“We are in one world designing for another,” Ulla Johnson expressed via Zoom while previewing her resort collection. The designer is one of the first and few who was able, and decided, to design a pre-season collection. “Once people come out of this, they want to be inspired, and we need beauty, and have all been so separated and silenced that we really wanted to say something strong and positive and assertively new,” she explained.
Johnson focused on designing new silhouettes around a message of joy: a tree of life motif depicting “rebirth, growth, connectedness” was noted as a springboard for the collection. The motif could be seen hand-embroidered on a beautiful handknit sweater made in Uruguay or in a poplin print on the brand’s signature poufed blouses and airy dresses. While no garments aside from the green and yellow shibori taffeta silk dress the designer was wearing were present for the appointment (the collection was shipped out for market appointments and manufacturing), looks were shown through a digital look book and a packet of fabric and print swatches.
The robust array of 100 stockkeeping units included Johnson’s take on soft suiting, such as a selection of easy high-waisted crossover trousers, as well as Venetian marbled and shibori printed garb. The designer mentioned that while a lot of conversation has opened up on how COVID-19 is going to impact the way people design and the overall fashion calendar, she and her team have been designing wear-now, seasonless clothes over the years. As a way to expand on artisan partnerships that hold great importance for the brand, Johnson launched accessories into wholesale with recycled brass, hand-hammered and recycled glass jewelry developed in Kenya, with handbags to follow in the spring.