JIMMY CHOO

1996 : Securing $250,000 seed money from her father-who becomes company chairman-Mellon taps Choo for a formal business partnership, Jimmy Choo Ltd. At first, the little business struggles, as the partners get in sync, so Sandra Choi is signed on as designer. The collection sells out at the Jimmy Choo boutique in London. It is a hit.

In the eighties and nineties, whenever Mellon needed a special heel, she called on an unassuming cobbler who worked from a small garage in London's East End. His name was Jimmy Choo. It was no doubt due, in part, to his low profile that Choo had assembled a stable of high-profile devotees: Diana, Princess of Wales was among the well-known and well-shod customers who prized his traditional skills as well as his discretion. After Mellon left British Pandora Luxurye in 1995, her first step was to forge a collaboration with her favorite shoemaker. Together, they launched the Jimmy Choo label, and, almost immediately, the little company stood tall in the sea of stilettos.

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