Johanna Ortiz brought her resort collection to New York, holding a presentation at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant/private club that opened uptown late last year. In a room on the fifth floor where the walls were decorated with paintings of tropical leaves, the models stood around in a tableau, dancing, and conversing with each other. Immediately one’s eye was drawn to a slim, long sleeve column dress in a dusty pink semi-sheer fabric with lavender sequin-embroidered stripes, and a gauzy wine-colored caftan in an abstract pattern formed by delicate embroidery.
“This season is a combination between the ’70 and the ’90s,” Ortiz explained, taking in the surroundings. “I wanted to bring something different, to replace the ruffle and the volume and the prints.” Her silhouettes were indeed more streamlined and closer to the body. “I was ‘drawing’ while draping and fitting the models, so everything comes from the fabrics, not from a sketch,” she added. As a result the dresses in the collection were slinky and sexy without trying too hard, and many of them were further customized to show more or less skin, or emphasize different parts of the body with a button-clip piece that could be attached at will. Her signature palm motif was shrunken down and turned into a tonal polka dot-esque detail on silk slip dresses.
She didn’t steer away from prints entirely, she just approached them through a more 3D lens. There were the aforementioned sequin embroidered disco slip dresses, but also silk jacquards densely embellished in gold thread that turned out to be almost as light as a cotton voile. She used it on a short dress with a sweetheart necklace and a “bow” detail on the back which extended dramatically to the floor. “I’m always thinking that everything has to be packable, you have to be able to take it everywhere. It has to be light,” she added. Another standout dress, with flared sleeves and cutouts around the stomach featured an opulent floral embroidery of sequins, raffia, and beads in shades of pink and orange that popped against the burgundy silk they were set on.