As a woman designing for women, I’ve come to know a few things about luxury shoes.

Ever since I co-founded Jimmy Choo in 1996, left, and restarted with my own brand, I've made it my work to design footwear that makes women look good and feel great. I know women are looking for the shoe that gets them from the 9am meeting to the 9pm drinks without interruption or compromise.

Here are three things I've learned about luxury, design, and how time-honed craftsmanship from the best factories in Italy gives women what they deserve-- the best.

Toe Spring Comparison
(Tamara Mellon Rebel pump at left, competitor shoe at right) 

I walk the walk in my own shoes. Unlike male designers that never wear their designs, I fit-test each style and judge it for wearability and comfort. One trade secret I’ve learned from 20 years of designing footwear is that comfort is all about balance. You’ll notice my pumps angle up at the toe. This is called a ‘toe spring’ and it’s a result of a properly balanced shoe-- which is the secret to making a sexy heel also an all-day heel.

SINGLE LEATHER COMPARISON
(Tamara Mellon black Rebel pump at left, white competitor pump at right)  

Luxury is about both the best materials and the best methods. After decades spent finding the finest leather mills in Italy, I’ve become a stickler about letting that leather stand out. This means not skimping on the craftsmanship. On a pump of 105mm or less, there is a certain way to cut the leather so there are no side seams. Other designers often skip this method, which is an old-fashioned way of engineering pumps, in order to save on materials-- but I believe that luxury is founded on timeless design traditions like this.

TOP STITCH COMPARISON
(Tamara Mellon Rebel pump at left, competitor shoe at right)

Details are everything. The family-run, generations-old factories that make my shoes in Florence produce about 250 pairs a day-- a far cry from mass production factories that churn out up to 5,000 a day. The time and hand craftsmanship that they put into each pair shows through in the details-- like the clean finish on my Rebel pumps. Most shoes are finished with topstitching, but I’ve always thought that the extra elegance of a smooth seam is worth the extra effort.