Ulla Johnson could not host a presentation this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. In these extenuating circumstances, Vogue Runway has made an exception to its policy and is writing about this collection via photos and remote interviews.
Ulla Johnson is back in her Soho office. As a wholesaler and manufacturer, she was part of New York City’s Phase 1 reopening, which began last week. It’s not quite business as usual: Her oldest son is taping fabric swatches into lookbooks and she’s conducting collection previews over Zoom. But it’s a start. Johnson is one of the very first New York brands ready with resort; some are delayed a month or more due to factory shutdowns, others are skipping the season entirely to focus on spring. “There were a lot of conversations about re-rolling best sellers in new fabrications,” Johnson began, “but I felt very strongly it was important for me, the team, and our woman that we continue to try to bring something new.”
Johnson launched an updated ecommerce site a year-and-a-half in the making on March 10, and it proved a useful research tool during the lockdown. “There was the idea that everybody would just want to buy a sweatshirt or a hair accessory, but in truth we were selling runway pieces,” she says. “We want to continue to speak to that in the new collection.” And so, resort includes a shibori printed taffeta grouping of flouncy dresses and exuberantly-shouldered tops alongside a jumpsuit and separates in denim with a more utilitarian bent and what Johnson calls “soft suiting” in the form of a quilted jacket and paperbag waist shorts. In the end, she reports, the collection wound up being 80% new silhouettes—and one rather prescient print. “The backbone of the line is the tree of life print, which symbolizes connectedness, rebirth, and resurgence.”