There’s something about walking into a room full of flowers that instantly lifts the spirits. Such was the case last night, judging by the smiles and laughter emanating from a blossom-filled Freds Downtown as a bevy of well-wishers joined hostess Julia Restoin Roitfeld for an intimate dinner celebrating designer Ulla Johnson. The distinctly bohemian-feeling coterie mingled over cocktails in the newly opened bar before enjoying a dinner set in the bouquet-bedecked restaurant.

“It seems like she’s an overnight success because of all the attention she’s been getting lately, but Ulla has actually had her business since 2000,” said senior fashion director Tomoko Ogura. “Tonight is about celebrating the friends and moments that brought her here.”

Capitalizing on the moment, while spring was in the air and spirits were high, we took the opportunity to go Off Topic with guests, polling them just for fun. Read on for a closer look at the evening’s festivities to find out who’d like to go back in time to shogun Japan, who envisions fluttering butterflies every time they see a poppy, and who just wants to make America relax again.


The woman of the hour, designer Ulla Johnson, shows off some of the pieces from her spring collection.

The Window: We love that so much of your inspiration comes from time spent with your archaeologist parents. If you could visit any period in time, when would it be?
Ulla Johnson: I have to say, I’m so excited about the present. Being a female business owner and a mother, this is the best time there ever could have been. I think we’re on the eve of a female presidency, and I’m really excited by this moment. We’re lucky to live now, not that it’s uncomplicated.

Well along those lines, if you were running for president, what would your slogan be?
UJ: Equality Now!

And with all the flowers here tonight—even take home flowers for the guests!—do you have a favorite flower?
UJ: I love a coral peony. It’s the most incredible flower because, when it starts, it’s deep, deep red. But as it opens, it gets paler and paler until finally it’s almost white. It’s incredible—it’s like it lives a hundred lives, and it’s the most beautiful dying you’ll ever see.

On the left, actress Jessica Joffe, and on the right, stylist Marina Munoz.

Barneys COO Daniella Vitale, along with founder of Finding Showroom Dierdre Roffoni and Barneys Senior Fashion Director, Tomoko Ogura.

The Window: If you could visit any period in time, when would it be?
Tomoko Ogura: Maybe Japan during the Edo period. It’s an era my parents always refer to every time they take me to restaurants or anything cultural in Japan, speaking about it being when Japan was at its greatest. A lot of the major foods that the world knows Tokyo for—sushi, soba, tempura—all originated during that period.

On the left, actress Sarah Sophie Flicker, and on the right, jewelry designer and newly minted author, Pamela Love.

Hostess of the evening’s festivities along with Barneys was Julia Restoin Roitfeld, who sported an Ulla Johnson dress for the occasion.

The Window: If you could visit any period in time, when would it be?
Julia Restoin Roitfeld: Prehistoric times—with the first humans. Just to know how people managed with nothing when today we can’t even manage without a phone. When my battery dies I’m having a breakdown, so I’d be curious to see the opposite of the life we live today.

You’ve heard the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers.” Keeping that in mind, do you have a favorite flower?
JRR: This time of year, my favorite flower is lily of the valley. I love the smell of it—it’s very nostalgic for me. In France, there’s a tradition where you give a little branch of lily of the valley to all the people you love on May 1st, so definitely fits with May flowers! But they’re really difficult to find here, where in France, you see them everywhere. You stop at a red light and people are trying to sell them to you. But it’s a very sweet tradition.

On the left, fashion and portrait photographer Peter Stanglmayr and stylist April Hughes. On the right, Ulla’s husband, Zach Miner.

Model Maryna Linchuk donned edgy separates.

The Window: Do you have a favorite flower?
Maryna Linchuk: I have white roses all over my house, because they’re sophisticated and gentle. Plus, my whole house is white, so it works.

With all the buzz about the presidential race and the New York debate right now, if you were running for president, what would your slogan be?
ML: Vote for Maryna! More? Vote for Maryna and Save the Oceans!

On the left, model Pania Rose, designer Thaddeus O’Neil, and blogger Lainy Hedaya. On the right, Findings Showroom’s Elizabeth Courtney and Barneys’ SVP of Women’s RTW, Leah Kim.

Stylist April Hughes and artist Ana Kraš.

The Window: If you could visit any period in time, when would it be?
Ana Kraš: I’d definitely like to spend some time with my grandmother when she was a kid. She was hanging out with the sheep and finding snakes in the hay. I’d love to see what that was like.

Do you have a favorite flower?
AK: In the context of fields or wildflowers, I love poppy fields because they look like butterflies. As they’re in the wind, the move in a certain way that’s really beautiful.

If you were running for president, what would your slogan be?
AK: I don’t even have a green card yet! (laughs) But something like “America—Relax.” You know, just chill out about everything. Like wars around the world and getting involved in everything, just chill out. Relax.

Photographer and director, Robert Nethery.

A few of the evening’s lovely ladies. Left to right: Sarah Sophie Flicker, Romy Soleimani, Ulla Johnson, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, and Maryna Linchuk.

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