Ulla Johnson Pre-Fall 2021

Ulla Johnson is continually committed to the power of storytelling through optimistic, luxury ready-to-wear and accessories rooted in hand-crafted details and versatile, stylish dress.

“I really do believe in the fantasy of fashion, and without that, why do what we do?” she expressed over Zoom. 

For pre-fall, Johnson created an earthy, grounded mood, seen both through her editorial look book shoot and the garments themselves. The designer explored pattern play: juxtaposing fabrics on singular garments, playing with prints in different scales, and delving into variations of patchwork. Johnson cited influences of Korean Bojagi (patchworking remnants of leather, suede and organza from solid garments into new frocks) as well as a technique done by the Ainu, an indigenous Japanese culture based around Hokkaido — rendered subtly into garments composed of hand-embroidered, cutout and layered fabrics pieced together with ditzy florals. 

Ulla Johnson Pre-Fall 2021

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The results were bold and beautiful, as were Johnson’s handcraft offerings from her global artisan partnerships: hand-painted wool crochet knits from Uruguay (stellar in the form of a graphic dress with signature puffed shoulders), delicate recycled brass jewelry from artisans in Kenya, hand-loomed works from India, and more.

Silhouettes nodded to timeless luxury. (She referenced Parisian dress codes of the Seventies mixed with American sportswear tailoring for suiting and wide-leg trousers.) Although many shapes were closer to the body, Johnson’s play on dimensions through layering dresses with plunging necklines atop new fine gauge Turkish knits and organza tops directly nodded to the collection’s main idea: “Exploring the manner in which clothing can both shield and celebrate the body.”

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