If you were fortunate enough to afford to indulge in a shoe-shopping spree in the London borough of Hackney in the late 1980s, you might have stumbled upon a brick showroom filled with thigh-high black-leather boots, multi-colored sandals, and hot-pink satin high heels produced by a Malaysian-born designer named Jimmy Choo. Though acclaimed at the time, you would have beaten the crowds to Choo’s shoes, which became red-hot in 1990 after a woman the world knew simply as Di became one of his most loyal customers.
Throughout the 1990s, Choo footwear defined women’s glamour. By 1996 he had partnered with a magazine editor to launch a chain of high-end boutiques—the opening in 1999 of Choo’s Los Angeles branch caught the eye of Hollywood starlets, giving Choo shoes their red-carpet-ready reputation.
Among Choo’s most sought-after designs are his ankle boots, including the George, whose four-inch heel supports an upper of water-snake leather, the Erica, whose carved heel measures four-and-a-half inches, and the black patent leather Chicago, which has a revealing V cutout on the side.
In addition to a plethora of caged-ankle pumps, Choo’s most prized items of footwear could be his sandals, which range from demure flats to sexy, strappy affairs with two-to-four-inch heels. The ones with gold or silver metallic sling backs are especially eye-catching, if not the most practical things to wear to the beach.