Jimmy Choo’s Creative Director Sandra Choi Expands On The Varenne Avenue Handbag

Samaira Sandhu (10)

Any conversation around the ‘it’ accessories label Jimmy Choo, is incomplete without a mention of the show, Sex and The City, where Carrie Bradshaw wore the gorgeous, gravity-defying stilettos. The iconic character played by Sarah Jessica Parker propelled the brand’s popularity overnight when she said, “I lost my Choo,”while looking for a ferry in Staten Island. Jimmy Choo is known for representing the cultural zeitgeist and redefining sophistication since its genesis in 1996. While holding on to its popularity and image of coveted shoemakers in the world, the brand extended its impeccable design and sculptural sensibilities to statement bags and became an accessories brand of global repute.

Sandra Choi; Photograph: Richard Bush

The latest addition to the Jimmy Choo family of handbags is the Varenne Avenue quilted collection. The state-of-the-art craftsmanship and multi-functional design capture the spirit of the glamorous world of the brand’s muse and evoke the cosmopolitan cities in which they live, work and holiday. The city is their playground and the handbag speaks to their dynamic life and appetite for wanderlust, feels Sandra Choi, as she takes us through the innovative spirit and time-honoured techniques behind Varenne Avenue.

ELLE: How would you define the design evolution of the Varenne family of signature handbags for Jimmy Choo’s eternal muse?

Sandra Choi (SC): Jimmy Choo handbags have been part of the collections since 2004 and continue to evolve each season. The handbags often translate codes from the shoes in the collection, it could be the material, the hardware or a colour palette. The handbags are there to complement the shoes but also to stand out on their own. Our Varenne family was first introduced in the autumn of 2019 and has kept evolving. The Jimmy Choo muse is confident and optimistic with a playful spirit and the Varenne evolution reflects this, bringing to life the notion of modern glamour. We continue to introduce new colourways and fabrics each season, so it’s exciting for our community to build their Varenne family collections.

ELLE: What was the inspiration behind expanding the iconic collection and introducing Varenne Avenue?

SC: It expands on the success of our established Varenne family of handbags that bear the hallmark JC monogram. We wanted to add texture and tactile softness to the structured silhouette of the bag. The Avenue quilting pattern lends a graphic depth and richness that animates the signature Varenne’s personality. The linear pattern draws inspiration from our urban habitat, the avenues we navigate daily, dreaming with every step of arriving somewhere full of wonder.

ELLE: Considering its innovative design elements, what makes Varenne Avenue the ‘IT’ bag of the season.

SC: The matelassé pattern is unique to Jimmy Choo, a strong graphic and linear pattern that contrasts with the tactile softness created by the quilting. The statement JC monogram gold hardware was first introduced in the Autumn 2019 collection. The faceted interlocking brand initials, JC, are our hallmark, a stamp of ownership. The colour palette ranges from black, burgundy, and gold to candy pink. Pink is a strong theme for the autumn collection and it brings a playful personality to the timeless silhouette of the Varenne Avenue family. Each element of the bag is prepared and constructed by hand in Italy; there are 45 components to each bag. This hand-finished element ensures our consistent quality.

ELLE: Do you have a favourite in terms of colour and design? How would you like to style your Avenue?

SC: The Varenne Avenue Quad Quilted Satin in Dragonfly—it’s an unusual tone of blue and the satin brings a touch of glamour. I also love the Candy Pink version for a joyful pop of colour as we move into autumn. Style it with something simple and classic, and let the bag do the talking.

ELLE: How do you envision Varenne Avenue mapping the changing sartorial landscape of present times?

SC: It was essential to add a quilted style to our handbag offer but we wanted to make sure it felt unique. The Avenue graphic linear pattern animates the bags with a tactile softness, it transcends from day to evening. The Varenne Avenue family reinforces our commitment to the highest quality of materials, Italian craftsmanship blended with timeless glamour and a dash of playfulness.

All Photographs courtesy: Jimmy Choo

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