Ottolinger’s edgy rebellion thrusts forward into the future

Ottolinger tapped Bronx-based artist Cheyenne Julien to collaborate on its Fall/Winter 2021 collection

Fashion designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, the names behind the Berlin-based label Ottolinger, crafted a narrative that looks toward the future by reinterpreting the past. To help realize the Fall/Winter 2021 collection, they tapped Bronx-based artist Cheyenne Julien to collaborate on a print for the collection.

“We asked Cheyenne to collaborate with us, as we absolutely love her work,” stated the duo. “We discovered Cheyenne through our ongoing art research and she is the first artist we are collaborating with who is not in our close friend circle, which makes the collaboration extra special for us. For an artist to trust us to work with their very personal artwork is very special.”

Julien created a colorful montage of her family and friends in various states, a work of fantastical realism that questions that status quo. To complete the creative collaboration, Shotti NYC photographed Julien and two of her close friends, artists Tau Lewis and Eric N. Mack, dressed in looks that are a mix of oversized shirts, trousers embellished with lacing on the side, and a slinky, below-the-knee skirt detailed with a slit. The image reflects the identity politics of race, class, and mental health imbued within Julien’s work.

“My work is based on personal narratives. Race is something that is inherent in all of my painting, but some works represent it more overtly than others. I think there is power in clarity, and I also think there’s power in nuance,” said Julien.

In the video, the collection, juxtaposed against an eerily dystopian environment, is all about Ottolinger’s “future-elf” aesthetic. The duo looked at the tradition and wrongs of the past, adding a touch of rebelliousness before looking into the future. Asymmetrical silhouettes hint at the idea of deconstruction and reconstruction, like in the statement-making mustard, knee-length mustard puffer, and a floral skirt set with a revealing slit that reaches the waist. The collection is filled with just the right amount of attitude to move forward into a (hopefully) better future.