Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz's latest collection is a beautiful mix of culture and talent
Although Fall may not be for another six months, that doesn't mean we can't daydream about what we'll be wearing once the season hits. Oversized ruffles, patches on everything, velvet galore, and plenty of bows were seen all over the Fall 2017 runway — and we're ready to take these trends to the streets. For Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz, the season begs for an elegant spirit; but one that doesn't negate its playful and bright attitude. Though this involved plenty of fall floral, it wasn't the sort of sticky sweet prints we're so used to seeing.
Instead Oritz elevated the pattern by printing it on luxurious silks and satins, on tiered mermaid dresses with bell sleeves, and, most notably, on a rich scarlet single-shouldered flared jumpsuit with a pleated bust and sternum cut-out. The designers' Colombian roots are seen throughout the collection, with silhouettes that could very well be inspired by her culture like vallenato, salsa, or cumbia. This collection is elegant and luxurious, but still fun, thanks to the over-the-top silhouettes and rich textiles that are unapologetic in their splendor.
Velvet also made a statement on the runway, showing up reutilized as an all-over fabric instead of just an accent; think rich burgundy velvet bustiers, one shoulder dresses, and frilled crop tops. An overarching theme of the collection were the layered skirts and bold shoulders that added a playful twist to nearly every one of the 62 looks. Accents of draped metallics were another staple along with sleek lines and precise tailoring, showing off Oritz's ability to draw her own lines and color them in anyway she likes. And with the addition of slogan tees that read “womanism,” “diversity,” and “awareness,” it looks like she also knows how to navigate the zeitgeist without losing her voice.
The houses atelier is located in Santiago de Cali, Columbia, where over 80 people of a myriad of backgrounds work to create the collections. So not only is Oritz able to bring her Colombian flair to the masses, she's also able to empower her own women while she does so. That's something we can get behind.
Now if only fall could hurry up…