Tamara Mellon Celebrates the Relaunch of Her Shoe Collection After Fling With Bankruptcy

Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Tamara Mellon
Tamara Mellon and actress Sara Foster at the designer's luxury shoe collection relaunch party.

The Jimmy Choo co-founder throws a chic breakfast party and preview of her namesake line and speaks about changing her game plan, the influence of Michael Ovitz's art collection, and launching at a time for new beginnings.

Designer Tamara Mellon held center court at an exclusive breakfast celebrating the relaunch of her eponymous shoe collection at her new L.A. home, the Beverly Hills mega-complex (read private art gallery) of fiance (and CAA co-founder) Michael Ovitz. Friends of the designer — her personal "tribe" of power players — including Rachel Roy, Jennifer Meyer, Alexandra Von Furstenberg, Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, Constance Zimmer, Sara Foster, and Shiva Rose attended the fashionable collection preview, private art tour, and three-course alfresco breakfast.

"It's just been three weeks!" the 49-year-old Mellon tells THR of her move to Los Angeles by way of New York. Mellon looked elegant in a long black dress as she glided through the room, mingling with guests, all clad in white slippers (ironic, as it is a footwear launch) as shoes are not permitted inside the pristine Ovitz estate. The home — famous for its private art collection displayed in every nook — played a key role in influencing Mellon's designs.

"How could it not?" Mellon says about the art that's constantly surrounding her at her new L.A. home. "I did a collection that was based on African art and African sculpture, which I really love." Noting that she's surrounded by art she adds, "Our bedroom actually has a lot of color fields in it like [pieces by] Frank Stellar, [Mark] Grotjahn, and Agnes Martin. And that actually did influence [my designs] a lot."

This time around, Mellon's relaunch is geared toward women who want fast fashion. "No collections or seasons as we know them in the fashion industry," she says. The line will feature classic, timeless styles as part of a capsule collection, and a "Lab" launch of limited edition monthly releases.

"It's really f—ing hard to start a business and it's really hard to admit you f—ed up and you're starting over — that resonates with everyone," says Ara Katz, one of Mellon's brand advisors and her stepdaughter-in-law (Katz is married to Ovitz's son, Christopher). "To be part of a 2.0 for a woman who everyone admires, who built one of the most successful global luxury brands in the world and came back, and that is not something we talk about in the luxury industry," adds Katz of the relaunch and Mellon's honesty about starting over. "It's about undoing and rethinking and redefining. Something publicists don't really want you to talk about."

"[Today's consumer] wants to buy something today and wear it tomorrow," says Mellon of her new game plan, which cuts out the middleman as a direct-to-customer luxury brand with shoes available exclusively online, cutting the retail price by almost half. And the Jimmy Choo influence? "The problem is you take yourself with you — I can't take my DNA out of myself, so I guess this is what Jimmy Choo would look like today if I were still there," she says.

Tamara Mellon 2.0 launches with a fashionable fete with the perfect L.A. backdrop of Ovitz's oh-so-Hollywood home — but the timing is also just right. As Mellon points out, "I think it's very auspicious that I launched on the Jewish New Year, and the full moon."