The first fashion show of the New York fashion week for the Fall ’21 has been the one of Ulla Johnson, which took place at Lincoln Center without any audience. The brand is among the few to present in the capital this season, and among the even fewer to do so via a physical show. Most brands have opted for lookbooks and digital presentations, while others have decided to move to Europe, for various reasons.
New York is going through a period of metamorphosis and seems to have lost allure when compared to other fashion capitals. We hope for rebirth, even under different guises, and if this happens it will be thanks to those who have never left it, together with emerging designers who still believe in the American dream.
Perhaps, Ulla Johnson’s fashion show is a leap of faith towards the American system. It’s not just about the presentation, but the designer has declared that the knitwear was made entirely by hand in New York or nearby, after many years of off-shoring production in Peru. Right-shoring is a major step forward in the ecological fight, and Ulla Johnson can be an example to many.
The come-back to the origins (local vs. global) is also visual. Ulla Johnson’s Fall 21 collection is very engaging, because it brings together many different prints, including geometric and animalier, and plays with volumes. Alongside the large, rounded shapes so dear to the designer, we find second-skin sweaters, dresses and skirts that slip over the body, shaped bodices and large leather belts closing the waist tight. The colours remind us of native America, as do the shearing jackets and cavallino-leather boots. The overall flavour is intriguing, as it combines earthy elements with the finishing touches and the romanticism of hyper-feminine shapes.
Cover image by Jonas Gustavsson, courtesy of Ulla Johnson