The soles of Amélie Pichard’s newest shoe collaboration are covered in glitter — a sort of sparkling sandpaper that somehow manages to not leave a trail of light-reflecting dust in its wearer’s wake. This has much to do with the magic of Amélie Pichard and everything to do with the fact that Pamela Anderson was her co-conspirator.
“We were thinking beach clubs and cobblestone streets,” Anderson said. “Malibu meets St Tropez. Glitter soles because after a night out with my friends, the bottoms of my shoes are covered in glitter.”
The two came together to create a leather-free line that would raise awareness of the ethical treatment of animals. The collection is sold online at OpeningCeremony.com, and all proceeds will go to the PETA-approved Pamela Anderson Foundation.
Below, two exclusive interviews with both Pamela and Amélie.
How did you discover Amélie Pichard?
PA: Not by Instagram, as rumor has it. Ha. A mutual friend and business acquaintance sent me some of her previous catalogues and lines. She had sent me a pair of “Pamela” silver slides, as I like to call them, and used me as inspiration for her other campaigns.
I loved what she was doing, so when she asked me to fund a vegan line, I thought that was a perfect investment in myself as well as in an artist I believe in. And we are getting a great response.
Why did you want to work with this brand?
PA: It’s not as difficult as it used to be to find beautiful vegan shoes, but these are pretty amazing. Amélie is genius.
Which shoes are your favorite?
PA: I just shot the shoe campaign with my best friend and soul mate, David LaChapelle. I love them all. I love the denim. And the candy apple red — I’m in love with the entire collection.
Is there a particular garment or accessory that you believe every woman should have?
If you could sum up the collection in a sentence, what would it be?
PA: Be brave enough to be yourself.
I always wanted to create a perfume called “Man Repeller.” Just a funny coincidence. Maybe Amélie and I should consider it.
Something sensual and cheeky. And of course, organic, vegan…
All the good stuff.
What is it about Pamela that makes her such an icon for you?
AP: She is the modern Woman with a capital w. She is everything: sexy and sophisticated…a mother, a wife, a businesswoman, an activist and a nature lover.
Some might say she is the antithesis of the embodiment of the archetypical French woman, do you agree with this?
AP: Of course, it’s exactly what I love! I love contrasts. I love the effortless, sophisticated side of French women — night and day, and the beach-y, natural side of Californian girls. West coast girls are very contrasting: they are very natural by day, yet very elegantly dressed-up at night.
What was the process working together like?
AP: Natural! I told her to send me multimedia messages of what she loves. I was expecting to receive pictures of some shoes from her wardrobe, but she never sent that. Instead, she sent me a lot of pics of her, especially old ones, some Brigitte Bardot inspirations and some art.
I learned more about who she is, her sense of humor, and I realized that I could play with clichés of Baywatch and juxtapose it with Bardot’s trademark natural style and spirit. We spoke a lot about the vegan materials we could use and she was very excited when I brought in some new technical fabrics that are not only animal free but also sustainable and healthy.
How involved was she in the ideation of the new shoes?
AP: Pamela has a very good eye, and very fine taste in high-end fashion, contemporary art and designer furniture. She didn’t have to ask anyone around her to decide whether she liked or didn’t like the drawings I showed to her after our long conversations and image exchanges. She knows what she wants, and I made a collection for her that she fell in love with instantly.
She immediately understood my drawings, and I guess I was the right person to design this collection with her as I’ve been fascinated by her for a long time, as you know. I can relate to her persona in the 90s and imagine a collection for the contemporary Pamela in 2015. She is different today but very radiant, mature, funny, strong and beautiful.
What part was the most challenging?
AP: Finding innovative and vegan materials that are equally breathable and good for the skin. The shoe making process is not the same with animal-free products, as fabrics or technical materials responds differently than leather. It’s a challenge that I’d like to undertake each season now. A new approach to fashion is possible.
Many designers embrace collaborations, partnering with influencers regularly to create capsule collections or one-off products. What do you think of the new form of commerce?
AP: Collaborations have almost become a standard marketing tool these days, but I only pursue the ones that feel heartfelt with brands that really inspire me and understand my universe. The collaborations I’ve done are quite unusual. I’ve really invested time and energy to find new ways to tell stories with products I’m not familiar with in terms of technique. I love to acquire a know-how and respect the craftsmanship. It’s very important for me. That’s what I stand by in my collaborations and will only do collaborations that I’m passionate about in the future.
With Pamela, it’s not a usual collaboration either: It’s a labor of love. It’s also very logical, considering my obsession for Pamela! In the early days of my brand, I told my friends that I wanted Pamela Anderson to be the first celebrity to wear my brand. Pamela is my inspiration, and she has become my muse. She’s starring in our campaign shot by David LaChapelle.
This collaboration is to close the loop with our love story. And to give way to a new story, the vegan one: I’d like to spread the word to the world that vegan is compassion, compassion is sexy and we can make fashion differently.
To support the vegan movement all proceeds from the line will go to a PETA-approved Pamela Anderson foundation. Collection available online for purchase now at Opening Ceremony. Campaign images shot by David LaChapelle will go live in January.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.