It is hard to image a more breathtaking retreat for The Linen Works' team. Last summer, we moved our HQ to a beautiful villa in Luberon; but before our inescapable return to London, this idyllic setting provided us with the perfect backdrop for our new early summer 2017 collection.
Day 1: Landscape
One of the many joys of Provence is the constant stream of satisfaction to the senses. A delicate yet clear light illuminates the extraordinary contrast of nature. The balmy air is softer and scented with wild rosemary that’s complemented by the sweet, deep aroma of lavender. As for taste, Provence is inimitable; fig trees burst with succulent fruit perfectly ripened under the sun and are savoured with the freshest of rosé wines - all amid the sounds of cicadas. It’s no wonder that we are overwhelmed with joy to be spending this week in such a garden of earthly delights.
For those who are unfamiliar, Provence is not just simply a geographical area but, more importantly, a state of mind; it’s a place where one can escape from grey routine into another gayer, brighter world. For it’s the case that each of us, at some point, needs to elude to where days are warm and long, and where many of life’s small pleasures can be enjoyed in abundance.
Our stone house with wooden shutters at the windows, heavy rustic beams and textured, limewash walls has many little hidden terraces, each shaded by fig trees and surrounded by pretty terracotta pots. Our closest neighbours are the medieval village of Bonnieux just five minutes’ drive away - a place redolent of the delights of a simple summer life.
Day 4: Eat
We have now been at The Linen Works’ week-long headquarters in the South of France for four days, and each of us has found our own favourite balconies and courtyards to work our days. Shaded little spots with a warm, soft breeze passing through where peace is only disturbed by the offer of yet another cup of flavoursome tea - some things will never change!
Our kitchen window looks south across sunkissed vineyards towards the ruined town of Gordes, a medieval village with white and grey stone houses that cling tightly to the base of cliffs.
We visited Gordes yesterday, when a late afternoon never felt quite so endearing, to gather fresh ingredients for recipes.
It seems local shops in countryside Provence are filled with distinctive ingredients: wild mushrooms, garlic, ‘Pistol’ basil sauce and baskets brimming with fresh figs that collectively make the food from this part of France so memorable. Looking through recipe books, the use of olive oil instead of jugs of buttery cream is certainly noticeable when compared with other regions of France, as is the emphasis on vegetables instead of meat.
It is now early evening and once again we sit admiring the views from our veranda to be wakened only by the crack-crack of a competitive game of pétanque.
Day 6: Sartorial Thoughts
When summer finally arrives – or you’ve found yourself transplanted onto sunny shores – the one guarantee is that your wardrobe will start to crave a little linen.
The promise of warmer weather always entices me to slip into cool, light linen. Of course, I have a long passion for French-style and so simple, pared-down linen pieces were the golden rule when packing my suitcase for this week in Provence. It was all about the timeless, well-cut, and classic looks.
Despite its reputation for creasing fast, linen is a summer staple for good reason. The subtly thicker weave means it looks more polished than basic cotton and has an easy-chic style that makes you look effortlessly put together.