Ulla Johnson

Ulla Johnson

Designer & Owner, Ulla Johnson. New York

By: Emily Ramshaw

Ulla Johnson is one of those under-the-radar labels, that, when we stumble across it—or, perhaps more accurately, immediately gravitate towards at stores like Elyse Walker, Bird and Ron Herman—feel a lot like finding that perfect little treasure we never knew we wanted. Trust us, we’ve never felt so strongly about a printed tunic as we did in the dressing room of Bird’s Williamsburg location. Let’s just say, Johnson’s label brings the bohemian right out of our usual uniform of black and gray. No easy feat, friends. And when we arrived at Johnson Fort Greene apartment in Brooklyn, we found out why.

First of all, there’s the designer’s outsized collection of her own goods, which, we mean, makes total sense—if we were thinking up silk dresses and blouses, we’d probably stock up, too. Then there’s her admitted obsession with everything pink and feminine. “I love patterns and color and pink,” she told us as we dug through acres of vintage dresses. “I love white and never wear black.” Okay, fine, so that rules out a good 90 percent of our wardrobe...

See, if anyone epitomizes the dreamy, nomadic lifestyle that her label portrays, it’s Johnson herself (which, uh, we guess is pretty logical). Think vacations in Ibiza, collections of driftwood, shells and sheepskins, weekends in Long Island where her kids are “wild out.” But this is the kind of thing that comes completely naturally to her—take her childhood for instance: “My first fashion memory was a little shoot my mom did with me and some daughters of her friends in the English countryside. We were all wearing white vintage lace frocks and bonnets and frolicking around the woods.” Meanwhile, we’ll continue to obsess over Johnson’s label in the hopes that our life will also turn into a Bruce Weber editorial.