Sunday, September 20, 2009

Choo's Shoes

There are only three "hot"women's shoemakers working today -- Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnick and Christian Louboutin (whose trademark is bright red soles.) Todd's driving shoes (quelle affectation) come in a rather distant fourth. All of the top three specialize in towering stiletto heels. I'm talking 4 to 6 in. high -- aka "Ankle Breakers."

I love shoes (as many women do) and try hard to avoid the shoe section of department stores. I can't justify more when I already have black cherry lizard cowboy boots (25 years old; rarely worn) construction booots (CERT work) wood-soled clogs with a linen upper; a pair of sandals that are basically three straps and a sole to name only a few in my collection.

I think women see shoes as an addition to role playing -- construction boots, white socks, khaki shorts, white t-shirt and a clipboard! Viola - construction boss! Slinky dress, sky-high heels -- vixen! (Watch "Sex in the City" re-runs and see for yourself.)

Thus, when I came across "The Towering World of Jimmy Choo -- A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe" by Crowe and Rosen at the library I took it. (Bloomsbury, $26, 228 pages.)

Jimmy Choo was the son of an established shoemaker in Penang, Malaysia. Age 9 he made his first pair of shoes -- black slingbacks with a "diamond" buckle for his mother. Later he apprenticed in London at the Cordwainer's College (for workers in leather.)

In the book, Choo is very quickly overshadowed by a woman named Tamara Yeardye who essentially got interested in his business and then bought a part of it. She marries a Mellon (Matthew.) The book presents her as an extraordinarily stubborn, driven woman (aka "real bitch'). Since Choo is said to be retiring to the point of invisiblity, I'm waiting to see what happens next.

The good news (for women, if not their husbands) is that luxury shoe brands are thriving even in this economy ... After all, We Must Have Shoes!

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