People You Should Know: Tamara Mellon.
Tall and striking, deliriously ambitious, once wed into the Mellon banking dynasty, Tamara is here, after lives in London and Manhattan.
She’s spent many youthful seasons in California, her father being Tom Yeardye, stunt double for Rock Hudson.
London-born and a finishing school graduate, Tamara co-founded the Jimmy Choo shoe collection. No longer, however, what with lawsuits and complexities a-plenty, Tamara’s now creating another luxury brand. Supported by the business acumen from Michael Ovitz, with whom she’s engaged and who introduced her to those tech geniuses in Silicon Valley.
Michael Ovitz, for those who cha-cha-cha’d through those upstart decades of the ’80s and ’90s at Tinseltown hootenannies will remember Michael as one of the five pioneers who founded the Creative Artists Agency during the mid-’70s and who became known as superagents. A consultant now with the Silicon Valley hotshots, he’s a major player and advocate in the contemporary art world, amassing a vigorous collection.
His CAA partners, who began their careers in the William Morris Agency’s mail room (as have hundreds of others who’ve become heavyweights), include Ron Meyer, now Mister Universal; and Bill Haber, a loyal Save the Children benefactor, now a wildly successful Mister Broadway, investing in hot-to-trot show after show. Included in the founding quintet were Rowland Perkins and Mike Rosenfeld.
Tamara and Michael are nesting here in his luxe Westside estate. The New York Times reports he remains wed to his beautiful wife Judy, who birthed their three children (daughter Kimberly is a fashion designer).
Tamara reveals that she’s eliminating the “middle mam” with her brand, allowing her shoe collection to be more affordable than Jimmy Choo’s.
Jennifer Meyer, the jewelry designer now divorcing Tobey Maguire and is the daughter of Ron “Mister Universal” Meyer, assesses in The New York Times that “Tamara has an intuitive sense of what women want to wear.”
Ron, by the way, recently renewed his contract with the studio, having green-lighted huge hit after hit. We long remain impressed that Ron never fails to admit he quit high school to join the Merchant Marines – a rare show of honesty in the make-believe of Hollywood then-and-now.
Tamara tells the Times’ Matthew Schneier that she is “lowering prices” for a luxury brand, and “bypassing Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus … the next generation of luxury brands will be built in a very different way, and in the business model I’m doing now.”
“Los Angeles has been mesmerizing designers with a stronger pull lately,” adds Schneier. “Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff and Rachel Comey will each move their usual New York Fashion Week shows here next month. Tom Ford will introduce his new collection here, just as he did in 2005 … Ms. Mellon envisions hers as less a fashion brand than as a tech company, albeit one in stiletto heels.”
Michael marvels at the more than 3,000 pairs of shoes that Tamara’s designed and are in her closet.
She concedes to Michael’s request that shoes not be worn in the house.