Designer, Amélie Pichard, refuses to follow the fashion industry’s rules
Being a fashion designer looks easy on a still square photo, but little do we know about the sweat, tears, exhaustion, and stress that goes behind the magic of making the perfect product – or even the perfect ad campaign.
Gifted with wit and creativity, Paris-based designer, Amélie Pichard, built a name for herself by churning out vintage-inspired handbags and footwear in whimsical textures and motifs.
While most of us know her for that campy #tbt-inspired collaboration with Pamela Anderson (who happens to be Amélie’s childhood idol) three years ago, Amélie has more to offer than a pair of vegan shoes and a celebrity collaborator.
With a new diffusion line under her belt, the Parisienne refuses to conform to the fashion industry by not hosting any sales. Instead, she launched her own version of Depop, where you can buy a pair of secondhand shoes/bags or make a listing for your dream item. Seeing that she marches to the beat of her own drum, Amélie Pichard is the designer who is ready to transform the fashion industry.
We catch up about the paradoxes of making vegan shoes, how she dabbled into modeling (for her campaigns), and the one “Baywatch” blonde bombshell she wants in her own movie.
You started your company as a footwear brand. What made you become a shoe designer?
My love for contrast and hand making. Seeing a man making a very sophisticated shoe makes me fall in love.
Pamela Anderson, Solange, and Brigitte Bardot are your muses. Why do you feel inspired by them?
I love strong women. Powerful women. Women who play with their image. Women who assume who they are.
Although it’s been 3 years since it happened, the Pamela Anderson collab earned so much buzz, as it’s the first time you branched into vegan footwear. What surprised you the most when you first started making vegan shoes? Do you plan on collaborating with her again in the future?
What I keep with me about that incredible collaboration is that making vegan shoes is very, very complicated. Making vegan does not seem making green or eco-friendly. We still miss good and breathable materials.
So, when you make shoes, it’s a big problem. That’s why I continue to make shoes with less leather, just to give the choice to the vegetarian girls. But, I don’t want to be extreme, because it’s not the answer to make our world better.
Since the Pamela Anderson collab, I’ve noticed that you are starting to feature more non-animal based materials like raffia, wicker, jute, wood, and vegan leather for shoes and accessories. Have you encountered any challenges while using these materials?
I have always been into other materials than leather in half of my collections! Making vegan footwear with Pamela was a way to go to the extreme and try if it was possible to make animal-free and eco-friendly shoes, and I’ve seen the limits. I prefer to continue to propose half – it’s more clever (I think).
Your campaigns are always so fun and playful! Rather than hiring a professional model, you often model your own shoes. How does it feel when you model your own products vs when someone else wears them on a campaign?
It was Bertrand Lepluard’s choice to feature me, because it was a very personal collection. It was a period where I was very tired about lot of things, and I started to think a little bit more about me than my job. I’ve always dreamed to be a Cindy Sherman, so it was a first step into that joke!
To be honest, I prefer seeing other girls with my shoes on rather than me. What I have in mind is a new girl each season. That contrast makes me more creative, because there is no limit – and I hate limits.
Your aesthetic is drawn from issues of “Playboy,” vintage clothing, old movies and TV shows. How did you discover vintage pop culture?
I have no idea. I think it’s because I grew up in the 80s, and I am very nostalgic. So, I keep some clichés in my mind. I am more into clichés than vintage, I think.
If you were to make your own movie, which actress and director do you want to work with?
I really want to make a long movie one day. Tom Ford’s life is my target life! For sure I will want David Lynch as the director of my movie and Pamela Anderson as the star.
Apart from movies, you are also passionate about lipstick (which is why I suspect you added the mirrors inside your flap bag!). What does your dream lipstick look like and which shoe/bag would you wear it with?
I use a lot of colors of lipstick, but I always come back to orange/red tones. About shoes – I prefer seeing a girl with red lipstick and nothing else!
Compared to most designers, you decided not to have sales as you feel that it’s killing creativity. What brought you to make that decision?
As I stopped with Fashion Week and the traditional wholesale process, I decided to change my price target. I want to merge into offering a wider price range. Life is too short to not wear Pichard!
Now that you’ve launched a new diffusion line, Pichardises, and a summer collection, what should we look out for this fall?
New bags and shoes, and Pichardises!