Once a cocaine-snorting wild child who was fired from her editorial job at British Vogue, Tamara Mellon turned her life around and built up the multi-milliondollar high-fashion Jimmy Choo brand of shoes.
Two years after exiting the label in 2011, the 46-year-old launched her own eponymous range of bags, shoes and clothes this month and set the record straight about her life and business in a memoir.
In My Shoes, co-written with William Patrick, is published by Portfolio, an imprint of international publisher Penguin and retails here at $28.89. About 600 copies have been sold in Singapore since the book's release last month.
Asked why she needed a co-author, she laughs. "Because I'm not a writer. I wanted someone to help me formulate my feelings," she says in a 15-minute phone interview from her New York office, ahead of the launch of the Tamara Mellon brand.
Patrick is an American ghostwriter and freelance editor who shaped the memoirs of actor Sidney Poitier (The Measure Of A Man, 2000) and Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer (Hit Hard, 2009), as well as Legacy Of Ashes: The History Of The CIA (2007), which won America's National Book Award for non-fiction in 2007.
Mellon's memoir is a must-read for celebrity-gawkers and lovers of the signature stiletto "Choo", which retails for $1,000 and more in Singapore.
Pages drip with references to Hollywood and British celebrities. Malaysian-born "cobbler to the upper crust" Jimmy Choo made shoes for Princess Diana and other British nobility before founding the ready-to-wear brand with Mellon in 1996.
To promote the shoes, Mellon had actresses such as Kate Winslet and Julianne Moore wear "Choos" on Oscar night, often dyeing each heel by hand in a hotel bathtub to match the celebrity's chosen dress.
She is a tabloid headliner in her own right, first as the daughter of British entrepreneur Tom Yeardye and then for her much-publicised glamorous lifestyle, which she contends was pure advertising for the Choo brand.
She uses the surname of her former husband, American banking scion Matthew Mellon, 49, who she divorced in 2005 for his drug abuse and manic episodes chronicled bluntly in the memoir.
They have an 11-year-old daughter, Araminta, known as Minty, and relations between the pair are cordial, especially after she cleared him in 2007 of charges of allegedly snooping into her finances.