Spring 2021 Ready to Wear
Pictures by Ulla Johnson
A LOVE LETTER TO THE WORLD
Ulla Johnson Brings Inspiration From Around the Globe to Her Live Runway in New York City
In a season that saw many designers opting out of runways and live productions, not to mention a heavy influx of casual and leisurewear-inspired collections coming out of months of quarantine, Ulla Johnson is a designer who firmly believes in staying the course of fashion, that her craft, and all that goes with it, still has a place in a post-pandemic world, and her Spring 2021 collection was a testament to that commitment.
The live runway was presented audience-less at Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park with a stunning backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline. The runway was color-blocked in warm hues and hand-painted by the artists of Oliphant Studios in Bushwick. Models walked to the music of 17-year-old artist Shamiqua from Staten Island.
The collection opened with a beautifully patterned knit sweater with ruffles around the neck and waist, paired with a yellow floral skirt, cascading with more ruffles, followed by the second look, a dress of intricate white lace design and cut-outs. Both looks were hand-crafted abroad, in countries heavily impacted by the pandemic, by local artisans needing support. Stunning jewelry pieces, from singular dangling earrings, to statement necklaces and bracelets, were commissioned by artisans in Nairobi. A canceled trip to Japan served as the inspiration for leather obi belts and certain prints and fabric techniques. Amidst all of this, there were acid-washed denim jumpsuits and a khaki look of a pleated halter top and ankle-length skirt that provided a much-needed breather from all the florals and patterns.
For a collection as thoughtful and cohesive as this was, Johnson combined an abundance of global influences (she also debuted a handbag line, made in Italy), and made it look effortless and individual. She never sacrificed her feminine, ruffled esthetic, or fell victim to the depression of the pandemic. This was a collection that would have been made and shown as is, without the world ever having heard the word Coronavirus.
Written by Elizabeth Kramsky