“Early morning, with the mist clinging to the mountain like a blanket and the sun rising over it, is one of the most beautiful times on Eenuurkop farm,” says Tersia Purén, owner of the Swellendam property whose rolling hills and majestic Langeberg mountain backdrop were the setting for our Winter 2021 fashion campaign. Models Kim, Una and Macs roam freely in an outdoor escape that lockdowns have denied us. They charge down grassy hills and stand stoic in a setting that’s alpine in scale. It’s this idyllic charm, arresting in its universal beauty, that our creative director, Johan van der Merwe, imagined when connecting with the farm on his first visit. “I had it clear in my mind what I wanted the images to look like,” he says of the campaign, which celebrates a collection rich in romantic silhouettes – cosy knitwear, nesting jackets and billowing dresses.
Of course none of this would have been as easy to achieve without Tersia’s invaluable knowledge of the land and her behind-the-scenes help on our shoot day. For over 40 years, Eenuurkop has coursed through Tersia’s veins. It was the start of the 1980s when she and her husband Jeremy, a builder from the area, first visited the farm, for sale at the time. The property, along with a neighbouring farm, was once a single cattle and sheep farm, owned by a family who’s sons inherited the land and later subdivided and sold their halves. “It was a proper winter’s day,” she recalls of their visit, “and with gumboots on and our baby in tow, we explored what the land had to offer. The buildings were in ruin and the land overrun by an invasive black wattle forest.” But in place of disrepair the young couple saw opportunity, a lifestyle for themselves and their three sons that wouldn’t be attainable living in a town. Jeremy’s trade and Tersia’s passion for gardening meant that what they surveyed was rose-tinted with the possibility of improvement, and the chance to create something from nothing.
It was a staggering 13 years before the Puréns officially moved to the farm. In this time, the couple’s romantic vision slowly came to life. As an avid tree enthusiast, Jeremy and his team set about cutting down the invasive forests – they laugh now at the ten chainsaws that were destroyed in the process. Suddenly sunlight bathed those indigenous trees previously in the shadows of the black wattle, allowing them to thrive.
Today there are three forests (the largest against the property’s mountain perimeter) comprising yellowwood, beech, wild peach and almond trees. The farm’s periphery is marked by pin oaks. “I try plant 100 trees annually, deciduous because evergreens cannot survive our berg winds,” Jeremy explains. In these early years, marked by weekend-long visits, the family restored the storage shed and built a small apartment above it for their stays. It was only after the fixing up of various utility buildings – Eenuurkop is a working farm rearing Bonsmara cattle – that the Puréns’ attention then turned to the loving restoration of the homestead.
Tersia’s love of gardening and flair for landscaping, inherited from her father, are most noticeable around the homestead. The endless play of changing light and the soothing sound of birdsong flood her garden, one rich in indigenous texture. “Autumn is definitely one of the prettiest seasons at Eenuurkop,” she says, “All the different trees with their leaves coloured in beautiful reds, oranges, browns, greens and amber – it makes a wonderful picture.” Wanting to share this beauty with family and friends, the couple took the decision to convert worker houses into accommodation. Today, three self-catering cottages brimming with country charm are available to guests for rustic weekends. “The farm and cottages open onto the mountain, and the views – with the changing seasons of the year – are framed like an ever-changing oil painting,” says Tersia.
The Puréns’ passion for the great outdoors is one we can relate to in our altered world. We yearn for vast open spaces, for a sense of connectedness – with others, and with the earth. Johan saw in Eenuurkop a limitlessness of space that allows for reflection and introspection.
“Tersia was as invested in the success of our shoot as any one of us,” Johan reflects. “Without being chaperoned by her on the day, driving models and crew on the back of a bakkie, up one hill and down another, I do not think that we would’ve had the same outcome.”
Written by Martin Jacobs
Our winter collection is an on-trend and inspired combination of craft and texture. Whimsy and practicality meet in interest knitwear, textured coats and jackets, as well as crisp cotton items. Unconventional prints are showcased in easy silhouettes, while vintage florals and quilting adds a touch of romance to a countryside feel.
To book a stay at Eenuurkop farm, visit www.eenuurkop.co.za.