picks for awards season, and of course, her favorite Choos.

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Pret-a-Reporter: What's the craziest red-carpet shoe moment you can tell us about in your time at the helm of Jimmy Choo?

I think it has to be back when we first held the Oscar suite in 1999. We didn’t know what to expect and who would turn up. There was a moment when I was in the suite on my own and I remember this beautiful but very unassuming young woman coming in and having a look around, she then asked if she could buy the shoes we had on display. She was charming, and it wasn’t till she left that I realized it was Angelina Jolie.

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What are the top three Jimmy Choo styles chosen for the red carpet?

It changes slightly each year. This year we introduced the "Minny" — a minimal double strap single sole sandal with 115 mm heel — which has proved to be the most popular style by a long way, gracing the red carpet more than 19 times this season. The "Patsy" 145 mm platform sandal is also popular, followed by the "Claudette."

I think the success of the "Minny" comes down to the simplicity of its graceful and feminine silhouette, it complements statement red carpet gowns so perfectly, as opposed to competing for attention. The "Patsy" is similar but with the added height boost from the platform.

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Tell us a little about the custom Jimmy Choos made for award season — what specific details did you have in mind?

We create the awards season collection every year, paying close attention to what's proved popular in previous seasons, feedback from stylists and trends on and off the red carpet. It's a slightly different approach than designing for the seasonal fashion collections where the emphasis is on statement trends; I have simple, elegant and graceful designs in mind for awards. Some of the styles will be available in our mainline collection or become part of the main collection after the awards season; for example, the "Minny" will now feature in our autumn/ winter 2015 collection.

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What can we expect to see for awards season 2016?

Awards season is still in full flow for us with Cannes just over a month away. We haven’t started to think about the 2016 awards collection yet, as I am finalizing our Cruise mainline collection right now. But we'll be thinking about it soon!

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The "Lance"

What's your favorite Jimmy Choo for a night on the carpet, and why?

From a personal point of view, I love the "Lucille" from our pre-fall 2015 collection because it combines a simple silhouette with a leg lengthening T-bar, which I can’t resist. 

My overall favorite for the red carpet is the "Lance" for its feminine design, modern feel and how it perfectly complements the form of the foot.

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