We talk with the legendary designer about style, shoes and the importance of Instagram.
There’s something unique about how Jimmy Choo presents himself when we meet in his presidential suite. An immaculate suit sits perfectly on his shoulders and every button on his crisp, white shirt has been carefully crafted and thought out. His skin, eyes, and smile are all glowing with health and happiness, and his shoes, are, of course, buffed to shiny perfection. A man fond of details, his shirt and jacket are both discreetly monogrammed and made from the finest of fabric. Here, Professor Datuk Jimmy Choo, OBE, who now prefers to be known as Zhou Yang Jie, gives us his thoughts on sartorial choices and why he only wears the same pair of shoes for two months.
(Images from left to right, 2nd one onwards)
The Perfect Fit
"I get my suits made in Malaysia by Lord’s Tailor. They monogram all of my suits and shirts because these small details are important to me. I told them I was coming to Hong Kong and they made this shirt especially for me and it was at the hotel when I arrived. That kind of care and service is one of the many reasons they have a local customer base."
"I design my bags and shoes. I can’t buy ready-to-wear shoes because my feet are two different sizes and quite wide. I wear a pair of shoes for about two months before giving them to my friends who are the same size. Shoes are special to me, so I have to make sure mine are always perfect as it’s my profession."
"I appreciate fine timepieces because there are only so many accessories men can wear so it’s important to select a watch that complements your character. Cartier and Franck Muller are two of my favourite brands."
"Personalisation is the actual meaning of luxury. I’ve been making bespoke shoes for many years, and it’s what I’m passionate about. My clients are my close friends, and I believe that what you give in this world you also receive in return. If you’re kind to people, they will be good to you, and it’s important to treat everyone with the same amount of respect and kindness no matter who they are and what they do."
The Best Shoes
"The best shoes in the world can be found in Italy. That’s where the best craftsmen and materials are so it’s only natural that the products are beautiful too."
"I stopped creating shoes under the Jimmy Choo name a long time ago. Now people come to my private studio in London, and I make purely bespoke pieces for them. I was Princess Diana’s shoemaker for years but kept it very quiet because she was so well known, she was a beautiful woman with fabulous style."
"Social media is something I enjoy because I like staying on top of trends. It’s important to be on Instagram and WeChat these days to stay connected to a younger audience. I’m active on both platforms."
One to Watch
"My apprentice llliza Ho is immensely talented, and she has released a new collection of handbags. So many people these days are impatient and to be successful in creating couture clothing, shoes and accessories you must have patience and determination. Illiza has both, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her."
Photography by Michaela Giles
Original article written by Dervla Louli for Hong Kong Tatler