My London: Lucy Choi – Shoe Designer

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Lucy Choi grew up in Hong Kong and on the IsIe of Wight. The niece of the legendary Jimmy Choo, she was in the enviable and fortunate position of seeing how handcrafted shoes are made. Choi learnt about the importance of both quality and style in the shoe industry, and from a young age developed a penchant for fashion and design.

Lucy joined French Sole in 2002, fast becoming their MD and expanding the brand globally for 10 years. She launched her own boutique shoe label Lucy Choi London in April 2012, and her first flagship store has just opened in Connaught Village, W2 2AF.

We caught up with Lucy for the latest in our ‘My London’ interview series.

 

Favourite neighbourhood:

I love Notting Hill where I live and I’ve always loved the area around Connaught Street, which is why I chose it as the perfect location for my boutique. I love the community-feel found in this area. It really feels like a village, yet it’s only 10 minutes walk from Oxford Street – one of London’s busiest areas. It really is a hidden gem.

Favourite place for brunch:

Bill Granger in Westbourne Grove is a great place for brunch anytime of the week – the menu is always so fresh and inspiring. I also love Le Pain Quotidien near to our boutique for a quick snack when I am on the run!

Best coffee in London:

Cocomaya in Connaught Village definitely serve the best coffee. I have a very sweet tooth and I can’t resist their croissants as well, a girl can’t be expected just to have a coffee without any pastries … !

Favourite gallery or museum:

The Royal Academy is one of my favourite places to explore. I love to go to the Summer Exhibition each year and enjoy seeing both established and new and up and coming artists hanging side by side – there is nothing quite like it. I love to sit in their garden in the summer and take in the majesty of the building, you can really feel the sense of history there.

Tell us a secret:

I can’t drive! I have taken my test so many times but have never passed! I tend to use taxis to commute as I’m constantly on the move – it’s my guilty pleasure!

Favourite place to shop:

I like to shop at 202, and I love window-shopping in Dover Street. I often shop in Westbourne Grove near my home, because I love exploring the wide range of different boutiques there. It’s great to discover the new designers at Wolf and Badger, and Alice Temperley is my go to designer for dresses. Connaught Village also has some beautiful boutiques, if you are looking for something unique and special – it’s definitely worth a visit.

Favourite place to find inspiration:

I always get my best ideas in the shower!! But of course I find inspiration all around me, and a lot of my ideas for my designs come from people watching. My husband, my cheeky son Thomas and I love to walk around London at the weekends, exploring different areas – we are lucky to live in such an amazing and multi-cultural city. It’s really inspiring.

Best London destination for a date:

I would recommend The Connaught for cocktails. It has the most romantic setting, with comfy sofas and the open roaring fire in the bar in the winter…

Favourite park:

Holland Park.

Favourite food market:

It’s very hard to beat Borough Market for the amazing array of produce. We often go there at the weekend and just enjoy tasting and trying different things. It’s wonderful for finding tempting and unusual ingredients to cook at home.

Your sanctuary in the city:

I’ll always treat myself to a trip to Richard Ward when I need to relax for a quick haircut – Nando always gives me the best blow dry! I love heading to Urban Retreat in Harrods for a mani and pedi, and a real special treat would be going to Corinthia for a full day spa. My husband and I normally go to Limewood twice a year with my son for a relaxing retreat over summer time and Christmas time
My day-to-day life is very busy and my sacrosanct ritual is a regular yoga session in Bayswater. I go at least once a week for a one-to-one session with my Yoga teacher Jo Arthur, which helps me to relax, focus and re-balance. She is brilliant and comes to my place, due to my busy schedule . I also have a Reflexologist, Jess Appleby, who comes in every Sunday night too. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and something I cannot live without!

What inspires you?

People inspire me. And the particular people that Inspires me have to be my Uncle jimmy and my Grandma, who taught me such important values about life and how to believe in yourself and follow your heart ! On a day-to-day basis there are lots of women in the fashion and beauty industries who also inspire me. Jo Malone and Natalie Massenet, for example, who aren’t afraid to carve their own paths and push boundaries.

I get inspiration from talking with customers all the time, whether it’s with my wholesale customers or my direct consumers in the boutique. They always help me find inspiration when I’m working on producing my new collections. I also get amazing inspiration on my travels to Hong Kong, Italy, and Spain, where my shoes are manufactured. They are such vibrant places, with fantastic markets for sourcing all of my materials.

This season I’m loving:

My new Dormer shoes – to mark the launch of the boutique, I’ve created this stunning limited edition shoe. I tried to infuse our ethos into this shoe by creating daring, sexy, and playful designs. This shoe combines a mix of eye-catching snake print leathers with black and white chevron detailing. It has the right pop of colour to set off your Autumn wardrobe so I know I’ll be wearing this all season!

The plug…

I’ve just opened my very first boutique in London on Connaught Street with a 2nd child on the way! Setting up your own business is always daunting, but I managed when I was expecting my first child and have loved every moment. I’ve always loved being busy and doing everything in one go! It’s my personality to just go for it without worrying about consequences or you’ll never do anything! My vision is to offer customers affordable luxury, with shoes that fit the three C’s: Character, Comfort and Craftsmanship. My boutique reflects my ethos with its luxurious, welcoming space, where customers can come in, relax and enjoy personal service and a truly special shopping experience. We wanted to create a true shoe-candy
heaven and mirror every girl’s dream boudoir with
an array of eye-catching and alluring
shoes. I’ve always put my heart and soul into any business I have worked for, and it is so rewarding to see the results with my own Lucy Choi London!