sarenza meets, Atelier mercadal, french designers, vintage

Sarenza meets… Inès Olympe from Atelier Mercadal


One girl, one wardrobe… hundreds of shoes.

Ines Olympe

Inès Olympe, founder of the vintage line Atelier Mercadal, opens the door to us wearing a stylish outfit straight out of the 80s; structured, graphic black and white all in one, perfectly accessorised with gold accesories and a show stopping necklace. She has mastered the art of the doe-eyed look, her lips are perfectly red and her snake skin shoes are to die for; Inès looks as if she’s walked straight out of a Vogue shoot – incredible!

After trying to hide our obvious admiration for this beautiful woman, Sarenza settles down to ask her a few questions…

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Sarenza: Heels or flats?

Inès Olympe: Heels – I think that’s pretty obvious! For running around all day, 7cm is perfectly reasonable, for the evenings I prefer 10 or 12cm. I do actually have a nice collection of trainers too, I’m pretty sporty (Sponge-Bob Pumas, florescent yellow running shoes and limited edition Reeboks to name a few).

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Sarenza: When did it all start with shoes?

Inès Olympe: When it comes to shoes and me, it was always meant to be! From an early age I loved shoes. My parents had already created the brand and I used to go to their factory in Belleville (in the West of Paris) on Wednesdays, and created shoes out of cardboard for Mother’s day. I was already obsessed!

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Sarenza: Tell us about your style and what inspires you

Inès Olympe: I grew up in the 80′s so when I used to dress up and pretend, it was mostly with my mother’s wardrobe; shoulder pads, jewellery, bright colours… I love the women in Prince’s Diamonds & Pearls and the colourful heroines in Almodovar’s films. They’re incredible and so charismatic; beautifully made-up, dripping with accessories. There wasn’t this sense of ‘less is more’ back then.

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Sarenza: What inspired your ‘Vintage’ collection

Inès Olympe: I wanted to design for the family company Atelier Mercadal but to be independent hence my signature on the ‘Vintage’ collection. I started off with an existing pair, the ‘Elena’, then made them a little more robust, the heel more solid and played with colours and prints.

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Sarenza: What will be your next purchase this season?

Inès Olympe: I’m a collector, so it will almost certainly be more of the same, just in different colours! I’ll go for another pair of ‘Elena’ shoes as they go so well with my wardrobe, especially some of my more excentric outfits, with a 70s vibe, greens (my favourite colour), reds, yellows, snake print, gold…

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Sarenza: Do you have any shoes that you’ve never worn?

Inès Olympe: Never! Although I do have pairs that I no longer wear. I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to fashion; I wear a certain shoe all the time and then I change. However, I keep everything in a personal archive, because they all have a great emotional value for me. Besides, I’m sure I’ll rediscover them again one day.

After following an interesting career path (Inès studied litterature at university and has dabbled in journalism and painting), Inès is a style chameleon set for a bright future. Despite being an ‘inattentive student’ as she describes herself, she has just signed a collection of tights for French brand Le Bourget and is in the process of designing a range of glasses with Emmanuelle Khanh (a French stylist). She really does do everything, she even sings (she has a musical project in the pipeline!)

In the meantime, at least we can steal her shoestyle!

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