Photography: Matt Robinson
We caught up with Paris based shoe designer Amélie Pichard to chat shoes, cats and her idol Pamela Anderson.
When did your passion for shoes start?
I met Madame Germaine, who was running a shoe factory in Belleville and I just fell in love with the place: the materials, the leather, the colours, seeing shoes as an object really appealed to me. I really wanted to learn how to make shoes so I found a shoe maker in Paris who taught me.
I read that you’re often inspired by movies for your collections, what are your favourites?
It’s David Lynch, always. I love that it’s so surreal. My inspiration is not in the reality, but in the dream, the fantasy. David Lynch is perfect for that. There is always something very strange in his movies, it’s a normal scene and then there is a guy who is walking funny or a weird character. That’s what I want to put in my collections – I design shoes to tell a story.
What’s your favourite David Lynch movie?
It’s Wild At Heart. That’s why I called my cats Sailor and Lula.
Before the collaboration with Pamela Anderson, you did collections inspired by her. How did this admiration of Pamela Anderson start?
It started when I was just nine years old, I saw Baywatch on TV with friends. I said, “Wow, this is so cool!” At this age, I thought that I wanted to be like her one day. But when I got older, I said, “OK, I will never be like her”. I love the opposite; I’m not jealous of her, I love who she is because there are two parts of her there, the pin up, the sex symbol, but she is also a mother and nature lover. She plays with her image, it’s what I love about her, and when I met her, I was not disappointed.
It can be tricky to meet your idols…
Exactly, I was nervous. When I went to Malibu to meet her in her house, it was just totally crazy for me. For S/S14, I designed a collection around a hitchhiker, a girl who dreamt of being Pamela Anderson. And then, for S/S15, I designed a pair of shoes named Pamela. They were very nineties, stiletto mules with a pointy toe, in gold. My dream was for her to wear them one day, and that’s what happened. She just saw the shoes at a photoshoot and she said, “I know her! She’s Amelie and this is her Pamela shoe”. She loves the story. When I met her for the first time, she was telling everybody about my collection with the hitchhiker and I realised then that she knew my label very well.
Have you done vegan shoes before? Or was the first time with Pamela?
It was the first time to design 100% vegan shoes. Before, I made shoes with other vegan materials, textiles, cork, other things like that, but it’s the first time totally without leather. It was a big challenge. We used a lot of materials: denim, metal threads, raffia embroidery but I can’t do this sort of collection each season, because one day, I will run out of materials.
What was it like working with Pamela?
The first time we spoke on the phone I told her, “Send me pictures of what you like, what inspires you. I want to learn more about you”. I wanted to know if she had a sense of humour. She sent me a lot of pictures of her children, of her ex-husband, her animals, her life and some artists she loves. But nothing in terms of shoes, it was very funny, she never sent me shoes.
But maybe that’s better…
Exactly, and I prefer that. I always say that sometimes, I don’t want to see a movie, I just prefer to see the poster and imagine something. With Pamela, she was my muse, so I had a lot of pictures before, but I was never inspired by the shoes she wore, more by her personality.
Apart from Pamela, who do you admire and would like to work with?
I would love to design shoes for a David Lynch movie. But he already started shooting Twin Peaks now so I’m too late for that sadly. Perhaps the next one he makes…
Over to your cats, can you tell us about them?
Lula is the girl, she is very small and she is six years old; and Sailor is the guy and is five years old. They are not brother and sister, more like a platonic couple. Lula is a real cat, she does what she wants but she loves company and Sailor is like a dog. You call him and he comes.
Were you always a cat lover?
I’ve always had cats. The only time I didn’t have a cat was when I arrived in Paris and lived in this really small flat. But after that, when my boyfriend and I moved in together, we got a cat straightaway.
What are you excited about at the moment?
I’m planning to open my first shop, we are working on that at the moment. It will not just be a place where you can buy shoes, it will be a concept store, a place where you want to stay, to live, to be comfortable.