Tamara Mellon co-founder of Jimmy Choo
Tamara Mellon will leave Jimmy Choo after co-founding the footwear brand in 1996. Reuters

Jimmy Choo chief creative officer Tamara Mellon has stepped down from the luxury shoe brand she co-founded in 1996.

Her abrupt departure comes after the brand was acquired for £500m by European luxury goods group Labelux in May.

Current chief executive, Joshua Schulman, will also leave the company early next year.

Labelux, which owns the Swiss bag label Bally and fashion brand Derek Lam, bought Jimmy Choo from private equity firm TowerBrook, who in turn acquired the company in 2007 for £185m and fostered the brand's expansion overseas.

Jimmy Choo has been sold four times since Ms Mellon co-founded the label with the Malaysian-born shoemaker.

While working as accessories editor at Vogue magazine Ms Mellon met Mr Choo, a cobbler from east London, who used to create handmade women's shoes at the rate of 20 pairs per week.

In 1996 she helped co-found Jimmy Choo with a £150,000 load from her father Tommy Yeardye, who is renowned for co-founding the Vidal Sassoon hair products group.

Since then, Jimmy Choo's popularity has soared and grown to become a global high-end fashion brand and is worn by a host of celebrities including Beyonce, Victoria Beckham and Kiera Knightley.

Ms Mellon is considered one of Britain's most successful female entrepreneurs and was recently granted the title of Businesswoman of the Year at the 2011 Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards.

Sandra Choi and Simon Holloway will continue as creative directors at Jimmy Choo, although Mr Schulman is expected to be replaced following his departure next year.

Mr Schulman said after nearly "five incredible years" he has decided to move on from Jimmy Choo. "I am enormously proud to have led this exceptional team, together with Tamara, as we have transformed the company into a world class luxury brand across product categories, channels and geographies. I am confident that with Labelux's support, the team will achieve great success in the next phase of development."

Chief executive of Labelux, Reinhard Mieck, said Jimmy Choo is an outstanding brand with enormous growth potential and the ability to deliver material growth synergies across the group. "With a successful transition behind them, we respect their wish to move on to other challenges," he said.