We sit down with búl designer Virginia Martin as she explains her inspiration behind AW21 with her personal photography throughout.

Why did you select the Pyrenees as the next seasonal story? 

This AW21 I was inspired to create a collection based off my french heritage by taking musings from the incredibly vast and expansive region of the Pyrenees. I have family situated here and had not visited since I was a child so when met with the unique opportunity to journey back I knew I had to go. The Pyrenees is a multi-faceted region with one arm in France and the other in Spain and was overflowing with inspiration for me. One day you may be hiking deep in the forest, another snowboarding down the snowy mountain tops and the next surfing the wild Basque swells. The quaint villages scattered throughout the region were filled with the most kind and intriguing people. Each part was unique with character from the varied landscapes and architecture to the mix of French and Spanish influence and the incredible people. This collection is close to my heart and my heritage and I hope it reflects the beauty of this region as much as it did to me.

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

Looking towards both France and Spain (as the Pyrenees naturally divide both) you will see stark contrasts throughout. From multi-colour paneling across dresses and layered separates to over-sized knitwear mixed with delicate feminine styles. Outerwear was inspired from hiking the snowy ranges in functional and playful styles with bold heritage checks and voluminous puffers to partner the harsh Pyrenean elements. Colour palettes muse the mixed landscapes where rich sunsets are celebrated in orange, pink and lemonade alongside moody mountain hues and snowy blues to reflect the surrounds of my family’s home. This season an abstract print takes minimal line art from the vast architecture of the region across an array of items including a complimenting silk scarf. Natural fabrications of cotton, tencel, cupro and viscose pay homage to the land alongside merino, alpaca and mohair wool blends that take me back to embracing the Pyrenees winter. Footwear explores new heights featuring a bold knee high boot inspired by those seen combating wet weather and slippery snow throughout my family’s hometown. The Pyrenees held a rich source of inspiration for this collection and was a joy to create; I hope the elements reflected can all re-imagine ourselves in this wonderful region of the world.

What do you enjoy doing while in the Pyrenees?

One of the things I enjoyed most was walking throughout the mountains. Armed with my trekking poles and exploring the land by foot was absolutely incredible. I did want to try snowshoeing; the wooden rackets that strap to your feet, but with the amount of snowfall at that time they were not needed, however would have been fun and are on my list for next time. I also enjoyed exploring around the area and visiting the quaint little villages from their cobblestone streets and fresh market flowers to the hand-written signage and fresh baked bread - it felt like I was truly in a fairytale story. I also enjoyed a lot of french cuisine – baguettes, cheese, croissants, raclette (which i had not tried before), the delicious bûche de noel dessert and plenty of local wine and regional champagne. I also visited my uncle’s friend’s local farmhouse where I got to meet the sheep and select a wheel of cheese, which was an unforgettable experience. Being around my family is by far the highlight of my time in the Pyrenees, they took me on so many wonderful adventures and pastimes from lighting lanterns to be sent up into the universe to dancing to ‘les sardines’ – a traditional family song where you dance like a canned sardine jumping up and down like a pogo stick and bumping into everyone, very funny.

What is your favoured piece of the collection?

Although there are many pieces I would pick the Huesca coat. A lovely warm rust coloured coat named after a Spanish province just south of the central Pyrenees. it features a large oversized collar and cuffs in a contrast brown check print and is perfect for a winter in the Pyrenees…or Melbourne.

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

I am most looking forward to rugging up and getting out and amongst the elements to hopefully explore more of regional Victoria and take in that crisp winter air. I’m also looking forward to getting cosy in front of the fire as the rain falls outside and snuggling up with a good book and a hot cuppa. I would love to go snowboarding again, like the rush of a surfing an ocean wave in summer, that feeling of charging down a mountain is something that never leaves me.

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