Paula Martini’s famous clothing line, timeless and effortlessly chic, tell a story – one of sea, sand and steady wind.
Noble yarns, impeccable craftsmanship, a strong personal aesthetic and the charm of José Ignacio are all woven with care into each piece.
Where We Are
The setting is the fishing village of José Ignacio, where Paula arrived over 20 years ago and where her love for knitting began. Located on a peninsula in south-eastern Uruguay, José Ignacio, formerly a sleepy nook by the sea, has morphed over the years into one of the preferred international hotspots during the South American summer season.
Inspired by the great Uruguayan tradition of the handmade, along with elegant simplicity of her natural surroundings on the ocean, Paula’s all-season designs are a unique brand, in which each piece is crafted from a select choice of yarns sourced from across Latin America and and dyed by hand in her own atelier. Day-to-night, beach-to-cocktail these are garments that play with shape and volume in a wide variety of stiches and textures. They are pieces to be cherished and kept, always outliving seasonal trends.
After studying art in Buenos Aires, fashion at New York’s Parsons School of Design, and Dyeing Techniques at Central Saint Martin´s in London, Paula Martini settled in the then decidedly uncosmopolitan fishing village of José Ignacio, Uruguay. Together with her husband, Martín Pittaluga, they opened Bajo el Alma, a restaurant & shop that soon became synonymous with José Ignacio and sparked the town’s metamorphosis, fully capturing its essence: one which combined the highest quality, whether it was beautiful food or silk and sweaters, without sacrificing a certain home-made charm.
It was in Bajo el Alma that Paula showcased her initial production of hand knit sweaters along with silk, cotton and linen camisoles for summer, all of which she hand dyed herself.
Paula’s signature clothing design is intimately entwined with the José Ignacio way of life. For years, the actual garment production was synched with the village’s seasonal rhythms. Autumn was the time for sketching ideas, Winter for knitting, Spring for dyeing and Summer for releasing them to her loyal and eager buyers. Paula’s favorite stage was Spring when, being the true artist that she is, she tirelessly experimented with dyes, textures and trimmings, breathing inimitable life into each piece.
Because of Paula´s high standard of craftsmanship -- and, of course, through the intimacy of the artisans own labors in executing her designs -- these garments carry within them the sense of having been touched, enhancing the feeling of comfort and warmth in each. The pieces speak of the appreciation of patience and they become emotional clothing. Handmade was a genuine choice for Paula, an obvious extension of her natural surroundings, but it was also a way of preserving a craft that has always been practiced by women in the area and that is not much embraced by younger generations.