Jimmy Choo Heads to H&M, Spotlights Classics

NEW YORK — Jimmy Choo’s strategy for tackling tough times: Build as much buzz as possible.

The luxury brand is hoping several unique initiatives will help fuel excitement around the brand in a difficult economy.

Jimmy Choo last week garnered major attention after announcing it would team up with H&M for a limited-edition collection that encompasses women’s and men’s shoes and accessories, as well as a capsule ready-to-wear line. The product will launch in 200 H&M stores globally Nov. 14.

“[Jimmy Choo President] Tamara Mellon and I have been talking about how we would love to do something for a younger customer,” the brand’s CEO, Josh Schulman, told Footwear News last week. “H&M approached us, and we seemed to have a shared idea of what this collaboration [could be].”

Schulman emphasized that the partnership is not a diffusion strategy and is a “one-time event.” The CEO said there were no plans to bow men’s footwear or ready-to-wear in the main Jimmy Choo line, but that Mellon and her team were having fun experimenting with new categories for H&M.

The retail chain expects to launch 12 footwear styles for women, some available in two different colors, and four models for men. Prices for most shoes will be between 40 euros, or $55 at current exchange rates, and 100 euros, or $138, while the price range for the bags will be wider, reaching 200 euros, or $276, for some models.

“Jimmy Choo stands for the glamorous look our clients like,” said Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s creative adviser.

For their part, luxury insiders were generally upbeat on the deal and said it could be a good move for both companies.

“Jimmy Choo needs the business, and H&M needs the prestige,” said Patricia Pao, the president of New York-based Pao Principle, a retail consulting firm. “If they make a limited quantity, and this thing sells out in an hour, both sides will have met their goals.”

Schulman also told FN last week that Jimmy Choo is prepping to debut Choo 24/7 for spring ’10. The product range, which will bow alongside the main spring collection, will feature updated versions of Mellon’s favorite styles in a variety of colors, materials and heel heights. Much of the product will be carried over from season to season with new colors and materials.

“Our strategy has always been about balancing icons and innovation,” Schulman said. “We see Choo 24/7 as a great way to hero the iconic products along cutting-edge fashion.”

To support the launch, Jimmy Choo will begin an extensive marketing push in January. Schulman said Choo 24/7, coupled with the H&M collaboration and the recently announced Project PEP charitable initiative, would help Jimmy Choo differentiate itself. “This is an integrated strategy,” he said. “It’s very important that we remain close to our customers and potential customers. Now is the time to take market share.”

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