Captain Couturier

The atelier of Captain Couturier sits by the ocean, in Guéthary, and while the coastline sees an increasing amount of touristic endeavour, Basque culture remains influential on its Brazilian and Portuguese speaking designer, Carolina Franzoi Soares. The bespoke slow fashion label also offers locals apprenticeships, providing an insight into her moulage sewing technique.

Using only natural, recycled or upcycled materials, Captain Couturier is defined by a thoughtful approach, conscious to avoid generating waste material and keen to promote artisanal work. Each item is said to be infused with ‘timeless freshness’ which somehow makes sense, established relatively recently, in 2018, its difficult to assign the clothes, shoes – handmade in Portugal – to a particular era.

Soares is often photographed in her own creations, moving fluidly in front of the camera with a carefree spirit, it’s no wonder she mentions the elements – particularly water – when we look at her latest work and discuss her seasonal habits.1

How do you spend New Year’s day?

This year I was in a calm environment, cooking good food in the fire and having wine, being thankful for a another year, just being as close as possible with nature. Simple and essential things, they make me feel alive and awake.

What else keeps you feeling alive and fresh during the darker months? 

There is something mysterious in the winter light I love, I think it is a special moment for taking care of ourselves and things in a special sense of time. Cold swim in the ocean or in a river is a powerful thing that always makes me feel fresh. Water has been always a door for me into fresh ideas. I have the impression [that] water has the physical and mental power of transformation into a more-centred state of mind, as well as fire. I really love the peaceful aspect of the winter, a time for introspection, for reading books, watching a nice movie at the cinema, having a hot soupe, or just a time for watching the fire.

What are you reminded of while being in nature? 

Time in nature is a queen, I learned for sure the most beautiful things just by looking at a waterfall for hours. The silence in nature has a lot to teach us about respect and freedom, just by contemplating it, especially nowadays in contrast with the digital world increasing exponentially. Nature for me is like a gate for a new me, for opening heart and absorbing thoughts in our higher level of spirituality. Nature on a micro and macro scale shows us the balance we need.

1.Aulestia, G. (1982). Poetry and Politics: Basque Poetry as an Instrument of National Revival (Part II). World Literature Today, 56(3), 457–461.

Words by Reeme Idris

Photographers Natali Blanco / Filippa EdghillHans van Wijk /

Atelier Captain Couturier