I chose to also research the Jimmy Choo brand because of its contrast in approach to marketing compared to the Manolo Blahnik approach.
Jimmy Choo Ltd is altogether a much more corporate environment than Blahnik and although promoted and widely known as being a single individuals name the actual Mr Jimmy Choo has not been involved with the company since he sold his 50% stake in 2001. He started as a bespoke shoemaker based in the East End of London in the early 1990’s, who catered to the global jet set, including Diana, Princess of Wales. Based on this success the Jimmy Choo company was founded in 1996, with Mr Choo’s niece, Sandra Choi, who had been heading up design in the East End atelier coming on board as Creative Director, a position she holds to this day.
Choo Limited is currently run by ex- Louis Vitton executive Pierre Denis, in October 2014, Jimmy Choo announced it would price its London Stock Exchange listing at £1.40 pence a share, giving the firm an equity value of £546 million. Further Choo Ltd is known to aggressively peruse perceived breaches of its copyright, holding 100’s of design patents. It has brought several prominent cases for copyright and trademark infringement, for example the company has sued Oasis, Warehouse and Marks & Spencer for alleged copying of shoes and bags. The company, like many leading brands, has also been the target for counterfeiters who import into its primary markets in the UK, the US and Australia. Premium brands do not want cheap imitations of their products being promoted as the real thing as it erodes the perceived value of the originals and generally will pursue such occurrences vigorously.
Interestingly separate to the Jimmy Choo ready-to-wear brand, Mr. Jimmy Choo began Jimmy Choo Couture Limited in late 2006 to continue his work on the exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture shoe line, which is produced under license from J. Choo Ltd., and available by appointment only at Connaught Street in London.
This is very much a return to his original roots for Mr Choo – personally creating and making handmade shoes for an exclusive clientele who pay accordingly, typically £750 plus a pair, in direct contrast to the more mass marketing of the shoes bearing his name.
In a 2009 interview he personally espouses many of the same values of Blahnik – a focus on skill and quality “I design like an architect,” he says. “It’s a beautiful, distinctive art, and shoes are like the foundations. If the foundations aren’t right, the building won’t stand upright, and if a woman’s balance isn’t right, nothing else is.” (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2017) The last part of this quote very much echoing Blahniks comments on comfort.
I suspect the public at large is largely ignorant or confused by this subtle division between the two operations and this works to the company advantage in that the association of a well known brand name with exclusive, often celebrity, clients raises the desirability of the brand but the shoes purchased by these clients are definitely not the same shoes sold elsewhere as Mr Choo has no input to their design, creation or manufacture.
Again in looking at the photography employed, all distractions are removed it is simply the shoes that are portrayed to their best advantage.
Update April 2017
This announcement is a direct reflection of the corporate nature of the parent organisation being concerned with making money above any other consideration. “The luxury shoe and bag retailer Jimmy Choo has put itself up for sale in a move that took the market by surprise.The retailer said it had “decided to conduct a review of the various strategic options open to the company to maximise value for its shareholders” and that it was seeking offers for the business. The move was backed by the company’s independent directors and JAB Luxury, its majority shareholder with a stake of 68%. Shares in Jimmy Choo jumped 10% to a record high of 186.25p on the news, valuing the group at more than £720m. The company floated on the stock market in 2014 at a price of 140p a share, valuing it at about £550m. Any sale is expected to attract interest from strategic American buyers as well as Middle Eastern, Chinese and Russian bidders.” (Kollewe, 2017)