Tamara Mellon Finds The Right Fit With New Shoe Empire



Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon is back with a self-titled range of shoes… and she’s playing by no one’s rules but her own

IF YOU WERE TO TAKE THE ADAGE TO HEART AND WALK A mile in another woman’s shoes, your footwear of choice should come directly from Tamara Mellon, OBE. In 2016, five years after stepping down as the chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo (the shoe brand she cofounded in 1996) after its acquisition by Labelux, the London-born and Beverly Hills and Switzerland-educated fashion designer launched her innovative, eponymous line of footwear. Her brand’s direct-to-consumer, see-now, buy-now mentality is a disruptor to the industry given that most brands have typical seasonal delivery schedules. Says Mellon, “I’m starting over. This is my reboot—pun intended.” Here, this gutsy British designer discusses her new line and how she alone is redefining luxury and making (and breaking) the rules.

Was it hard to start over with your Tamara Mellon brand?
Starting from scratch always takes a Herculean effort and risk, but I believed in the vision of the brand so much, I was willing to take that risk.

How are your brand and Jimmy Choo alike? How do they differ?
This is what Jimmy Choo would look like if I was still there today. I make the same quality of shoes as I have done for the last 20 years, but the business model is different. The Tamara Mellon brand is for women, by women. I fit-test each design personally to make sure it’s wearable for everyday life. We bypass retailers and sell directly to our customers so we can offer more accessible price points. We also treat all of our customers like VIPs by offering services like complimentary cobbler care.

Where does the Tamara Mellon brand fit into the Angeleno culture?
It’s geared towards many different women, as Jimmy Choo was. We have the core styles for day-
to-day and then Editions to appeal to everyone, as L.A. has so many different cultures. We are proud to be based in L.A. and have initiatives like [donating to the Los Angeles LGBT Center].”

What is the aesthetic of your shoes?
It’s still my personal aesthetic, but tastes always evolve and this is a more modern take. We have a lot of classic silhouettes, but I like to add unexpected touches, like PVC or water snake details. I know every woman is different, so there’s a wide range with something for everyone. Not all women will love my shoes, and that’s their prerogative and totally OK.

On your site, you refer to yourself as a “rule breaker.” How so?
[By that, I mean] breaking rules with the business model and building a luxury business in a way that has never been done before. It’s also our attitude. I’m never going to tell you that you need these shoes because, at the end of the day, you don’t. Instead, I create beautiful shoes for women who choose to buy them because they deserve it.

What is the greatest luxury in life and why?
Can’t come up with great ideas or resolutions unless you have time.

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