From small town dirt roads to bright glossy Paris runways.
How did this one Penang-born boy make it big?
Jimmy Choo (misspelt “Chow”) was a child of a shoemaker with modest earnings. However, Choo spent his childhood watching his father work and learned the craft through observation from a very young age.
At just 11 years old, Choo produced his first pair of slippers.
So there is no doubt that Choo had shoemaking in his blood, with a ready teacher, tools and shop at his disposal…
But so do many other shoemakers.
In fact, there are about 200 in Ipoh alone, and about 812 nationwide. But there is only 1 Jimmy Choo. What makes him stand out?
Let’s take a closer look:
Jimmy Choo did not find inspiration or motivation in Malaysia during his youth. The shoemaker pursued his further studies in London, and tried his best to stay here and not come home.
Choo worked for 6 years with other design companies.
And then, as fate would have it, his designs were spotted on the runway by Vogue editor and the rest is history.
Choo’s designs caught the eye of the Princess of Wales, Lady Di herself, and that catapulted Choo into the spotlight.
Through a combination of talent, luck, celebrity and connection- Choo craved out a multi million dollar empire for himself and his family.
A tale as old as time..
Women’s Shoes: A Brief History
Whilst it began life as a purely practical invention, the humble shoe has, over hundreds of years, evolved into a status symbol and a booming industry, and is often as much about art as functionality. As they have evolved, of course, so have the materials and techniques that go into making them. The earliest shoes are thought to have been made from wraparound leather, around 40,000 years ago! Therefore, really, the history of women’s shoes dates back to then!
Shoemaking really developed into an art-form, however, in Europe during the early Baroque period. The materials used reflected the wearer’s social class (as they had done for centuries). So, for example, commoners would wear shoes made from leather, whereas aristocrats would wear similar designs, only made from wood.
At this time, there was no real difference between women’s shoes and men’s shoes. It wasn’t until the 15th century that shoemakers began to experiment with softer fabrics, such as silk, and it wasn’t until the 19th century that women’s and men’s shoes began to differ (particularly in heel and toe shapes). Until 1850, there wasn’t even a difference between left shoes and right shoes!
As technology continued to develop in the first few decades of the 20th century, the shoemaking process became simpler, which allowed shoemakers to experiment more with the design of women’s shoes. Suede became a very popular shoemaking material in the 1950s due to its affordability and pleasing texture, and wooden heels were still very much the functional choice. Throughout history, however, leather has remained one of the most desirable materials for women’s shoes, due to its flexibility, durability and refined elegance.
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