Fashion Reporter, Sian O’Donnell
Mother, wife, shoe designer, consultant, founder of newly launched footwear label, Lucy Choi London (having previously headed up French Sole) and with a baby on the way, Wonder Woman seems like a pretty accurate description to describe this businesswoman with fabulous footwear! Just how does she do it…
“I’ve been very lucky! I’ve fulfilled my ambitions to have my own shoe label, my husband and to have a new baby on the way. I’m extremely happy. I kiss my husband and then check my emails on my Crackberry first thing every morning. I then start the day with soya milk yoghurt and some fresh peaches and start checking my emails from around 7am until 9am. I often end the day around midnight, or it can be 2am depending on my schedule – and if I am travelling or meeting customers or friends in the evening.”
From scheduling shoots for the look book, arranging meetings with buyers and new stockists, trend forecasting and budget forecasting, to liaising daily with the PR team, regularly meeting the press and flying to Hong Kong or Italy on a constant basis to oversee factory and design demands, each day is never the same for Lucy.
With an uncle as influential as the legendary Jimmy Choo (imagine the hand-me-downs!) and design talent obviously running in the sibling genes with Sandra Choi (Creative Director at Jimmy Choo), a natural progression into footwear design must have been palpable.
“I always wanted to be an artist but quickly realised there was no future in it. However, I decided not to follow my uncle and sister into footwear initially and instead started my career working in a big corporation to understand all aspects of the business world. I wanted to cut my teeth into the corporate world first. In 2002 I joined French Sole to help them build the brand, where I became the MD and oversaw every aspect of the business. After 10 wonderful years I left last year to pursue a new path in fashion consultancy.”
Currently living in Bayswater, after growing up between Honk Kong and Isle of Wight, inspiration must have come far and wide for the new collection.
“I was actually originally inspired by a pair of simple, classic black heels which I was given on my 18th birthday. I have taken this shape and by careful selection of a wide range of luxurious fabrics, different heel heights and toe shapes, have been able to create an elegant, timeless, sexy collection for all occasions. I am also inspired by my travels from around the world.
My favourite from the new collection though would have to be the Goldstone Gold Leopard heels, they epitomise the ethos behind the range - in that they are simple and elegant, but also have a lot of character.”
“I have over 500 pairs that I have collected over the years! I always think about what shoes I am going to wear before I think about an outfit and choose the outfit around the shoes. All my shoes are classic and very wearable but also have character and that ‘wow’ factor. My favourite shoes of all time are the ones my sister designed for my wedding day- absolutely stunning!
With a new baby on the way, a newly launched solo collection (a baby in itself) those unwinding rarity moments must be truly blissful, even if it is just daydreaming or pretending to be in Datai in Langkawi, Malaysia - a favourite holiday destination.
“I love to cook for friends (although I never use the recipe as I like to be creative, presentation and taste is everything to me). If I’m in London for the weekend, I like to take a long early morning walk, followed by a late lunch at my favourite Mayfair restaurant – La Petite Masion and afterwards to The Connaught for a few cocktails. It is the most romantic setting, with comfy sofas and the open roaring fire in the bar in the winter. I also enjoy playing tennis as I find it helps me switch off after the busy working week.”
“I am a perfectionist and also have a habit of checking everything before I leave the house. I often burn candles and am paranoid of leaving one burning! I once left for a meeting and was half way there on the train before turning back as I was certain I had left the iron on – I hadn’t!”
With the exciting news that the AW12 collection will launch in stores at the end of July, what can we expect from such a credible designer who tries on and wears each pair of shoes first to ensure they are comfortable and meet the (high) customer standards!
“It is a very opulent, indulgent collection of heels and mid heels. We are also introducing a new range of flats in exotic skins, rich metallic golds, silvers and ruby reds and our first collection of winter boots, crafted from Italian leather. The range is designed to suit both the country and city and includes more sporty style flat boots and over the knee boots, along with sky high, faux fur ankle boots or ultra chic knee high black suede and patent buttoned boots. The evening shoes are highly embellished with luxurious lace and glitter detailing for the ultimate vintage glamour. Even the highest heels are made for comfort to allow you to last all night on the dance floor.”
A true Wonder Woman indeed, yet every Super Designer needs an icon.
“Madonna – she is such a powerful icon. I admire her positive attitude and she is a true fashion chameleon, I would love to work with her.”
Watch this space for the Queen of Pop footwear collaboration, but until then, get shopping. Lucy Choi London is a gastronomic shoe delight.
Fashion Reporter, Sian O’Donnell