On the first day of LFW me and my colleague Charlie were feeling the British buzz of excited voices and the background noise of cameras shutters clicking away. To go from that near hysteria into the Shoe Designer Showrooms was a calming experience. I am such a shoe nut. Whenever I think of shoes my mind immediately goes to Carrie from SNTC and my own vast collection of heels, boots, flats and mid heels. A lot of thought goes into my shoe collections and what outfits would go with which shoes.
“Our ethos is something that is classic, with a little twist”
This is also reflected with Lucy Choi’s innovative and thought provoking shoes. Her ethos marks the start of the next generation of luxury footwear. Thanks to her family’s shoe dynasty and inspired by Uncle Jimmy Choo and sister Sandra Choi, this new label benefits from the founders knowledge and almost thirty years of working in the shoe industry. The brand has combined this unique heritage, set of fashion credentials and design expertise into th launch of an innovative shoe label for every occasion. From red carpet glamour to chilling out on the beach to St Tropez the brand caters for all tastes and attitudes, hence the name of the debut collection – Rock ‘n’ Royal.
How do you decide what patterns to pick with this contrast collection?
I get all my inspiration when I am having a shower.
It’s where my mind flows. This is where I can think the most and where I can get the most inspiration. Meeting people… meeting you guys and seeing what you are wearing. Your personalities and the next morning the ideas all come out.
I think thats the best way to go about it…
It’s when I am calm, I get a chance to think. When I’m by myself and its ‘me’ time.
It’s better cause your not forcing it?
Yeah, I don’t have to force it out.
It is a lot to do with absorbing the day: absorbing who I met, their characters, what they are wearing and how they put that (outfit) together.
So every single shoe almost has a character.
Who (or what) would you say is your favourite character?
Eh… my favourite character…. I have a few so thats my problem!
Ok, who is your top 3 favourite characters?
(the top 3 characters) I wear all the time are the Hero shoe which is called the Canterbury. We have it all season. Its just a normal high heel, 110 heel. But it has the snake skin with the colours, and the character. I just love black and this stands out with black. It is easy to wear but stands out with its quirkiness.
I literally live in black clothes!
I know! I know! It’s just so much easier. But when I go away (from work) though I tend to put colours on. I think I see black as a uniform that I wear for work. And after work is where I can put my colours on. I see black as a uniform to wear to see my customers and also to highlight my shoes. So if I wear black I highlight my shoes, thats how I see it.
Your Hero… I love the name of them. Hero shoe!
I also love this as well!
What is name of that shoe?
It is Mer… Mercutio. It’s in Shakespeare.
That is also one of my favourites. We have done a lot of shoes in the past seasons that is very similar. But we play around with the zip. Again it is black.
What is that shoe character for you?
It is almost striking. But it has almost a little bit of a dark side and fun and a little bit mysterious.
What play is it from? The Shakespeare name?
We will let you know. I think it’s Hamlet?
I just love the fact all the shoes have a character and want to know their background!
You know Romeo and Juliet? Romeo’s best friend? He’s one of the nice guys. He’s very mysterious. And sexy.
What is your 3rd favourite?
I love the mid heel. I played around with the characters. Play around with the lace and the zip placement. I’ve called this character Yorrick.
Yorrick? Is that another Shakespeare name?
Yes it is!
I love how you name your shoes after Shakespeare’s characters. I’ve been to other shoe shows and they don’t think much about naming their shoes, just name it after randoms.
Theres a feeling for every season. My first season was Rock ‘n’ Royal. When you think of Kate Moss as rock and Kate Middleton as royal. With one shoe being classic and traditional and then rock with the high heels and black, again!
Every season we have a (different) theme. One season we had names of all the UK Royal Princesses. That was autumn season. We also worked with all the heritage places, like York and Hampton. Another season were London names like Chelsea, Islington and Nottinghill.
Its nice to have that. A meaning for the shoes and an added character. What pushed you into shoe design?
In terms of my heritage and my background, Sandra Choi and my uncle is Jimmy Choo.I saw how they worked and the craziness. I never wanted to work in that environment at all so after university i went into IT and business. My uncle said to me maybe you should come and help. I thought maybe not. Maybe ill do something differttnet. I think 10 years later after I’d kind of been wearing a business suit and travelling to all the conferences. I was actually 19 and I was doing accountancy and business. Then I decide actually I love the creative side of it and I love talking to customers. I actually really wanted to go back into it. Seeing how my uncle and sister used to work together and I missed that.
And I knew at one point I could go back to it. But i wanted to try something for myself first. And just working in the city, more of the business side. I actually worked for another company called French Sole, a ballet shoe company. They were in Chelsea originally and I helped build their brand and I was with them for 10 years. I became a MD there. I was running their business and grew their business, internationally.
And I thought this is a big step in my career. I am going to do the final step in my career, to go on my own. I set up their business and ran their business and I thought I could do this for myself. And use the creative side from my background and the business side from French Sole for my own business.
Do you have any future projects your working on?
We are selling now at Net a Porter and Harvey Nicolls. To us we wanted to… you know with the UK market I am able to mark where I am and I am very comfortable with it. Now I like to be able to get into overseas. We are already in the middle east, in Hong Kong, Singapore, Belgium and Italy. We are in those places but I would like to get into the US more. Net a Porter is good. It gets our brand out there. It is very exciting but a lot to do, a lot to do!
It sounds like your prepared for it with your 10 years of experience, as you said with other companies you have the business mind set.
Yeah and the PR, I did all PR for other companies. I helped the family business grow. And I feel like I am prepared. I now have all the money and I can start my brand but you know… it isn’t that easy.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My goodness! Seeing people being so creative and so daring. I love it. Seeing that there is no other place in the world that you can see what London Fashion Week offers. To see all these people wearing things that you would never imagine wearing.
London wins i think, with its street style.
Exactly! And they don’t care. They do not care and I love that. I think thats how it should be. Art is all about expressing themselves. And they should be proud of what they are wearing. And think its a cool thing. Its what you think and it is what you feel. I think its great! I love watching, I could stand there all day and watch people.
Okay to sum it up how would you explain your style, your theme in 3 words?
I would stay quirky but classic and wearable.
So quirky, classic and wearable?
Yeah! And it also has character! It has a meaning with every single shoe. So it is almost like a person. Its because I spend so much time sourcing the material from overseas, with the cost and everything, so when I look at that shoe it has meaning to me. Where I source the material and character. And I can imagine exactly who would wear this shoe as well.
Yeah so when a girl comes in I see her and think oh she would be perfect for this shoe or that shoe!
Do you ever recommend a shoe to a customer? A customer will come up to you and you will say I just see you in this shoe?
Yeah of course! All the time. Of course you have to get to know the character first. Get to know their dress sense.
What shoe would you recommend for me? (lucy)
Would you wear this?
And you would probably wear my flats. I can see you in something like that and without tights.
Yeah I hate wearing tights cause I am so clumsy and I get the tights snagged. So I just don’t wear tights.
I love getting to know all my customers. I want to provide shoes for people who love our shoes and wear them all the time and I just love understanding customers and just think you would be perfect for this.
Its perfect cause your not just selling shoes your making it personally for them. You connect with the brand.
And we have such a vast collection and it caters for everyone.
Meeting Lucy Choi and her team has been an enlightening experience. Her creative and insightful outlook on her brand and her individual customers is amazing! She has such a rich background in shoe designing with her Uncle Jimmy Choo and sister Sandra Choi and chooses her own path first before finding her ultimate love. This, I feel, adds a more personable aspect to her shoes and connecting their characters with her customers.
I look forward to seeing how and when Lucy Choi fever hits the US and sweeps everyone off their feet.
Lucy and I posing together.