The Ulla Johnson of It All

Once I inform you that it was absolutely kismet that Robyn Rihanna Fenty, The First of Her Name, Queen of the Bops, Protector of My Edges, Muva of Being Unapologetically Black, and the Khalessi of Barbados and Beyond, revealed her baby bump on national television during Super Bowl LVII the SAME DAY that I, Phoebe Lynn Robinson, concealed my baby bump in Ulla Johnson’s fashionable yet comfortable black Polline dress on the designer’s Latest York Fashion Week show, I’m not exaggerating.

Okay, advantageous! Rihanna is carrying a growing human within her. Meanwhile, I used to be carrying a food baby comprised of an overpriced, carb-heavy breakfast that left me gassy and almost definitely (1,000 percent definitely) had me crop-dusting the style elite as I used to be leaving Hudson Yards with mainly my reparations during Black History Month. So, thanks, Martin Luther King Jr., for all you will have done. It was value it! ANYWAY, the purpose is, Rihanna and I are practically the identical. Let me have this! You realize what else I need to have? Literally one in all every little thing made by the eponymous shero designer of the day: Ulla Johnson.

Ulla Johnson at her fall/winter 2023 show.

JP Yim//Getty Images

First, let’s set the scene. While it just isn’t my first time sitting front row at a fashion show, it was my first time sitting front row where nothing felt labored. Perhaps that had something to do with the venue, The Spiral, but I feel it’s just that Johnson embodies the phrase “like attracts like.” The cool was effortless. The unique feminine energy was palpable. Joy was within the air. As someone who has worn Johnson’s clothes loads over time, I’m well-versed within the indisputable fact that her designs are celebratory. She will give us an aspirational yet grounded blueprint of what a lady could be: chic and attention-grabbing, with a type of self-assuredness that may only come when the arrogance is inside and radiates out. To be immersed in that atmosphere on a buzzy Sunday morning is an awesome feeling. To be sitting near Katie Holmes, Lily Allen, and Karla Welch—a triptych of delightfulness—was a treat. But the perfect part was Johnson’s phenomenal show.

ulla johnson fall winter 2023

Satin tulip skirts.

Filippo Fior

Everyone knows her penchant for a delicious pattern or an expertly executed puff sleeve, so I really like how Johnson honored her signatures while showing her range. We knew we were in for something special when Black Belt Eagle Scout emerged as regal badasses and set the tone of the show with powerful rock music. There was a gradual stream of improbable separates (the satin tulip skirts with tastefully done slits are a private favorite), billowing full-length dresses, crochet knit slips, and must-have suede fringe kitten heel slingbacks. Vibrant colours popped up in pieces reminiscent of the emerald one-shoulder brocade dress or the marigold pleated satin skirt. Well-defined waists in belted jackets and playful full-length puffer coats were great touches.

Regardless of the outfit, Johnson made sure there was loads of visual intrigue without being overwhelming. Are you gonna get a ruffled button shirt? Um, duh! Will you be served a full lewk of mixed prints and patterns? Hell yeah, so eat it up! Are there also going to be models in an array of skin tone and sizes? Hallelujah! And I wasn’t the just one loving it. Again, the parents on the show were cool, so it was less, “Yas queen!” and more sassy smirks that translate to “Ulla Johnson is about to get all my coins.” And she or he deserves it! The garments are made with love and the show was filled with it.

ulla johnson fall winter 2023

A model walks the runway.

Filippo Fior

Truthfully, I didn’t want the show to be over. It was so wonderful to be within the presence of such artistry. But alas, like all wonderful things, it had to come back to an end. And once I stood upon the richly patterned carpet and soaked in my final moments of what I had just witnessed, I placed on Johnson’s Adira shearling coat, and Katie Holmes sweetly asked, “Excuse me, is that this your phone?” knowing there are fewer scary modern-day technological nightmares than losing one’s phone out within the concrete jungle. Holmes had my Ulla Johnson-covered back. I can’t consider a greater front row experience.

Headshot of Phoebe Robinson

Actor-comedian-producer Phoebe Robinson is best often called the co-creator and co-star of the HBO limited series 2 Dope Queens. She’s also a Latest York Times best-selling writer of the books You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Must Explain and Every little thing’s Trash, But It’s Okay. Phoebe has starred in the flicks Ibiza and What Men Want, and was moderator on Michelle Obama’s international Becoming book tour. Most recently, Phoebe launched Tiny Reparations, a production company under ABC Signature, whose first project was a chat show entitled Doing the Most with Phoebe Robinson that premiered April 2021on Comedy Central. Her first one-hour rise up special will premiere in Fall 2021 on HBO Max. Her next book, Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes, can be the primary essay collection debuting on her newly formed literary imprint, Tiny Reparations Books, on Sept. 28, 2021.

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