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Off-White™ C/O
Jimmy Choo

Shoes fit for a princess

 

Collaborations may be de rigueur in the fashion world, but Jimmy Choo has refused to jump on the bandwagon, biding their time before taking the plunge with the perfect partnership. And this one was worth the wait. Under the creative direction of Sandra Choi, the footwear brand enlisted Virgil Abloh, of Off-White™, to be their first ready-to-wear collaborator, resulting in colourful and inventive shoes fit for a princess—literally. A mutual love for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, served as common ground between the two brands and inspiration for the designs—she was one of the first to support Jimmy Choo, and Off-White™’s Spring 2018 show was an homage to her personal style. The collection of nine shoes features a mixture of reinvented classics and new styles, with everything from crystal-adorned and PVC-encased pumps to padded floral ankle boots and tulle-wrapped knee-high boots.

 

Here, Sandra Choi and Virgil Abloh discuss shaking things up at Jimmy Choo, Princess Diana’s lasting influence, and why this is one collaboration
you don’t want to miss.

Off-White™ C/O
Jimmy Choo

Shoes fit for a princess

 

Collaborations may be de rigueur in the fashion world, but Jimmy Choo has refused to jump on the bandwagon, biding their time before taking the plunge with the perfect partnership. And this one was worth the wait. Under the creative direction of Sandra Choi, the footwear brand enlisted Virgil Abloh, of Off-White™, to be their first ready-to-wear collaborator, resulting in colourful and inventive shoes fit for a princess—literally. A mutual love for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, served as common ground between the two brands and inspiration for the designs—she was one of the first to support Jimmy Choo, and Off-White™’s Spring 2018 show was an homage to her personal style. The collection of nine shoes features a mixture of reinvented classics and new styles, with everything from crystal-adorned and PVC-encased pumps to padded floral ankle boots and tulle-wrapped knee-high boots.

 

Here, Sandra Choi and Virgil Abloh discuss shaking things up at Jimmy Choo, Princess Diana’s lasting influence, and why this is one collaboration you don’t want to miss.

We took risks on this collection. It reminded me of every single thing that is iconic for Jimmy Choo, but with a fresh attitude. – Sandra Choi

“We took risks on this collection.
It reminded me of every single thing
that is iconic for Jimmy Choo,
but with a fresh attitude.”

— SANDRA CHOI

We took risks on this collection. It reminded me of every single thing that is iconic for Jimmy Choo, but with a fresh attitude. – Sandra Choi

“We took risks on this collection.
It reminded me of every single thing
that is iconic for Jimmy Choo,
but with a fresh attitude.”

— SANDRA CHOI

 

How did you two meet?

Sandra Choi: We met in September 2016 in New York. Virgil was DJ’ing for our 20th anniversary event and we went for a drink before the event to get to know each other. He had been on my radar for a while and I was interested to meet him. I looked up his background, and I was like, “Okay, let’s get together.”

Virgil Abloh: It was my idea to collaborate—straightaway I was like, “I want to meet whoever is in charge.” I want to develop a relationship with her. When we first met I did a scan cataloguing the brands she was wearing. Well, our brains are so astute. If you have synergy, it’s like, “What’s your taste? How do you finish a sentence?”

S: He’s a connoisseur of fashion! I was impressed by his fashion intuition, he instantly identified my plain cotton t-shirt as Comme des Garçons, this is when we started to talk about working together on a collaboration. We clicked. We connected on that design level immediately. It’s so nice to actually meet someone who’s got a different point of view and a completely different perspective. I have so enjoyed Virgil saying, “I want the unexpected.” Together we wanted to make something both figurative and luxury.

People are going to view this union as experimental. Is that what excited you about it?

S: I want to surprise people. Make them ask, “What kind of effusion, ultimate product are we going to come up with?” Historically, Jimmy Choo has had very strong brand values; the glamour, the confidence. Off-White™ is unpredictable. This collaboration is unpredictable and exciting.

V: Yeah, my thought from going to shows, participating in the fashion community, watching those fashion weeks, was we want something new. Like alright, we’ve had Drake. You have McQueen doing shows. That era left us with so much richness. But now it’s everyone with their arms crossed at shows saying, “Okay, we get it. Who’s going to be our next Margiela? Who’s going to be the next Lagerfeld?” And I was sitting in this chair and said, “Alright, I have to get up and make it.” There’s a generational need for designers to come up with a premise that’s actually valuable and surprising. I feel this collaboration gives us this. I wanted the new it-heel. The major move in my career is to catalogue what’s happening on the street and, hopefully, be given a position to do it within a house. Jimmy Choo is THE House of Shoes.

What street element do you feel that you’ve brought to the union?

V: My contribution is, in a weird way, to be sort of punk but corporate at the same time. Because there’s a space to experiment that usually needs collaboration. So I specialize in finding this aesthetic that’s refined, but it’s a refined aesthetic that’s sort of avant-garde. It’s so important for me to make sure everything is beautiful. You know when your approach lends an alternative sensation to a certain brand, you want it to be beautiful. You don’t want it to be weird, and that is a fine line. And I think this is just perfectly executed in the Off-White™ C/O Jimmy Choo pieces.

S: We took risks on this collection. Like I said to Virgil, it reminded me of every single thing that is iconic for Jimmy Choo, but with a fresh attitude.

How did you two meet?

Sandra Choi: We met in September 2016 in New York. Virgil was DJ’ing for our 20th anniversary event and we went for a drink before the event to get to know each other. He had been on my radar for a while and I was interested to meet him. I looked up his background, and I was like, “Okay, let’s get together.”

Virgil Abloh: It was my idea to collaborate—straightaway I was like, “I want to meet whoever is in charge.” I want to develop a relationship with her. When we first met I did a scan cataloguing the brands she was wearing. Well, our brains are so astute. If you have synergy, it’s like, “What’s your taste? How do you finish a sentence?”

S: He’s a connoisseur of fashion! I was impressed by his fashion intuition, he instantly identified my plain cotton t-shirt as Comme des Garçons, this is when we started to talk about working together on a collaboration. We clicked. We connected on that design level immediately. It’s so nice to actually meet someone who’s got a different point of view and a completely different perspective. I have so enjoyed Virgil saying, “I want the unexpected.” Together we wanted to make something both figurative and luxury.

People are going to view this union as experimental. Is that what excited you about it?

S: I want to surprise people. Make them ask, “What kind of effusion, ultimate product are we going to come up with?” Historically, Jimmy Choo has had very strong brand values; the glamour, the confidence. Off-White™ is unpredictable. This collaboration is unpredictable and exciting.

V: Yeah, my thought from going to shows, participating in the fashion community, watching those fashion weeks, was we want something new. Like alright, we’ve had Drake. You have McQueen doing shows. That era left us with so much richness. But now it’s everyone with their arms crossed at shows saying, “Okay, we get it. Who’s going to be our next Margiela? Who’s going to be the next Lagerfeld?” And I was sitting in this chair and said, “Alright, I have to get up and make it.” There’s a generational need for designers to come up with a premise that’s actually valuable and surprising. I feel this collaboration gives us this. I wanted the new it-heel. The major move in my career is to catalogue what’s happening on the street and, hopefully, be given a position to do it within a house. Jimmy Choo is THE House of Shoes.

What street element do you feel that you’ve brought to the union?

V: My contribution is, in a weird way, to be sort of punk but corporate at the same time. Because there’s a space to experiment that usually needs collaboration. So I specialize in finding this aesthetic that’s refined, but it’s a refined aesthetic that’s sort of avant-garde. It’s so important for me to make sure everything is beautiful. You know when your approach lends an alternative sensation to a certain brand, you want it to be beautiful. You don’t want it to be weird, and that is a fine line. And I think this is just perfectly executed in the Off-White™ C/O Jimmy Choo pieces.

S: We took risks on this collection. Like I said to Virgil, it reminded me of every single thing that is iconic for Jimmy Choo, but with a fresh attitude.

“I wanted the new it-heel. The major move in my career is to
catalogue what’s happening on the street and, hopefully,
be given a position to do it within a house.
Jimmy Choo is THE House of Shoes.”

— Virgil Abloh

“I wanted the new it-heel. The major move in my career is to catalogue what’s happening on the street and, hopefully, be given a position to do it within a house. Jimmy Choo is THE House of Shoes.”

— Virgil Abloh

Jimmy Choo

Why do you think Princess Diana is so culturally relevant to the generation that wasn’t even born when she was alive? What is it about her style?

V: She was and is still a role model. The whole premise of the collaboration is asking the question, “Who’s the new woman?”, and then trying to make that into a collection. The fact that now there’s a new powerful independent woman that has a style. That she can wear jeans, not have to wear a suit that was made for a man. She is an individual that you can’t classify. And I think that Princess Diana is relevant explicitly now because she was ahead of her time. Her being Princess Diana and having this variance of style choice is indicative. Clothing is your outward expression of what’s happening. So whatever façade that she lived in she revealed through her clothing. From the gym, to being on the street, to being on the red carpet — they were all powerful expressions of her intrinsic style. She has this cool mix from red carpet, charity work to the ski slopes where she wore the après ski boot in white. I have this image on my mood board, in the Alps styled with jeans.

S: I think it’s relatable. Diana was a royal grounded in reality. She was real, not a fairytale.

Why do you think Princess Diana is so culturally relevant to the generation that wasn’t even born when she was alive? What is it about her style?

V: She was and is still a role model. The whole premise of the collaboration is asking the question, “Who’s the new woman?”, and then trying to make that into a collection. The fact that now there’s a new powerful independent woman that has a style. That she can wear jeans, not have to wear a suit that was made for a man. She is an individual that you can’t classify. And I think that Princess Diana is relevant explicitly now because she was ahead of her time. Her being Princess Diana and having this variance of style choice is indicative. Clothing is your outward expression of what’s happening. So whatever façade that she lived in she revealed through her clothing. From the gym, to being on the street, to being on the red carpet — they were all powerful expressions of her intrinsic style. She has this cool mix from red carpet, charity work to the ski slopes where she wore the après ski boot in white. I have this image on my mood board, in the Alps styled with jeans.

S: I think it’s relatable. Diana was a royal grounded in reality. She was real, not a fairytale.

Has the collaboration made you rethink elements of Jimmy Choo? Do you feel like you want to embrace the street more now in design?

S: Well, the street is there. You can’t ignore it for sure. But I’d like to think that I’m a much more open-minded person. You know what Jimmy Choo is, the glamour, the confidence, that high heel. But the story has evolved with the Jimmy Choo woman wanting and needing more choices but founded on the same principles of quality, design and confidence. I like to give her choices. This project has allowed us to play with our core DNA in ways that are authentic yet surprising, that provokes people to think, “Oh, they’re doing something different. That’s really interesting.” And I believe in experimenting when it is built on authenticity, it brings freshness and energy to the collections.

The Off-White™ C/O Jimmy Choo collection is available at Holt Renfrew Bloor Street, Montreal, and Vancouver from March 2 and only for a limited time.

FIND YOUR STORE

Has the collaboration made you rethink elements of Jimmy Choo? Do you feel like you want to embrace the street more now in design?

S: Well, the street is there. You can’t ignore it for sure. But I’d like to think that I’m a much more open-minded person. You know what Jimmy Choo is, the glamour, the confidence, that high heel. But the story has evolved with the Jimmy Choo woman wanting and needing more choices but founded on the same principles of quality, design and confidence. I like to give her choices. This project has allowed us to play with our core DNA in ways that are authentic yet surprising, that provokes people to think, “Oh, they’re doing something different. That’s really interesting.” And I believe in experimenting when it is built on authenticity, it brings freshness and energy to the collections.

The Off-White™ C/O Jimmy Choo collection is available at Holt Renfrew Bloor Street, Montreal, and Vancouver from March 2 and only for a limited time.

FIND YOUR STORE