Jimmy Choo finds right fit with sole couture line

Jimmy Choo finds right fit with sole couture line
Malaysian designer Jimmy Choo is introduced during his lecture "Creativity Thugh Skills" in Fukushima city.

FUKUSHIMA - Haute couture shoemaker Jimmy Choo says he is happy to focus on his own exclusive footwear line, amid reports the famous brand bearing his name - but with which he is no longer associated - could be set for a flotation worth US$1.7 billion (S$2.1 billion).

The London-based designer revealed he is on good terms with the people in charge of the pret-a-porter label and occasionally meets with the chief executive.

"We have an agreement. I still carry on my couture, they still carry on the Jimmy Choo ready to wear," he said in an interview with AFP.

"Now and then when I am in London, I will call the CEO (Pierre Denis) and have a tea with him and talk about what we're doing.

"I think that's why it's an important friendship. You know we still carry on, still support each other." Having earlier established himself as a bespoke shoemaker in London, Malaysia-born Choo founded the brand in 1996 with British socialite Tamara Mellon.

It became a household name after repeatedly featuring on high profile TV shows including "Sex and the City", and was worn by celebrities and royalty, including Britain's Princess Diana.

Jimmy Choo has since developed into a luxury fashion brand encompassing shoes, handbags, leather goods, scarves, eye wear and fragrances.

In 2001, with ties between him and Mellon souring, Choo sold his stake in Jimmy Choo Ltd., which now straddles the globe, with operations in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia.

The company's present owner, Swiss-based luxury goods group Labelux, is reportedly looking at raising capital for the group, with a London listing being considered that could value the business at a billion pounds (S$2.1 billion), according to the Financial Times.

Mellon told American television last year that she had been the creative brains behind the partnership and claimed that Choo - who she dismissed as merely "a cobbler" - had never even lifted a pencil to design a shoe.

Her former business partner did not comment on her claims, but said profit could not be the sole driving force behind a successful business.

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