we sit down with búl designer virginia martin as she explains her inspiration behind the latest collection - hue
tell us why you chose hue, vietnam as búl’s latest seasonal story?
a train ride straight out of a story-book led me to hue. i had been travelling throughout vietnam, exploring halong bay, caving in tu lan, traversing ho chi minh and hội an before boarding the express train from hanoi to hue - which was all an experience in itself! riding through the night and waking up to hillsides and hidden beaches, the ‘hai van pass’ snaked around rolling hillsides and endless coastlines before leading me into the seasonal destination. upon arrival i immediately felt the steeped history this once imperial capital of vietnam held. hue, pronounced ‘hwey’ is a place untouched by time, with crumbling stone citadel walls where moats, palaces and shrines can still be seen and was a welcomed treat to my ever exploring eye. the colours, the people, the culture, the history – this was a place enriched in all aspects and i knew i had to look toward this charming city and the experiences had here for spring summer twenty.
how do you look to a destination for inspiration and what aspects of hue did you specifically pull from to create the collection?
travel has always been at the forefront of the label; i draw upon personal travelled experiences to create each seasonal story. inspiration is pulled from colour palettes, architectural lines, and natural textures as-well as abstract musings such as the scent of a place or the ambience of the people. with búl being almost a decade old the label has explored many a journey throughout the years from hamburg to hobart, iceland, turkey, biarritz and beyond – each collection feels like a snap-shot of a travelled memory.
for spring summer twenty i looked toward many aspects of hue to pave way throughout the collection. the enchanting ancient citadel mused earthen tones and cooling neutrals bringing a balance to the vibrant pops of marigold, chrysanthemum and cornflower blue reflecting native vietnamese flora and the striking bluebird skies.
subtle details nod toward traditional dress in long-line pieces with multi-tie features, contrast stitching, marbled shell buttons and layered-to-match separates. sheer wave textures reflect the rippling song huong river and a playful watercolour print pulls upon an abstract view of the lotus flower, golden vietnamese sunsets, abundant canals and rolling hills of outer hue.
boat rides along the romantically named ‘perfume river’ dreamt up silhouettes to welcome a cooling summers breeze. natural fibres of linen, cotton and silk encourage a travelled ease taking me back to my time spent in hue where monsoon rains are met with a balmy still heat. each piece has been carefully crafted to reflect a modernised comfort to partner summer travels near or far.
tell us your top things to do when visiting hue?
the immense history this city holds can be felt within each turn, it’s as if travelling back through time. for anyone that visits hue, you cannot go past exploring the historical moat-laden citadel. wandering through palaces, shrines and the ‘forbidden purple city’ where ancient dynasties once lay is felt with a heavy and open heart alongside the long and illustrious history this city holds.
aside from citadel wanderings the bustling dong ba market is a riveting experience, meeting the people of hue and exploring local delicacies such as bánh bèo (water-fern cake) and of course you can’t go past a market-fresh bành mì paired with cà phê dá - traditional iced coffee.
hire a bike and cycle along the ‘perfume river’, explore the outer countryside areas and stop by ‘thien mu pagoda’ (pagoda of the celestial lady), a 7 story unofficial symbol of hue. travel a little further out to discover ‘elephant springs’ a tranquil hot spring were the surrounding rocks resemble playful elephants, here you can relax in the middle of jungle-like surrounds and ease your mind at days end – absolute bliss.
which pieces of the collection are your favoured choices for the warmer weather?
with long hot days on the horizon and summer travels in sight i’m looking forward to the ‘mai blazer’ and ‘cadeo short’ a linen 2-piece suit, perfect for riding my bike into the studio throughout the week and versatile enough to dress up on the weekends. the vibrant ‘huong’ jumpsuits and long-line dresses such as the ‘dinesha’ or ‘gia’ will also be a go-to - i love pieces that you can throw on and get going, with more time spent on the good things in life like road trips and summer bbqs with friends.
lastly, what are you looking forward to this summer?
i look forward to long evenings where the sun stays a little later and the warm melbourne heat engulfs you with a welcomed embrace. spending time out in nature, whether it be morning hikes (beating the mid-day heat) or surfing at dusk where nights are spent on the beach gazing at the stars or by open-fire at my coastal beach house are what i look forward to most. i may have travelled the world, but summers in australia cannot be beat.