What sounds like sneeze and costs an arm and a leg? Jimmy Choo, the world’s most iconic footwear brand that has re-opened its Mumbai store at the Trident, Nariman Point. The name that almost replaced the word, shoe in public lexicon, has brought its uber-luxurious shoes and handbags to entice the city’s elite.
Though it has opened comfortably before Diwali, CEO Joshua Schulman, insists that it’s just a happy coincidence. “We wanted to relaunch the store with a full assortment of the Autumn/ Winter season, and it’s a benefit of our plan that it opened before the festive season.”
Schulman also assures the Choosy that the brand intends to maintain the same standards that it has in any other store internationally, with only the latest styles being on display. “We have understood that the Indian consumer is a sophisticate who loves to travel. Also, thanks to our large Indian client base in London, we have a fair idea of what their needs and tastes are.”
The taste in question is the glitzy opulence that has become synonymous with Indian festivity. If you’re going to bleed your bank account dry for a pair of shoes, they have to look like they’re worth every rupee. These rupees get distributed from Britain, where the designs team sits, to Italy, where the actual product is manufactured. Add to that the nearly 50 per cent duty imposed on imported luxury products… And voila! The most expensive shoe brand in the world justifies its pricing. While you’d hope your product lasts long enough to become an heirloom, major repair work means a pair of shoes will have to travel back overseas, a situation the company admits they like to avoid.
The company also launched the Cosma bag, a gold stud-encrusted clutch along with a gold snakeskin shoe called the Kenzie, especially for their Indian customers. Ladies, revel in the exclusivity… These models will not be available in any store outside of the country.
TThe brand Jimmy Choo was born when British Vogue Fashion Editor Tamara Mellon realised the need for high-end designer shoes that could sweep a woman off her feet. The man she sought out was shoe couturier Jimmy Choo, a London-based designer of Malaysian descent. The brand gained critical appeal when Princess Diana became a fan, and soon became synonymous with celebrities walking the red carpet. India’s very own Frieda Pinto also wore the shoes to the 2009 Academy Awards.
Though shoes remain their core strength, the company also has a hyper-expensive line of handbags crafted from the finest leathers and embellished with tons of hardware. They also launched a line of eyewear. But don’t expect the House of Jimmy Choo to go the way of Louis Vuitton or Hermes and become a ready-to-wear power brand. Schulman confirms that they are very focused on being the best accessory label in the world and have no plans to deviate into clothing in the near future.
Red carpet rules
While the company doesn’t include celebrities in its ad campaigns, the mileage it receives from famous friends more than makes up for it. Schulman admits that some ‘friends of the brand’ are often gifted shoes. Our desi celebs are big fans too, but given the hefty duty imposed on imported goods, would they prefer shopping in India or abroad?
I do absolutely nil shopping here because of our extensive work-related travel. I always prefer shopping abroad, because you get a wider selection of luxury goods, but in an emergency, I would visit the store here.
I don’t like the shoes in their range, so I wouldn’t shop for them anywhere.
Malaika Arora Khan
It wouldn’t make a difference to me, I would buy them anywhere I find them.
I am crazy about shoes and if I like something a lot, I don’t think about its cost.
Celina Jaitly: I wouldn't buy them in India, I travel abroad often so why waste my money.