Johanna Ortiz Pre-Fall 2023 Collection

Johanna Ortiz headed to the Andes for her pre-fall collection. “We’ve always been focused on the tropics and Colombia,” Ortiz explained from her studio in Cali. “This collection started [by thinking] about the Incas, and the explosion of color and stripes, the knits and materials that these ancestors had, and we tried to place them in a new language.”

Incan stripes and patterns were incorporated into bright knits; from a simple maxi-length dress with a polo neck and variegated stripes in shades of red, orange, lilac, and chocolate brown, to a bodycon dress with a mix of stripes and geometric patterns. With its twisted sweetheart top and tassels surrounding the bottom of the skirt it showcased Ortiz’s passion for textiles above all. The tassels, along with other details like gold coin embellishments, pompoms, and beads, were inspired by the Incas’ rich tradition of crafts. Ortiz is also working directly with local communities like women from the Amazon’s Eperara Siapidara (woven bags) and Wounaan artisans (jewelry).

The Andean inspiration was most evident in the all-over geometric pattern-embroidered pieces, like a handsome red, black, and white long jacket trimmed in tan vegan leather, or the blue, black, and white, cropped polo top and matching wrap skirt. Wrap skirts, which Ortiz makes in various lengths, are key items for the designer, and she showed them worn by themselves or over dresses and tunics, as a way to offer her customers a more versatile wardrobe. Thick geometric embroidered belts were shown over everything from jackets to dresses with waist cutouts. “If women don’t like the cutouts, the belt covers it,” she said, thinking very practically.

Her prints were as bright and bold as ever; palm trees, abstract birds, and other organic shapes all took flight in a brilliant color palette of emeralds, browns, blues, and oranges. A tan cotton trench coat looked classic from the front, but the back featured a heavily embroidered jungle landscape; surely the pièce de résistance of the collection.

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