In Johanna Ortiz’s world, ruffles, flounces, and big, billowy sleeves are always in fashion. “Even going to a breakfast, a woman should be festive,” says the Colombian designer. But then Ortiz, who is based in Cali, a balmy city best known as the salsa-dancing capital of the world, can’t help her extroverted ways. “I’m from a party town,” she says. “It’s in the blood.” Ortiz, 43, studied fashion design in the U.S. and launched her line in 2001, but she only brought her wares Stateside three years ago, selling them exclusively through Moda Operandi. Her Tulum top, a balloon-sleeve number that seemed to defy gravity, immediately sold out, putting her name on the international style map and initiating a full-force trend for off-the-shoulder dressing. These days it is nearly impossible to attend a spring benefit or a summer wedding and not see several Johanna Ortiz–attired women shimmying about like the dancing-lady-in-the-red-dress emoji. The appeal of Ortiz’s clothes, aside from their sultry charm, is that they look sensational on virtually every figure. “I always want to flatter women,” says the petite designer, who tries on every piece herself. “Everything looks wonderful on a model, but it has to work on real women too.” That goes for her recently launched swimwear line too, which no doubt will be causing heads to turn from Cartagena to the Cote d’Azur this summer. Here, as we all plan our holidays—and accompanying wardrobe—Ortiz offers her own glamorous travel tips:
Where are you headed this summer:
We try to discover new places. I went on a road trip from San Francisco to L.A last year with my husband and kids and we stayed in Carmel at the Carmel Valley Ranch, which is a peaceful nature retreat, spa, and vineyard, all in one place. We loved it! This year, I would love to go to Portugal or South of France but, no matter where we go, we always finish our summer vacations in our house at Key Biscayne.
Favorite mode of travel both long and short:
Best travel companion:
Go-to travel outfit:
Anything comfortable but not too sporty. Usually, a shirtdress over jeans.
What’s in your carry-on:
A sketching notebook, an iPad, magazines, and a book. Right now, I would highly recommend Laura Joh Rowland's The Concubine's Tattoo. Also, I am in love with Japan-based novels.
Best beauty products for travel:
Tata Harper Elixir and Be True lip treatment.
Something you would never wear on the plane:
A miniskirt or shorts.
A packing mistake to avoid:
Packing too light.
Favorite accessories to pair with your new swimwear collection:
Rebecca de Ravenel earrings.
Favorite hotel in the world:
Four Seasons Jackson Hole. I love the mountains in Jackson Hole. When you find the perfect true ski in, ski out, you get spoiled. And for me it is really important that it is great for adults and kids.
Best souvenir you have ever picked up on a trip:
A straw hat from Cartagena. I get one everytime I go!
Watch W's most popular videos here: