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The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe Hardcover – April 28, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Backstabbing and bitchery dominate this tale of woe from fashion journalist Crowe and Rosen, head of the Luxury & Retail division of Reig Capital Group. Dreary writing hobbles what could have been an inspiring portrait of Jimmy Choo's rise from his humble origins (Choo started making shoes at age nine in Malaysia) to the company's astonishing success and sale for $333 million in 2007. The story primarily follows Tamara Mellon, a socialite who convinced Choo to mass-produce his shoes, finally becoming president of the company. Despite an intriguing picture of the luxury trade in '90s London, where the supply of sexy shoes was almost monopolistically controlled by Manolo Blahnik, the details of the corporate in-fighting becomes repetitive and dull; by the time Jimmy becomes dissatisfied with the partnership and Tamara Mellon goes through an ugly divorce, readers are unlikely to care. It turns out that high fashion loses a great deal of its glamour when you examine the business nitty-gritty rather than the glitz. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* As the world economy continues to reel, one burning question prompted by journalist Crowe and financial analyst de Rosen’s riveting history of the ups and downs—and ups again—of the Jimmy Choo brand: Will there continue to be a market for high-end luxury goods? The answer is a toss-up among today’s pundits. Then again, so is the response to the question posed first by the authors: Does Jimmy Choo represent a new business model for luxury brands—or was it simply in the right place at the right time? There is something Sex and the City–like about Jimmy Choo’s rise to fashionista prominence: it’s the tale of many machinations, many different owners (three in less than one decade), and clashes of outsized personalities, incuding Jimmy Choo (yes, he exists!), the Malaysian shoemaking talent; Tamara Mellon, the celebrity president (and her parents); Matthew Mellon, her former husband and an American banking scion–cum–party guy; and Robert Bensoussan, a farsighted CEO and entrepreneur—among dozens of other celebrities and characters. A fascinating, well-written chronology that draws a chillingly accurate behind-the-scenes portrait of a contemporary fashion brand. --Barbara Jacobs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596913916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596913912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mojosmom VINE VOICE on April 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jimmy Choo, the shoemaker, hasn't had anything to do with Jimmy Choo, the shoes, for quite a while now. That's what this book is about - the way a small, artisanal shoemaking company catering to a select group of wealthy women was turned into an international luxury ready-to-wear brand featured on television and the red carpet.

One of Mr. Choo's customers was a young woman named Tamara Yeardye, a socialite with business in her blood. She saw the potential of the business, and used her social and business connections to raise the funds to capitalize on it. Convincing Mr. Choo, though, was even harder, but she did. The saga of Jimmy Choo (the company) is a microcosm of the world of start-ups, IPOs, leveraged buyouts, private equity firms, all the pieces that made up the financial picture of the late '90s and early 2000s. And it's also the story of some very powerful personalities, and how their personal lives and scandals affected the company.

Honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. The blurbs, and certainly the first chapter, read like a gossip magazine. But slowly and inexorably I was drawn in by the vivid way the authors describe the financial machinations, the growth of the company through multiple sales, the dealmaking. It's easy to be misled by the initial portrait of Tamara Yeardye Mellon posing in "cleavage and stiletto shoes" by her nude photograph. Despite her social butterfly image, and the very real scandals she was involved in, she is one smart, driven and ambitious cookie.

The authors are, respectively, a journalist specializing in fashion and luxury goods, and an equity analyst and founding partner of a private equity firm.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ah, ...the rich. How they live, and how they are soaked like WalMart junkies by brand names catering to their supposed uppity shopping choices. A shoe is a shoe as poor Jimmy wanted to believe. Anything can be taken to another level. However, when it's strictly for money and branding, it becomes rather pathetic.
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Format: Hardcover
A Choo, his shoes, many capitalists, an investigative reporter and an equity analyst in luxury goods - Put them together and you get Crowe and de Rosen's book The Towering World of Jimmy Choo. In fact, this tale is not just about a cobbler who had a flare for design and quality, but about many aspects of the luxury clothing/accessory business world. What holds the interest of a non-high finance or business person like myself is the fascinating mix of personalities driven to be the best at what they do and the capitalist system in which they achieved or failed.

In several chapters, shoes seem not to matter at all. Rather, Crowe and de Rosen introduced me to the business of luxury and the entrepreneurs and managers at its highest end. Indeed, one problem that I had was keeping track of all the names that were dropped. Not being in fashion or luxury, I suspect that I recognized about half the names. For this high recognition rate, one must give credit to the advertising departments at Givenchy, Versace, and a few others! Hopefully, readers more in tune with this industry will recognize more.

I think business majors would benefit by reading this book. It provides insight into acquisitions, mergers and deals as well as the business acuity possessed by Tamara Mellon and others seeking to make their fortune in luxury and glamour. True, Tamara had Daddy's money to back her, but it was her drive and vision that brought a relatively obscure maker of shoes for wealthy women to the international attention of women in the upper middle class. At one point Robert Bensoussan, a primary Jimmy Choo manager, came to Phoenix Equity Partners to jointly set up an investment vehicle to hold luxury acquisitions, one of which was Jimmy Choo Shoes.
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Format: Paperback
The Jimmy Choo Story: Power, Profits and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe is almost aptly titled. The first two – power and profits – are abundant, but the pursuit of the perfect shoe gets lost in the business hype. This is not a book about Jimmy Choo, the man, the person from Malaysia who made his first pair of shoes in 1969 for his mother – ‘classic black slingbacks with a diamante buckle.’ Learning the shoe trade from his father, and studying in England, Jimmy Choo (1948-) rented a small workshop in London, making great shoes. This is about the business of J. Choo Ltd. – with and without Jimmy Choo.

The book commences, not with Jimmy Choo, but with Tamara Yeardye (now Mellon) – which is not an effective opener. She was with Vogue magazine in 1991, at the age of 24, as an assistant to fashion director Sarajane Hoare, when she convinced Jimmy Choo to launch a factory-produced line of shoes. Hence J. Choo Ltd. was established (with 50% of the shares each to Tamara and Jimmy), although Jimmy still worked in the workshop. His wife’s niece, Sandra Choi, helped him with the designs and assisting his customers.

Choo opened his first store in London in August 1996. By 2001 the company was thriving. But Jimmy sold his 50% share of the company after ‘creative differences.’ Sandra crossed the floor to join Tamara expand her share of the business – keeping the company name – losing contact with her uncle.
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