a summer exhibition


SEAME by Nienke Hoogvliet_photo by Femke Poort


Celebrating its inaugural edition, Influences: Biennale du Textile Contemporain has invited curators Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano to create a thought-provoking exhibition about new sustainable materials. Oloron Sainte-Marie is located in Haut-Béarn, an idyllic Pyrenees region with a profound textile heritage – home to authentic berets and espadrilles, the most quintessentially French of fashion icons. ‘EARTH MATTERS: au confluence de la nature et de la créativité’ takes place at La villa du Pays d’art et d’histoire, located literally at the meeting point of the Aspe and Ossau rivers, both of which have been central to local textile production for centuries.


As Edelkoort explains, “For too long we have ruthlessly consumed our Earth’s assets and drained it of its resources. Forests become furniture, oceans are polluted and minerals are over-mined. For future generations it is crucial to consider a new approach: a transformation from over-consumption towards sustainable development that is in harmony with nature, with increased respect for our environment and for each other.”


Areas such as design, art, textiles and fashion are increasingly driven by an innovative energy that is inspired by Mother Nature. From land to sea, from forest to mountain, a wealth of ideas sprout from the Earth: analysing and cataloguing its components, transformed by organic fibres, recycled remnants, vegetal colours and conscious farming. ‘EARTH MATTERS’ alerts us to consider how we over-consume our resources, but it also celebrates the beauty of these natural elements that are ingeniously reinvented by contemporary designers and textile artists.


Edelkoort further observes, “This young century has brought about a moment of reflection and radical change, making up for a century of ecological abuse, consumption, greed and violence. For the first time, a post-fossil society is emerging, using natural ingredients, offering alternatives and giving us hope for the future.”




Edelkoort says that “Haut-Bearn produces some of fashion’s most current accessories, suddenly positioning the region at the centre of trends. Today, there is a beret revival, fit for new activists and revolutionaries, and seen on celebrities and hip-hop singers around the world. In recent fashion shows, blankets were shown as the latest branded it-item, carried in addition to handbags. And along with sandals and babouches, espadrilles are among the most fashionable of shoes, complementing sack dresses and caftans from around the Mediterranean.”



The Communauté de Communes du Haut-Béarn is organising the first biennial of textile in Oloron Sainte-Marie. Located amidst a confluence and nestled in the heart of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Oloron has been a cradle of the French textile industry for many decades. Spanning fashion, design and crafts, the event will bring a spotlight to the rich heritage of the region and inspire contemporary creation. From July 20—22, 2018 a festive program is open to all: offering visitors the opportunity to discover the Confluence’s main sites, including a historical exhibition in the Gaves Mediatheque (a building awarded France’s prestigious Équerre d’argent architecture prize), as well as textile factory visits, a craft show, workshops for the whole family, round tables and seminars, food trucks, an open bar and more…


A press preview takes place at 12:00 on Thursday, July 19.


Vernissage with invited guests on Friday, July 20.


A textile conference with Lidewij Edelkoort and other speakers will take place on July 21.


Download the Press Release (English)


Download the Press Release (French)


Further Information & Press Visuals


Contact Press 


EARTH MATTERS //au confluence de la nature et de la créativité

21 July – 8 September, 2018

La villa du Pays d’art et d’histoire // La Confluence

Rue de l’intendant d’Etigny

64400 Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France


Hide by Nienke Hoogvliet