Jimmy Choo aims to be first luxury shoemaker with an IPO

Jimmy Choo has come a long way since becoming a cultural touchstone on HBO's "Sex and the City."

The luxury footwear brand has grown into a global shoe empire since its first store opened in 1996. Now it's taking the high-end business to another type of well-heeled customer: Investors. The company said it will sell shares in an initial stock offering in London, selling at least 25 percent of the business in an IPO.

The brand was introduced to millions of American viewers in the late 1990s through "Sex and the City" character Carrie Bradshaw, who stocked her closet with Jimmy Choos and other expensive shoes. The planned initial stock offering, which The New York Times notes could value the company at $1.1 billion, comes at a time when luxury brands are witnessing strong growth and demand, thanks to the burgeoning wealth of the world's top earners.

Jimmy Choo shoes aren't for the hoi polloi: A pair of fairly plain navy suede pumps will set you back $625, while its handbags carry prices upwards of $4,000.

The company has boosted its sales by more than 17 percent over the past 12 months, and it indicated it believes it has more room to grow, disclosing plans to open between 10 to 15 stores per year.

"The Board is committed to this business, excited about its prospects and very confident that shareholders can expect strong growth and cash flow in the years to come," Peter Harf, non-executive chairman of Jimmy Choo, said in a statement.

Becoming a public company "can only extend our reputation and position in this attractive sector," Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis said in the same statement.

Jimmy Choo Ltd. was started by shoemaker Jimmy Choo when he joined with Vogue accessories editor Tamara Mellon to open a London store in 1996. In 1998, the brand opened a store in New York City, leading to being featured in 2006's "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Sex in the City."

The company has changed ownership a few times, but is now owned by private investment firm JAB Luxury, whose other brands include Bally and Belstaff.