We're here to talk Academy Awards. And shoes. And how little sleep the crew at Jimmy Choo in Beverly Hills will get as it prepares fabulous footwear for tonight's Oscar attendees. As manager Luda Grinblat notes: "If you're wearing a one-of-a-kind gown, you don't want to walk into a party that night only to see five other women wearing the same shoes as you."
The required heroics range from simple, on-the-spot shoe advice--picture Liam Neeson scuffing the soles of his new loafers with a fork just hours before last year's Academy Awards ceremony to make sure he wouldn't slip--to tales of triage shoe repair that can make legends of certain cobblers. For example, Choo's designers last year created three pairs of satin closed-toe shoes for Cate Blanchett: one to be auctioned off for charity, one with real diamonds and a similarly styled understudy pair--just in case. The night before the big event, they got the call. Blanchett had tried on her ensemble, and the shoes--ordered and sized by Blanchett's assistant--didn't fit.
Cut to the home of Jacques Zatikian, regarded as something of a god among serious shoe people. "I'm standing at Jacques' house on a Saturday night with a shoe box in my hands, begging him to open the front door," recalls Marilyn Heston, Jimmy Choo's PR gal. Blanchett had chosen a suitable replacement sling-back shoe, but in black. Her John Galliano gown was purple.