“We don’t know what’s going to happen in November. Are people going to be celebrating or staying at home?” Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz questioned over the phone. As a designer who has found great success for her quintessential resort- and occasion-wear, with signature, fanciful feminine frocks, Ortiz wondered how to add festiveness during uncertain times.
Her result: a full-fledged resort collection of versatile, beautiful clothing with artisanal, playful but chic accents and statement accessories she designed with artisans within Colombia’s Indigenous communities. Versatility was Ortiz’s key word for the season. The collection was purposely more relaxed than fall (which has been pushed to now drop in late October, around the same time resort will hit stores), ranging from Ortiz’s take on leisurewear — Nineties-inspired printed slip skirts with matching, drapey tops and embroidered blouses — to more occasion wear — cacao plant and orchid-printed numbers or a standout, all-black midi dress. The look embodied the collection’s strengths: festive, but relaxed on top (a ribbed knit with pouf sleeves) and artisanal, romantic and playful on bottom (a full raffia skirt).
In addition, Ortiz designed the clothes themselves to offer versatility. For the first time, dresses came with detachable shrug-like sleeves — for instance, a taffeta, red hot minidress — while linen and cotton tunics had detachable raffia belts and bows (most of which will be sold together, as looks). The design details not only added statement and dramatic flair, but played to the designer’s signature volume in a new way. “We don’t want to sell something that’s only one-use opportunity clothing,” Ortiz noted.
The designer also approached the season with a desire to increase her brand’s environmental consciousness — working with a few new, “eco-friendly,” printed fabrics as well as unused and scrap fabrics, embellishments and embroideries from prior seasons. The designer expressed joy, turning these “little treasures” found in her atelier into new works, like a relaxed white jacquard pant and long, crossover halter tunic set or a tan, belted day-dress with large, embroidered palm trees.