“This collection is so much about being wild and free,” designer Ulla Johnson said during a preview of her rich resort collection.
Inspired by a trip to Pagagonia and the region’s diverse textural landscapes, the designer enriched her ready-to-wear and artisanal accessories with a play of contrast.
There were restrained, utilitarian layers against billowing silhouettes, like a sportif solid technical taffeta gown with generous bubble skirt and crisscross back layered atop straightforward trousers, or a strong denim ensemble with cinched waist jacket with slightly voluminous sleeves and wide-leg jeans. Refracted geometric (including hand Shibori, hand-loomed and vibrant patchwork layers founded on geo principles) and abstract wildflower motifs versus monochromatic glacial teal hues, layered in luxe, bohemian energy. Ample texturally rich fabric manipulations and trims evoked sloping canyons (as well as the natural architecture of Big Sur, where Johnson shot her resort collection look book) on signature tricot, poplin and silk dresses and separates with pintucks, pleating and gathered details, draped layers and sportif drawcords, while standout free-spirited, novelty knits boasted artisanal tulip edges, lattice stitch detailing, wavy bauble handwork and juxtaposing opacities.
“They have this wind in Patagonia that’s very, very strong, it feels like a spirit and is a force in the environment. Everyone who lives there — they don’t even say the word wind because they believe it conjures the wind, it’s a whole life force down there. There was a sense of wind and movement that guided a lot of organizing principles around the collection, through the volumes and the shoot itself,” Johnson said.
Accessories, also an expanded assortment, looked equally great and enhanced each look. There is “found object” jewelry and hand-hammered recycled brass from her long-term collaboration with women’s collectives in Kenya, artisanal footwear with twisted-rope block heels and slides and oversize criss cross ankle bows, and multicolored raffia and Italian-made calfskin handbags of varying sizes (including a water bottle carrier with customized Ocean Bottle — noted that each purchase funds the collection of 1,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles from entering the ocean).
The look was both signature and new, celebrating takes on artful, visual expression.