Virginia Johnson

5272C69F-DE65-4A42-B2E4-40EDB2212B40A I had a surgery last Thursday. Nothing serious. Everything went off without a hitch (unless you coun terrible hospital food and administration gaffes). I am supposed to be convalescing but I felt so good post op that maybe I over exerted myself. And maybe I had to spend yesterday couch and bedridden.


Anyway, downtime bores me, but the discomfort wouldn’t let me focus much on productive, paying work so instead I found myself sorting through my many, scarves. Which then led me to realize how many Virginia Johnson scarves I have. Which led me to realize how many Virginia Johnson things I have. 


Johnson is a Toronto-based textile designer and artist.  She studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York,  worked as a design assistant at Helmut Lang and later illustrator for Kate Spade. Johnson returned to Toronto and started up her own eponymous range of screen printed clothing and accessories. The label had a cult of devotees that in my salad days I always wanted to join.

Then, when Target made its disastrous attempt at entering the Canadian Market, Johnson announced a collaboration with the chain called “Le Weekend.” Hooray, I thought, I will finally be able to afford something! And then Target pulled out of Canada leaving the collection stranded.

After that, Johnson closed her College Street Boutique and announced that she was taking a time out.

I have, at times, found a few VJ scarves at the VV (including the silk square pictured at the top of this post and the white and green grid dot stole shown above). But mostly I had regrets about not ponying up the dough to buy some Johnson originals while I had the chance.

So while I still didn’t have any money, I bought everything I could at the closing sale, including an actual watercolour illustration, a big, modal shawl depicting figs (pictured above beside the grid scarf), a bathing suit and beach bag from the “Le Weekend” collection (above), and an excellent kimono jacket that was missing its belt (below). 643ADA64-F0FC-4EAC-A083-FBAA4A60BEA3

Johnson is also an author. I bought her beautifully illustrated book, Travels Through The French Riviera. There is clearly an aspirational aspect to Johnson’s charms. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out in France looking effortlessly chic but also somehow artistic and a little quirky? On one hand, I still feel like the lady for whom these objects were just a little out of reach. But now that I’ve done a reckoning of these objects, I realize that I am a full-fledged cult member.


By the way, Johnson is back in business, selling scarves and books and things on her website,