Over the past few seasons, designer Johanna Ortiz has been expanding her Cali, Colombia-based business beyond its origins of feminine, flirty and voluminous frilled fashions with more pared-down and tailored, romantic layers. For fall, Ortiz explored the ideas of magical realism — inspired by Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” — as well as the ideas of the Earth’s interconnections in nature — specifically referencing the 2019 documentary “Fantastic Fungi” for her collection prints and mushroom motifs.
“The collection is an invitation to dream and look forward to brighter moments; it’s about togetherness,” Ortiz said over Zoom, adding, “We have a strong woman who’s confident and empowered, it has all these elements without losing the feminine side that I love. At the time that we started spring last year, we were a bit more into small prints and feminine; then we did a little bit more adventurous with the horses [for pre-fall], but this one was about a more simple and evolved woman I was envisioning.”
Mushroom motifs and oversized fungi-shaped floral blooms could be seen printed and embroidered on natural and jewel-toned dresses and separates alongside pared-down, ultra-refined “loungewear,” like tunics over pants or chunky, artisanal Peruvian knit sets. Ortiz’s play on versatility proved standout for fall once again. The designer introduced a new sleeve shape that could be wrapped around and buttoned at the wrist for a more polished look or worn undone for a more fluid look; signature printed tunics, too, proved standout with long sashes that could be wrapped around the shoulders as shawls. Wrapping and chunky braiding details referenced ideas of interconnection in ready-to-wear and accessories, such as new shoes, necklaces and handbags.
As seen through the collection runway film (which was staged in downtown Cali, Colombia inside of the abandoned Edificio Otero — a hotel and diner bar in the 1920s — and featured Colombian models), the collection upheld the brand’s signature romantic spirit and refined artisanal details while offering a robust assortment of refined dress for the Johanna Ortiz woman.