Read how búl designer Virginia Martin was inspired for AW20 to create a collection from her travels in and around Queenstown, New Zealand.


Why did you select Queenstown, NZ as the next seasonal story?

I’ve always dreamed of travelling to Queenstown to be amongst the dramatic landscape and experience the beauty of New Zealand’s South Island, so in August 2018 I booked a snowboarding trip to take full advantage of ‘the adventure capital’ and all it had to offer. Flying direct from my hometown of Melbourne, Australia, into Queenstown was incredible. Heading over the Southern Alps where the snowy peaks seem to go on forever and coming into land where the mountains feel like they are closing in on you was an experience in itself. Upon arrival I was completely awe struck. Stepping out of the plane, directly onto the tarmac, you are met with a hit of glacial air and the landscape completely surrounds you. Queenstown is an incredible place; a small town that over-flows with culture, lively locals and adventure at every turn. From snowboarding at Cardrona to experiencing the native flora and fauna (especially those cheeky Keas), relaxing at the Onsen hot pools, dipping my toes into freezing Lake Wakatipu and the magical evenings where stars blanket the sky. Queenstown left me completely inspired and I knew I had to create a collection based upon this charming New Zealand town.


What aspects of Queenstown did you specifically pull from to create the collection?

It’s hard to ignore the towering mountain ranges that surround Queenstown, so it was a given they took centre stage to a large part of the collection. Cardrona, Coronet, The Remarkables and Treble Cone mountains as well as neighbouring areas of the Otago region featured jagged, rugged textures, folding valleys and grounding hues that inspired sculptural and voluminous silhouettes, thoughtful pleating and earthen palettes. Mornings of snowfall outside the Sherwood (an eco lodge I stayed at) inspired polka dot prints and natural fabrications alongside heritage checks that mimic plaid blankets and a seasonal print plays homage to Queenstowns juxtaposed landscapes of ski fields, mountain ranges, fields of wildflowers and cascading seas of snowy pines.



What were the highlights of your travels to Queenstown?

Snowboarding Cardrona and exploring off trail runs that led to the softest untouched powder. Staying at the Sherwood, as mentioned above, a socially conscious lodge that utilises low impact materials, solar energy, zero waste initiatives, an on-site vegetable garden and the most wonderful restaurant full of local wine and cuisine. Meeting up with my good friends Dad, an ex All Black, at Cardrona hotel, such a historic and charming place. Driving up to Wanaka, viewing the famous ‘Wanaka Tree’ that reflects onto glass-like waters and enjoying many a meal on a floating bar atop Lake Wakatipu with a Queenstown famous ‘Ferg Burger’. Overall, waking each day to the breath-taking landscape is truly something that needs to be experienced - It has a calming presence and as you leave, pulls on the heartstrings - I can’t wait to return.



Which pieces of the collection are your favoured choices for the cooling weather?

Layering and function is key, I ride my bike to the studio each day and need pieces that move with me but also keep me warm so the varied knitwear and outerwear this season will be perfect for this. Lilac is a new shade we are exploring inspired by the fields of wild Lupins I saw throughout Queenstown, it features across the Ampezzo top and Corvarro skirt in an elegant sheer georgette silk which will be handy for gallery excursions or fashion week. We have refined our suiting from summers current relaxed linen styles to a more structured cotton blend for the winter with the Wrest jacket and matching Fassa pant. One set comes in a lovely petrol check and when paired with the patent blue Lago boot will make for quite the statement.


Lastly, what are you looking forward to this autumn/winter?

Autumn/winter in Melbourne can be quite chilling; we get long hot summers and crisp cool winters. It doesn’t rain too much so you can still get out and about and i’m looking forward to weekend hikes with friends where we can pitch a tent and be surrounded by the native Australian bushland. I love to surf, but surfing in the cooler months is quite a challenge, which is where snowboarding comes into play. The feeling for me is so similar from riding a wave to boarding a mountain so I hope to get to some of the local mountains in greater Victoria and NSW - perhaps Queenstown will be calling my name again? We will have to wait and see.