The Ulla Johnson Spring/Summer 2023 collection was unveiled within the vast Beaux-Arts Court at the venerated Brooklyn Museum. Around the corner were galleries filled with superlative art collections, but here, a different world had taken over. The space’s soaring heights and austere, neoclassical linearity were transformed under the expert hand of florist Emily Thompson into a place reclaimed by nature. The catwalk flowed between kaleidoscopically-hued installations of flowers that crept across the floor, inspired by lichen blooms. Apricot tones morphed into dappled pinks, followed by a sharp magenta that contrasted with a symphony of corals and chartreuse. The resplendent scene echoed the collection’s exploration of luxuriously hypnotic saturations of color, as well as the diverse shapes and textures of nature’s intimate organisms.
Johnson’s commitment to forging connections with artists of all genres imbued every aspect of the show. Hand-hewn stools, crafted by Brooklyn-based studio Skilset from reclaimed wood, lined the runway. The melodic harmonies of singer-songwriter Indigo Sparke accentuated the space’s otherworldly atmosphere, joined by the superb musicians Shahzad Ismaily, Sarah Pedinotti, James Buckley, and Jeremy Gustin. A collaboration with Ocean Bottle resulted in the retrieval of 100,000 plastic bottles (300 per guest) before they reached the ocean, an effort that not only benefited marine ecosystems but also provided employment for the coastal communities that collect and recycle the plastic. In addition to this sustainability initiative, all flowers were composted following the show. At Ulla Johnson, we strive to make a difference, even on the runway.