Now that fashion is in dressed-up mode, Johanna Ortiz and her line of upscale elegant party dresses seem to be in a good place. She has always stuck to her guns: Now the trend is just catching up with her.
Today’s presentation was held in the plush spaces of a Parisian dining room, with guests sitting in round printed velvet banquettes. “Fall isn’t the easiest season for me,” said Ortiz. “Where I live, it’s always summer.” Cali, the Colombian city where her social-conscious company is based, is known as being the Capital of Salsa. No wonder Ortiz’s happy disposition is at the heart of her party-friendly line.
This season she and her mostly female team were into slimmer and elongated silhouettes, low-waisted, slender and gently body skimming— nothing in the collection was on the slinky, too revealing or tight fitting side. She kept things sensual and tasteful. “Glamour and comfort can coexist,” she said.
Feisty ruffles and swaying fringes alternated with cleaner shapes, slightly infused with a bohemian ’70s vibe; the designer’s favorite prints were offered in bold, blown up renditions of her native land’s eucalyptuses and palm trees, contrasting with allover black, warm brown, or rust. A standout was a low-slung, poet-sleeved tunic softly draped at the waist, cut in see-through velvet devoré in a black-and-gold geometric pattern. To complement the evening offer, Ortiz added a selection of sharp tailored double breasted black blazers made in collaboration with Spanish brand The Extreme Collection; some came embroidered at the back with a palm tree motif.
As a designer and entrepreneur who has built a successful sustainable business, Ortiz knows a thing or two about perseverance and keeping it positive: “Living in the now and embracing what life throws at you it’s what counts,” she said. “The world is tough enough, we know that. For me, fashion is an artistic way of conveying feelings, to give women moments of joy.”