Ulla Johnson Melds 1970s Parisian Style With American Sportswear For Pre-Fall

by Freya Drohan

Ulla Johnson’s target audience has always been a well-traveled woman of the world, so it makes sense that her Pre-Fall 2021 collection would combine references from far and wide to suit their eclectic tastes.

The 25-look offering was somewhat of a departure from the tried-and-true formula Johnson has been favoring as of late. Not least, in the way these new garments were portrayed—via a lookbook of models in obscure poses, shot in sepia tones by Emma Summerton. (The perfect backdrop for Johnson’s latest palette of navy, olive, bone, claret, and umber.) The unmistakably Ulla identity was still intact though, evident in wrap blouses with puff shoulders and leg of mutton sleeves on blouses, whimsical tiered skirts, high-neck frocks that command attention, and wide leg, perfectly oversized trousers.

According to the collection notes, it was a nod to Parisian codes of dress in the ’70s, fused with sporty American tailoring—one way this came through was in the deep v-neck dresses paired with matching turtle neck knits—and with an eye on the Far East too. Case in point: Indonesian batiks, Korean craft techniques, Japanese-inspired prints, and embroideries completed in India. Turkish cotton knits and wool crocheted in Uruguay also came into the picture, rounding out the global references.

But fear not; the cascading ruffles, balloon sleeves, quilting, and patchwork that customers rely on the Brooklyn-based designer for were very much apparent. Indeed, while these were pieces that you could wear anywhere in the world, there’s always something unmistakably consistent in Johnson’s work that manages to bring her point home.

See the full collection below:

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