Everyone knows the importance of pre-collections to driving business in terms of their size, scope and time on the sales floor. Rather than concede to the commercial realities of the collection by watering down the aesthetics, Ulla Johnson sought to bring her pre-fall lineup up to the runway-level of her main seasons. “We wanted to create beautiful, impactful pieces and really deliver something that has a fresh point of view and is the labor of love we dedicate to the runway,” she said. The collection showed her depth and range beyond the pretty boho frocks for which she’s known.

The baseline for Johnson’s work is increasingly sophisticated, with a cool tension between sturdy, masculine fabrics and light, fluttery soft things. She powered up silhouettes with an Eighties vibe, showing voluminous tapered pants and jackets with puffed sleeves. A self-described color junkie, she took her palette from the work of Milton Avery and Gauguin’s Tahitian works, zoning in on the powerful combination of marigold and teal. It appeared on floral dresses and on a dense hand-knit sweater with clusters of flowers knitted around the neckline worn with high-waisted cotton teal pants. Johnson’s fabric treatments were heightened. There were strong acid washed denim, fully embroidered skirts and smocks, and hand-knit ponchos and loose tailored jackets in herringbone patterns.

Accessories are growing, with a range of crafty bags and shoes, including killer python-printed boots that complemented and extended the clothes’ strong sense of pattern and color from head to toe.

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