Giovanni Giannoni / World Water Day
Ulla Johnson returned to Brooklyn’s Powerhouse Arts building on Sunday morning, this time featuring a shadow sculpture inspired by a collection by Andrew Ondrejcak and Abby Cheney, in the middle of the room.
“As we were putting the installation together with the collection, I wanted that warm, enveloping, embryonic feel,” Johnson said backstage at her gorgeous fall collection, which surprisingly (and delightfully) included men on her runway for the first time.
She clarified that the men’s looks were actually women’s and related to the collection’s exploration of baggy versus boxy shapes; youthful cuts versus accentuating and revealing the body in a way that is never vulgar. “It was more about exploring why there is this artificial boundary between women’s clothing and men’s clothing when there are so many things that can easily move between them,” she explained, highlighting the men in her orbit who have been wearing her women’s designs during years.
Throughout the fall programming, Johnson treated the traditional tropes of paisley, lace, crepes, menswear pinstripes and corsetry in her signature unexpected and artisanal ways, as seen through strong, cozy handcrafted cashmere dresses. Fair Isle knits; a black crochet turtleneck with a cleverly graphic black and white embellished slim skirt; unrestricted tailoring and sensual dresses.
Warmth was front and center through standout intarsia shearling outerwear, while daytime utility emerged from evolved denim and sophisticated leather layering. Additionally, he continued to expand his focus on sporty functionality with femininity through K-Way’s waterproof and collaborative ikat styles, while pushing the exploration of monochrome layering and knitwear in saturated hues inspired by Milton Avery. For example, the purple felt wool dress with ruffle details that opened the show; simple knit dresses with small white “distorted” edges, or a non-knit caped trench coat.
The collection’s sense of fluidity and ease flowed through the evening wear: a striking gold metallic pleated dress that caught the light as it floated down the runway.
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