Hosting a luncheon with Elton and Valentino, dating Christian Slater and receiving an OBE from the Queen . . . It sounds like a charmed life, but Jimmy Choo's co-founder also endured plenty of low points.
In the aptly titled In My Shoes, Tamara Mellon observes that childhood habits later played a role in her business relationships. As she did with her abusive mother, Mellon would feign agreement in order to avoid conflict.
Even so, she was able to turn Jimmy Choo into a billion-dollar brand that appeared in lyrics sung by Beyonce and Pharrell Williams.
Another singer was impacted by the entrepreneur herself. Elton met Tamara at one of his White Tie & Tiara balls in Windsor, where she came up with the idea to raise money for rape shelters in Africa. This resulted in 4 Inches, a photo project featuring the likes of Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham and the writer himself, wearing just Cartier jewelry and Jimmy Choos.
Between the book and auction, $3.5 millon was raised, then the largest single donation ever to Elton's charity.
Another Jimmy Choo/EJAF collaboration was the PEP Project, to increase awareness of post exposure prophylactic drugs which reduce the chance of getting an HIV infection. The partners created a print that included the British and American flags, and put it on shoes and bags. They grossed about 150,000 pounds, but sold out so quickly, Mellon believes they underestimated the demand.
The philanthropist, who received an Enduring Vision Award from the EJAF in 2010, is no longer with Jimmy Choo. But she's launching her eponymous company next month, having come a long way from her first trade show over 17 years ago, with samples ''too awful'' to display.