SOUTH­ERN CHARM Jo­hanna Or­tiz’s Carta­gena va­ca­tion home

Whether craft­ing her sig­na­ture printed dresses or dec­o­rat­ing her Carta­gena va­ca­tion home, fashion de­signer Jo­hanna Or­tiz puts her own stamp on Colom­bian chic

Elle (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

On a grey June morn­ing in New York, the sepi­a­toned, buzzy French bistro Au­gus­tine was aglow with trop­i­cal warmth, thanks to Colom­bian fashion de­signer Jo­hanna Or­tiz, who chose the restau­rant as the set­ting for the pre­sen­ta­tion of her 2019 Re­sort col­lec­tion. The ta­bles were set with bas­kets of mini pan­debonos (Colom­bian cheese bread), buñue­los (South Amer­i­can fried dough), quinoa arepas and bowls of uchu­vas (goose­ber­ries). Each seat had a panama hat and a flo­ral silk pouch of lip­sticks, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Or­tiz and Aerin Lauder that drops this Novem­ber. And as the mod­els am­bled by wear­ing art­fully draped dresses and sep­a­rates

in marigold, ter­ra­cotta and green prints, you couldn’t help but be cap­ti­vated by Or­tiz’s tal­ent for seam­lessly in­fus­ing her Colom­bian aes­thetic into any en­vi­ron­ment or gar­ment she touches. Or­tiz’s love of fashion ac­tu­ally stems from her pas­sion for in­te­ri­ors, which is ev­i­dent in both her cloth­ing cre­ations – she’s known for her pat­tern choices and of­ten sources fab­rics from vin­tage tex­tiles – and her Carta­gena va­ca­tion home of 13 years. Born and based in Cali, Colom­bia, an hour-and-a-half’s flight away, she grew up around her dec­o­ra­tor mother’s reams of fab­rics. Even to­day, she al­ways be­gins her col­lec­tions by first se­lect­ing ma­te­ri­als – say, a flo­ral Ital­ian silk – be­fore trans­form­ing them into her sig­na­ture flirty sil­hou­ettes. ‘She cap­tures the sul­try, so­phis­ti­cated South Amer­i­can spirit,’ says Lau­ren Santo Domingo, a fam­ily friend and founder of the fashion site Moda Operandi. Five years ago, Santo Domingo spot­ted Or­tiz’s de­signs on In­sta­gram and promptly picked up her line, ex­clu­sively launch­ing her brand glob­ally (Or­tiz founded her com­pany in 2003, but had pre­vi­ously sold only do­mes­ti­cally). ‘What struck me about Jo­hanna’s col­lec­tion was its au­then­tic­ity,’ Santo Domingo adds. ‘She stays true to her­self.’ That sense of gen­uine­ness per­me­ates ev­ery cor­ner of Or­tiz’s house in Carta­gena, the pic­turesque colo­nial town she trav­els to seven times a year. It’s also where she met Santo Domingo – whose hus­band, An­dres, comes from a prom­i­nent Colom­bian fam­ily – more than a decade ago. Or­tiz and her hus­band, Ce­sar Caisedo, Pres­i­dent of the candy brand Colom­bina, had been va­ca­tion­ing in Carta­gena for years when they pur­chased the 16th-cen­tury Span­ish colo­nial-style house in 2005. At the time, Or­tiz was preg­nant with their sec­ond son, Joaquin (they also have Lukas, 18, and Lorenzo, nine). The two­s­torey, high-ceilinged villa of carved wood and painted con­crete is si­t­u­ated in the city’s walled Old Town, a Un­esco World Her­itage site that dates back to at least the 1500s. ‘Be­cause Carta­gena is so near the [Caribbean Sea], things get ru­ined in such a short time. Some­thing will look old, but it’s ac­tu­ally new,’ says Or­tiz, who spent 11 months work­ing with ar­chi­tect Pa­tri­cia Me­jía on the ren­o­va­tion. The home’s orig­i­nal hand­painted tile floors and wooden de­tails were re­stored, while a swim­ming pool was added to the ter­race. In the salon, Or­tiz en­listed Eloin Rivera, a mu­ral­ist from Cali, to paint a stun­ning palm land­scape tableau in­spired by the lo­cal botany, which Or­tiz had re­searched. A menagerie of chairs from Spain, In­dia and Viet­nam – prod­ucts of her love of travel and fur­ni­ture shop­ping – mix with white porce­lain vases from Casa Chiqui, the im­pec­ca­bly cu­rated Carta­gena bou­tique owned by Chiqui de Echavar­ria, the leg­endary Colom­bian host­ess. The mas­ter bed­room, which is a fan­ta­sia of blue and white (‘blue is peace­ful and you never get bored with it’, Or­tiz notes), is crowned by a raf­fi­aand-seashell pen­dant. Printed ikat, suzani and Otomi tex­tiles min­gle in the room. Venezue­lan artist Ma­riet Ver­gara painted a mu­ral in a cor­ner based on a trop­i­cal fab­ric that Or­tiz used in her Spring/Sum­mer 2016 col­lec­tion; Ver­gara also cre­ated a trompe l’oeil bam­boo mo­tif for a guest room’s head­board. Or­tiz loves en­ter­tain­ing and in­vites close friends over for pool­side bar­be­cue lunches on her ter­race, fea­tur­ing the catch of the day. Af­ter­wards, she of­ten goes for me­an­der­ing walks with her kids. For her, the ap­peal of Carta­gena isn’t un­like the charm of her flirty, colour­ful ruf­fled dresses – which, de­spite their re­fined beauty, are meant to be lived, eaten and danced in. As she puts it: ‘Carta­gena is a real city. It has this mag­i­cal sense of not be­ing per­fect that I love.’

THE MAS­TER BED­ROOM’S HEAD­BOARD IS COV­ERED IN BRUNSCHWIG & FILS FAB­RIC, THE BUILT-IN SIDE TA­BLE IS CUS­TOM, AND THE VASE IS CHI­NESE. THE GUEST ROOM’S CHAISE LONG AND UZBEK PIL­LOWS ARE FROM LP DÉ­COR; THE RED PIL­LOWS ARE FROM HECHIZOO. THE HEAD­BOARD MU­RAL IS BY `MAR­KET VER­GARA.

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