Destination muse : Biarritz the French Basque country


Destination muse : Biarritz the French Basque country

We sat down with the founder and desginer of bul, Virginia Martin about her destination muse for the Winter collection. Unassuming and elegant, her pictures took us to the sea breeze and sand dunes.

Travel is a large part of the label with each collection inspired by a chosen city, country or place, tell us why you chose Biarritz as the current collections destination muse?

Biarritz is a place dear to my heart, with its earthly beauty, enriched historical character and being half French myself i was instantly drawn to the place alongside it’s thriving surf culture and my love to surf. I remember the first time I visited Biarritz in 2016 and instantly feeling the unique energy of French Basque country, where the ocean is forever welcoming and the land rich with story and spirit. Returning again last year sparked that initial joy and played perfect muse to create our next collection from.

With destination selected, tell us how you created a collection based on Biarritz, what aspects did you pull from and how does it reflect throughout the collection?

With a contemporary approach I looked toward coastal palettes, natural fibres, wildflower prints and refined silhouettes to create an honest reflection of this much loved coastal town.

Biarritz is situated within south-western French Basque country, where the wind whips around the cliffs and wide sandy crescents stretch along the coast, so you will see creamy neutrals and woven textures that imitate these unruly landscapes.

Shades of cornflower to sea shadow reflect oceanic swells and hues of red mirror Basque architecture where red is predominantly seen around the area, so much so it is known to the French as rogue basque - Basque Red. We also have a lot of green throughout the footwear and clothing that mirrors the Pyrenees forest, a pine-laden area neighbouring Biarritz.

Natural fabrics of linen, textural cotton and silk reflect the raw landscapes alongside delicate knits and warming woolen blends. I also wanted to tie in a very French aspect to the collection by way of ‘breton-like’ stripes and a statement ‘beret’ accessory.

I hope the collection portrays the simplicity and innate beauty i saw within this delightful seaside town.

What are your top 3 things to do in Biarritz?

  1. Basque Surf - Bordered by cliffs and breathtaking views of the Spanish coast, the ‘côte des Basques’ is the most famous surf beach in the Basque Country.
  2. Cité de l’Océan.; A museum that explores Biarritz’s relationship with the ocean including a virtual reality surf experience.
  3. La Grande Plage: A must-see place as the sun sets with glowing orange and pink hues that bathe the board walk at days end.

As the collection is French inspired, do you have favoured films or music from this area?

I can’t go past anything by Serge Gainsbourg, his voice is trés bon and one of my favourite all time films is ‘Breathless’ which so happens to be French. Being partly French myself i am naturally drawn to every aspect of this place.

Lastly, what is your tip for surviving the cooler months ahead?

Definitely investing in a good quality coat and some light layered items to combat Melbourne’s ever-changing weather. My season staples have been the Normandie skivvy and Avenue Trench, both in warm woollen blends partnered with our latest arrival, the beret which is perfect for those cooler days ahead.


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