At just 28 years old Amélie Pichard launched her eponymous accessories label and with her tongue-in-cheek approach – which sees the best of the ‘90s given a kitsch reboot – she’s one of the most exciting accessory designers to come out of France in a long time. Six years later and the punchy designer made the bold move to open a flagship store in Paris’ oh-so-cool 11th arrondissement. Perfectly pink yet pared back and sleek, she’s managed to stamp her whimsical aesthetic over it with a soft blush bed in the middle of the store for girls to try their shoes on, as if at home. We talk to the self-confessed ‘girl-boss’ about working in a male dominated industry, collaborating with Pamela Anderson, and how her shoes will continue to stomp over the competition.
It was meeting Madame Germaine – Paris’s last female shoemaker – that made you want to start making shoes. How come there are so few women doing what you do, and what attracted you to it?
She had taken over her late husband’s business – we must not forget that it is only relatively recently that women have the right to start their own company. In this industry, everything used to be about know-how and craftsmanship, and 99% of people mounting the shoes are male. The women are just stitching.
What is the main value of the Amélie Pichard brand?
What do you think is your brand’s biggest appeal?
Its strength, communication and products. Nothing is done halfheartedly. I have started making shoes that are a bit more “smart”; it’s a new line that I’m calling “Quotidienne” which means daily, to express the timelessness of the brand.
What do you think it takes for a young fashion designer to stand out in 2018?
No idea, apart from already having a lot of Instagram followers? That’s the hard reality.
Humor is an important part of your brand, what makes you laugh?
Anything but stupidity.
If you could be anyone else who would you be and why?
Before people had the ambition to do something. Today, they want to become someone. I do not want to be anybody else because everyone’s life is different from how it is perceived on the outside. I just want to do things: create all of my own life.
If you could travel back in time, when would you go to and why?
The 70's! I am nostalgic for a time that I did not know. So I suppose it's not called ‘nostalgia’ but there is no word for it, although so many people feel it! The impression that everything was possible, the freedom, and carelessness. Our era is so down to earth and difficult. And the virtual is taking over.
How did you work with Marion Duclos Mailaender to bring the Pichard universe to life in your shop? What is your favorite spot?
In a very natural way. I had a very busy mood board and she came and cleaned it up, whilst adding her sense of humor and her raw simplicity to it. I love every corner of the shop. And, no, I have not slept in the bed yet! But since my friend India Madhavi gave me her iconic rattan armchair, I like the view of the shop from the armchair. It might well be my favourite spot right now.
Are you going to tackle other elements of the woman's wardrobe, now that you’ve dealt with the bags, shoes and pichardises?
I have a much more global desire for the brand. Now I just have to find the right partner to help me have the creative freedom I'm looking for, so that I no longer have to be a girl boss 99% of the time.
You've realised one of your dreams by collaborating with Pamela Anderson on a vegan line of shoes, who else would you like to work with?
No idea! Working with Pamela was a dream come true for me and it made sense. I love to surprise people, and never be where I am expected. I only want to follow my instincts, so we will see where the wind carries me.