“I think that’s our key message for the season…having this boldness,” expressed Ulla Johnson during a walk-through of her latest collection. For resort, Johnson melded her brand’s touchstones — hand craft, the idea of optimism and color (she’s a self-proclaimed colorist at heart), and an intriguing print — into a more graphic collection than those before.
Referencing the contrasting saturated works of painter Helen Frankenthaller, as well as sculptor Ugo Rondinone, Johnson juxtaposed earthy tones with vibrant pops with techniques influenced by her love of traditional craft and travels. There were African Dutch wax prints in hot Ugo colorways — pink, yellow, blue — on shoulder-emphasizing refined cotton shirting paired with blue and white batik wrapped sargon skirts, the look bold and beautiful. Panama’s Mola quilting techniques influenced more earthy quilted offerings, grounded in their sun-bleached apparel due to hand-painted acid wash while patchworked striped dresses referenced works of the Seminal tribe.
Although known for her more fluid, voluminous shapes, Johnson also wanted to introduce new ideas of tailoring into the collection which resulted in special denim offerings with “emphasis closer to the body,” as in a baby yellow, acid washed jumpsuit with slightly rounded legs. But there were still plenty of more wonderful fluid offerings a la fresh, super fine ruched silk frocks.
“With all the prints, although they’re sourced over the world with inspiration that touches from Africa to Central America, there is this poetic conversation and dialog that they have,” Johnson expressed. The designer’s extensive handwork melded all of her influences into a rich, divinely crafted collection.