Artful cornices cascade across the breathtaking façade of a vast stone palace. The breezes from nearby wildflower fields envelope the senses while visions in sumptuous silks, prismatic patterns, and handmade knit geometries glide across the setting. The Ulla Johnson Autumn/Winter 2023 campaign captures the essence of delicately contrasting textures, from lacquered surfaces and patinated leather to looped knits that echo the undulations of the resplendent Palais Idéal, a visionary 19th century structure in the south of France constructed by Ferdinand Cheval. Shot by Yelena Yemchuk, the campaign mirrors the richly diverse qualities of the latest collection through vibrantly framed shots and a wild embrace of color, set against this extraordinary backdrop.
Starting in 1879, for over 30 years, Cheval collected countless pebbles and stones on his daily rounds as a postman, carrying them home to create the Palais Idéal. The incomparable structure rises from a sun-drenched expanse in the small town of Hauterives near Lyon, and was inspired by a dream Cheval had in which he built a series of castles and caves. The magnificent spires, quiet grottoes, and majestic caryatids conjure Autumn/Winter 2023’s profound meditation on textual juxtapositions through glazed leather, cintzed suiting, moiré taffeta, and lustrous pleated satin.
The re-invented sense of modernity that Cheval meticulously crafted through his dream-like palace echoes the sleek futurism of the latest collection. Ethereal yet striking, the campaign showcases Johnson’s virtuosic capacity for blending the thrill of discovery with a reverence for handmade traditions and ancient textile practices. The Autumn/Winter 2023 silhouettes illuminate a flickering landscape of vast and vibrant proportion, a space grounded in both the past as much as the future.