We loved hosting Ulla Johnson’s fashion show.
Once -not again- we had the honor of being different and that every time is never “once again”.
By Nichole Phelps from Vogue Magazine.
It was an epic trip from Vogue’s World Trade Center office to Williamsburg for Ulla Johnson’s show, one long hour in the car. But it was nothing compared to the ground that Johnson covered, both literally and figuratively, to create her new collection. “I was thinking about boundaries and what we can do to collapse them in this business,” she said backstage. Johnson isn’t a “political” designer; she makes frocks in a distinctly ethereal, bohemian vein. But the times seem to have compelled her. The new collection, as she described it, was a meditation on craft. Rustic yet refined has always been her vibe, but the reference points here were much more pinpoint-able than in seasons past. She cited the Herero tribeswomen of Namibia, who co-opted and subverted the wardrobe of their colonialist oppressors, and the quilters of Gee’s Bend, an isolated African-American community in Alabama, who turn fabric scraps into artisanal treasures.
Artisanal treasures is an entirely apt way to describe what came down Johnson’s runway this afternoon. Not just the Victorian-inflected pieces with their made-in-India threadwork and the quilted looks, which referenced the Herero tribe and Gee’s Bend, respectively. But also the graceful batik dresses, one of which was tiled from nine different patterns; the halter tops and cutout dresses made entirely from handwoven raffia; and the delicate Maasai beaded aprons. You got the distinct sense that Johnson was upping the ante here, emphasizing craft and also accentuating the graphic impact of her clothes. “It’s a time for boldness,” she insisted. The extensive research and global sourcing she did this season seemed to have inspired a change close to home. The quilted pieces incorporated fabric scraps from previous collections. Amidst headlines about a fashion brand exponentially larger than hers finally ending the practice of destroying unsold product, that little act of sustainability really resonated.
See more photos of the show here!