Jimmy Choo’s reputation may have been built on red-carpet heels and sparkly party shoes but its creative director Sandra Choi has always liked a little more edge to her elegant footwear. So, when Choi met Virgil Abloh, founder and creative designer of Milan-based fashion label Off-White in 2016 – he was DJing at the Choo 20th-anniversary party in New York’s Bowery Hotel – it didn’t take long for talk to turn to a collaboration.
The 38-year-old Abloh takes his inspiration from the 1980s and ’90s and, before his meeting with Choi, he was already toying with a collection celebrating the style legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was coincidentally one of the first Choo devotees. “As soon as I met Sandra I had the idea of collaborating,” says Abloh. “I wanted to develop a relationship with her because the brand had such a connection with the princess.” The feeling was mutual. Choi says they “connected on the design level immediately. He has a completely different viewpoint but that’s great. I have so enjoyed him saying, ‘I want the unexpected’, because I also want to surprise people. We took risks, but the collection still has the key identity of both our brands. It’s all the Jimmy Choo icons, even using lasts that we made for the princess, but updated with a fresh attitude; a little harder and higher.”
The result of all their hard work is Off-White c/o Jimmy Choo – a collection of nine silhouettes that sees Diana’s 1990s lasts reconfigured for today’s princesses. The classic Lance pump becomes a “glass slipper” (£850), wrapped in ruched, soft TPU, a material also used to veil a knee boot (£1,150; also available in tulle, £1,215); while the Choo name features on ribbon trim on a square-toed sandal (£750). The bourgeois bow gets a makeover, supersized in grosgrain, on a slender stiletto heel (£550); and a satin evening sandal (£1,495) adorned with Swarovski crystal drops alludes to a tiara. Even the princess’s love of skiing is referenced with a padded leather, cone-heeled boot (£1,095).
Whether there will be more collections, no one is saying, so hotfoot it for what may prove a unique collection available on the Jimmy Choo and Off-White websites, and landing at a pop-up store at Paris’s Galeries Lafayette from February 21 until March 4, and at London’s Selfridges from February 21 until March 18.