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Ulla Johnson.

NYFW SS20: AUDRA, Adeam, alice + olivia, and Ulla Johnson

Eliza Jordan

16 September 2019

Another season of New York Fashion Week has come and gone, but we’re still thinking of a few special Spring/Summer 2020 presentations. Below, we’re highlighting details from AUDRA, Adeam, alice + olivia, and Ulla Johnson.

 Audra Noyes’s label AUDRA is a must-see of ours each season for her immense attention to detail, choice of materials, and range of creativity. For SS20, she continues her journey in designing for women at all stages in their life. Presented at her showroom in SoHo were updates on staples like button-up tops, dresses, trenches, and suits. We first are drawn to a bright green suit—a double-breasted closure for the top, and pants that part with small slits at the front of the ankle down below. The green color palette continues into dresses—first seen on a sheer piece with alternating tiers, an exterior zipper at the neck, and a light washed pattern of dotted columns. Moving to tops, we see the hue intensify on a sleeveless ombre piece before moving to longer silk leopard print shirts with kimono-esque closures. Baby blue, deep pink, and cream garnered a fair share of attention, too, with Oxford shirts, oversized tops worn as dresses, and more suits. As a whole, the collection capitalized on Noyes’s laser-focused vision for refined womenswear—but this time brought looks that are playful, poised, and downright smart.


Courtesy of AUDRA.

Designer Hanako Maeda brought Adeam back its roots—always a cross between the East and West, creatively derived from her upbringings in Tokyo and New York. For the new collection, she was inspired by Yokohama—her parents’ hometown, and one of the first seaports in Japan to open the country up to foreign trade. The idea of being seaside, dressed in nautical attire, was a starting point. At the West Edge on 15th Street, we saw new pieces parade down a subdued runway—with wood floors down below, and blue panels of stained-glass windows to the side. As each look passed, elevated takes on classics intensified. Delicate dresses and eveningwear ensembles ruffled with embellishments like pearls and crystals, while sweaters and jackets presented sailor stripes and large buttons reminiscent of an at-sea outfit. We also noticed layered dresses over jeans, and a coy appearance of layering—seen with denim aspects sewn over tops, and acting as ventilation flaps on trenches.

alice + olivia’s presentation at Root Studios followed designer Stacey Bendet’s dedication in presenting immersive environments as fashion presentation spaces. Walking in, nine colorful scenes took up stretches of space for an array of themed looks—each dramatic in their own sherbet-shaded way. Walking through, we were immersed in rooms almost completely taken over by one color. Raspberry walls welcomed a pink-themed space, full of baby pink cotton candy clouds—seen hanging above and enlarged on the ground below. Bendet’s modern bohemian wonderland unfolded from there, presenting clothes with voluminous shapes and floral prints that mixed well with structured trousers, classic sportswear, and color-blocked dresses. Special for SS20, as well, was a collaboration with Murder Bravado designer, Everard Best, who’s known for his distressed denim. During the presentation, Best and his design team was seen live-painting denim pieces in rainbow hues, which will be available worldwide in alice + olivia stores and retailers next spring.


Courtesy of AUDRA.

Ulla Johnson first set the stage of her latest runway show with an atmosphere unlike any other. Taking up 2,500 square feet at the runway’s entrance was an abstract hand painted backdrop by the artisans of Oliphant Studios in Bushwick. Layers of paint applied to the canvas reflected the ethereal mood of the collection, heightened by three-dimensional wooden sculptures crafted from pine saplings on the floor below. Soaked, bent, and formed into shape, the craft of the set took over 300 hours to create. Before we even got a glance of the new collection, the show then brought in sound with a live performance by the British band Nilüfer Yanya. From there, looks evoking traditional garb and artisanry followed. Japan-inspired tie-dyed pieces were seen, along with soft quilting and draping into shapes—eloquently evoking the Kendo tradition. West African traditions followed, with Ankara wax prints, ruffles and tiers, and beaded cotton pieces inspired by the artisanry of Benin. Johnson was also inspired by the portrait photography of Jackie Nickerson, wherein she proved imperfection is beauty by layering a sun-bleached color palette of coral, washed violet, and soft lime. Accessories continued as a devotion to craft, presenting new bags (like backpacks and carryalls) that were hand crocheted by a collective in Kenya, finished by a master leather craftsman in Madagascar, and hand beaded by a selection of Masai women. There were also sporty and maximalist leather shoes, and hand-blown glass jewelry created by Kenyan artists out of recycled bottles. Brass rings, twisted with found shells and corals, were also created with African artisans in partnership with Irish designer Grainne Morton. Throughout, an emphasis on embroidery and paneling was seen, furthering the idea that this feminine, euphoric mood can last a lifetime.



Courtesy of Adeam.




Courtesy of Adeam.



alice + olivia.

Courtesy of alice + olivia.



alice + olivia

Everard Best, Stacey Bendet.
Courtesy of alice + olivia.



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Kelly Wearstler




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