Introducing Mercedes Castillo



We are thrilled to welcome the very first season of Mercedes Castillo shoes to our shelves. Mercedes' experience in the industry, coupled with her passion for art and design, has yielded a gorgeous debut collection. We chatted with Mercedes to learn more about her and how her namesake brand came together. 


Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you arrived here, launching your own line?


I was born and grew up in Spain, where I did some of my fashion studies. After that I moved to Milan where I continued studying under Italian master designers from the Memphis and Alchimia design movements. I’ve always worked in fashion, first in Milan for Gianfranco Ferré when he was leading Christian Dior, then in New York with Donna Karan and Tory Burch in between others. For years, Vince Camuto and I had been talking about starting a brand together. We had met and joined forces to launch Tory Burch shoes, where I was the Creative Director for Accessories. Once I left Tory, we moved very quickly in this direction. I had the luxury of taking some time to reconnect with who the costumer is today, who would wear our shoes, accessories and RTW. There are so many brands already, but I think there are always opportunities to create something that is unique and relevant.


Color, especially in this premiere collection, seems to be essential. How does your design process take shape? Do you have some idea of a palette before you begin considering shapes or forms? Or do colors come later?


Our brand is confident and optimistic. Color, especially unique shades of color, are vital in the collections. We start the collection with a theme, inspiration boards, a video or slide show. This is usually very imaginative (like a movie or a dream). The theme informs the shapes and color palette, which are designed and developed at the same time. We often approach color by working in monochromatic pieces where everything is tonal. 


The Mercedes Castillo woman is:


Confident, Optimistic, Magnetic, and most of all, engaged with her own creativity.



Scrolling through your Instagram, you reference artists working across mediums with an emphasis on sculptors and architects — does their work serve as a primary source of inspiration? Who are the artists who have been most important to you? Where else do you find inspiration? 


Mid-century architecture and geometric abstraction are very close to my heart, although I pay attention to all art forms and movements. Modernism provides a particularly important reference for the Mercedes Castillo brand. We like the idea of monochromatic pieces where everything is tonal. I love Ellsworth Kelly's use of bold color, Donald Judd's clean geometry, Niemeyer architectural form and Max Bill sculptures. Museums, travels and nature (especially flowers) are often sources of inspiration as well.


How do you spend your days off?


I live in New York, and my family is all over the world. When I am not working I may be traveling to visit them in Spain, South Africa, Hong Kong, or London, we generally spend summer vacation in Mallorca. My husband and I love exploring cities, finding inspiration, and seeing friends. Sometimes our favorite thing to do is simply staying at home in New York, but that’s quite rare, actually. There is always so much to do and enjoy in the city.


All the restaurants in NYC are going to close, and you can lobby to save just one, but you have to eat there every night for a year. Which spot do you choose to save?


Kappo Masa is always special!




A favorite pair of shoes from this collection?


Every pair is a favorite! I especially love the Riza, Odalia and Katalin’s sculptural elements.


Who are your role models?


I am inspired by where women are going today. They are engaged with their own creativity, powered by their individuality. That is why the brand is about creativity and self-expression.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?


"Find your passion." This is what Vince always used to say.



Shop Mercedes Castillo  



March 14, 2017 by Will Frazier

giving back

We believe that giving feels better than receiving.

We believe that our success is dependent on a strong and vibrant Charlottesville-Albemarle community, which we’ve been proud to call home for almost 23 years.

Many hardworking non-profits sustain and better this community. As the holidays offer a time to reflect on our gratitude, we’d like to offer our support to five organizations that speak to us for the populations and initiatives they serve.

During the month of December, we will match your donation to one of the following:

Charlottesville Pride
Legal Aid Justice Center
Light House Studio
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
Southern Environmental Law Center

In your in-store transaction(s) at Scarpa through the end of the month, you’ll have the option to donate $5 or $10 to one of the above groups, and we’ll match the gift.*

Merry Merry and Happy Happy
Team Scarpa


*Your donation can be captured via credit card or check at our register. We will match up to $10 per transaction. Donations may remain anonymous.



December 01, 2016 by Amy Gardner

what to make with leftovers : turkey edition

around this time last year, we shared our wildly popular thanksgiving side dishes. this year we've returned with another round of cooking recommendations but with a slight twist. what does team scarpa make with thanksgiving leftovers? when you find yourself exhausted from cooking (not to mention immobile from eating) but with a surplus of turkey, here are some no-fuss solutions. click any recipe card to enlarge. 


Amanda says, "My maternal grandmother, Jean Busch, used to make this all the time. It is kind of a two man job. I swear it's worth the work! It's old school and calls for lots of salt and butter. I don't think you need the second teaspoon of salt but don't hold back on the butter. It's supposed to be sinful. Can be frozen ahead, thawed, heated. My sweet grandmother also noted on the recipe that it goes very well with a fruit salad. Serves 12. Bam!"

Capi says, "All southerners like a casserole. I usually riff on a Paula Deen recipe. Easy and yummy!"

Amy says her kitchen sink sandwich is, "best to eat alone so no one sees you making a mess. If you must eat such a messy sandwich with someone present then they may not be the judging type. Afterwards, take a nap."

Will says, "My mom makes this salad in the summer, though I could see it being a refreshing lunch option the day after the heavy warmth of a Thanksgiving dinner. This is the Greenbriar's Black Bean and Turkey Salad recipe, as reprinted in a 1990 issue of Gourmet Magazine's column 'Asked for It,' where readers could write in to ask for recipes of dishes they'd had at restaurants. This is a modified version that doesn't call for blanching the vegetables, so everything stays crisp and fresh. The dressing is delicious." 



November 23, 2016 by Will Frazier

staying nourished during market week : a guide

with back-to-back appointments all over and across town (the "towns" in this case being new york and paris) weeks at market are as exhilarating as they are hectic. 

we always find time to eat well (and hydrate) throughout the chaos. below, find some of our recent discoveries and old favorites. 

new york


346 w 52nd st
check out this spot in midtown for modern korean fare. after only a year in business, they received a michelin star. and it's well deserved. 

the nomad bar

10 w 28th st
this bar downtown is worth a visit for the ambience. we also had a memorable hotdog that had us all saying ‘hell, yeah!’ oh, and the cocktails do not suck one single bit. 

bowery meat company

9 e 1st st
we stumbled on this delicious steakhouse during a recent trip. get the meatballs! and a manhattan, of course. 

two hands

164 mott st
stop by this australian establishment for a healthy, tasty lunch. they also have a great coffee/tea menu to take to go. 

miss lily's 

132 w hudson st

it's hard not to love everything about miss lily's — delicious, flavorful food and refreshing drinks in an upbeat setting. jerk corn is a must try.


employees only

510 hudson st
a fitting spot to enjoy drinks with coworkers. their seasonal house cocktails are superb, and they make a mean manhattan. 

bar bolonat

611 hudson st

an intimate west village restaurant serving up modern takes on Israeli cuisine. start by nibbling on their delectable fried olives and get lost in the deliciousness from there. 


press lounge

kimpton ink48 hotel, 653 11th ave

for a drink with a stunning view of the city, check out the rooftop bar at the kimpton ink48 hotel. 



marche des enfants rouges

9 rue de beauce

this unassuming spot in the marais is actually paris's oldest covered market and dates to 1615. in its current iteration, it's part market / part food stalls. don't miss the japanese bento boxes. 


34 rue de richelieu
if your level of french doesn't move quite beyond "oui," it'll be easy to say "yes, please," at ellsworth, a discretely anglophone spot for fabulous small plates. get the fried chicken. seriously. 

le mary celeste

1 rue commines

le mary celeste has become a scarpa favorite for a drink or food or both. actually, even if you're only there for a drink, you still have to order their oeuf de diable (deviled eggs, as it were). forget everything you thought a deviled egg should be. they are simply beyond.

little red door

60 rue charlot

though most would consider this bar more of a late night spot, the great thing about going to a nightclub early is that you have the place to yourself and you can really enjoy what you're guaranteed — a fabulous cocktail and a cute waiter. their menu is also particularly inventive: a book with pull-out tabs instructs you to choose which image matches your mood. you then reveal the corresponding cocktail. quelle romantique. 

la pulperia

11 rue richard lenoir

if you've read this far, you've probably realized we're partial to a good steak.  this cozy argentinian restaurant with a relaxed, neighborhood vibe has plenty to offer in the beef department, as well as more franco-inspired dishes, such as an exceptional foie gras.  

November 11, 2016 by Will Frazier

market report : paris

During last month’s market trips, autumn’s mild start made it easy to imagine spring clothing and shoes in their corresponding season. Paris was no exception. Temperate weather highlighted the inherent freshness across collections.

We began Friday evening nestled in the Marais with Cretan jewelry designer Katerina Makriyianni, whose bright and inventive pieces beautifully rework one of our favorite accessory tropes — statement earrings — into styles that were familiar and desirable yet entirely new.

Saturday was a full day that began at the Paris outpost of New York-based Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s showroom where we saw lovely offerings from her eponymous line. A red linen top with casually knotted sleeves and matching skirt were effortless standouts. Coveted knits from Lauren Manoogian were sublime as ever. 

We spent midday at two of Tranoi’s three trade shows. After finishing up at Cite de la Mode et du Design, we opted for Tranoi's alternative mode of transportation — by boat — to their second location at the Louvre. As we made our way down the Seine, the overcast day began to clear, casting the grey Paris skyline into blue relief. We all agreed that the ride had a calming effect between the bustle of the shows. 


Sofie D'Hoore's sculptural twill separates and dresses didn't disappoint. A light navy jacket was darling — with a ruffled panel down one side of the front placket. When this detail was revealed to be detachable with the option to reattach it as a collar, adding a bit of drama to an elegant look, we were sold. 

We ended Saturday at the fragrant and seductive Hôtel Costes, though we weren’t there to satisfy our senses with their custom candles or with a sampling from their buzzing café scene. We were there for another indulgence, though no less opulent than the setting: the shoes of Jean-Michel Cazabat. One pair in particular could very well qualify as an objet d'art. 

By Monday, fall made its first noticeable gesture: the air was brisk, and the morning was bright but in that autumnal way where the shadows seem long well before noon.

We headed west to the 8th arrondissement early enough so that one wouldn't know the Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triomphe were just a few streets over, awaiting the oncoming hum of tourists. We arrived at the expansive showroom of Malone Souliers where neon, amorphous blocks held the London-based line's chaussures and offered whimsical contrast to the prim room's golden wallpaper and wood panels. The shoes were exceptional, as expected, and we enjoyed meeting and chatting with co-founder of the line Roy Luwolt.

We worked our way back east, and along the way, we had our sneaker and shirt fixes at Golden Goose and Fabiana Pigna, respectively. 

We concluded Monday and our entire trip at the newly completed Jerome Dreyfuss showroom. The space is discreet and serene. Abounding flora spills in from an interior courtyard, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. It's a perfect backdrop for the line’s conversational accessories, though one could also imagine the space as the ideal Parisian apartment. We chatted with Jerome, who is funny, charming, and deeply committed to the ethos of running a small, independent company. As champagne and a platter of sushi were brought out, we were ready to move in.

If you're wondering how I got this far writing about Paris and only mentioned food once at the end, you've just discovered what our second spring market report will entail — restaurant recommendations!  From both our New York and Paris trips. Stay tuned. 


October 11, 2016 by Will Frazier