One of the greatest joys I get out of creating the 49 Square Miles brand is the creative process which invites inspiration from a multitude of sources. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in the country home of Kathryn Ireland, one of the most creative and influential interior designers of our time. La Castellane, the rustic farmhouse where she has spent her summers for the past twenty plus years is located less than an hour from Toulouse, in a small town called Verlhac-Tescou. It’s difficult to find words to describe the pastoral elegance of the setting, perched on a hillside with uninterrupted views of the green fields where horses lazily graze. With Mia Lillingston as our in-house chef and an ample wine collection, it was tough to leave the property, although day trips to the Antique Market in Bordeaux and a tour through the Saint Emillion wine region beckoned.
Each of the small villages we visited had their own unique history. Najac was settled in the Middle Ages complete with its own hilltop castle and a great bistro for lunch among the rows of storybook cottages. I’m fortunate to have good friends, some of whom I’ve known since childhood, who enjoy similar trips where spending time together enjoying good food and wine between fits of laughter define them. My girlfriends proudly wear their personal favorite 49 Square Miles bags, and they spend the week providing feedback that will inform the next seasons’ designs. I leave this paradise and head home with renewed inspiration for what’s to come. And who knows, perhaps a French market tote will find its way into the line.