Friday, 13 September 2013

Now is the time....London Fashion Week SS14

Yo yo!!! 

Long time no type I realise but life is back on track just in time for LFW SS14 Womenswear collections. New York Fashion Week is already concluded and the second of the fashion week months has already begun. 

Keep a look out for show reviews on here, along with live updates and photos on my twitter @CristoJohns and Instagram @cristojohns

Hope you enjoy!

Is that Cristo Clear


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Anyone for tennis?

Tennis and fashion have had a longer companionship than many may realise. It was long before the Williams sisters strutted out onto the grass courts of SW19 clad in oversized earrings and self designed outfits that players were being judged on what they were wearing, and how what they were wearing influenced the masses watching.

The tennis dress, a staple of many a woman's wardrobe over the summer was first conceptualised by the mother of modern fashion: Coco Chanel, who in her own words "freed the body" radically altering female sporting attire from full length dresses complete with trains and underskirts to the loose fitting, drop waist designs in jersey or light crepe, traits which remain fundamental until this day. Chanel pioneered modern day leisurewear. She invented sport suits for herself, desiring ease of movement in her outdoor activities and yet initiated a global phenomenon as others pulled inspiration from the designs she had devised. Chanel's work lead to the 1920's flapper dress (essentially an extravagantly embellished early tennis dress), the shortening of hemlines and loosening of the waist in general daywear and exposing women's arms to the shoulder for the very first time. Driving such an alteration in accepted style can be easily overlooked today where thanks to celebrities style fads can be established overnight, but what Chanel achieved is the rough equivalent to someone making the mankini acceptable beachwear or finding a valid reason to wear Crocs. 

With its middle class aura tennis is a sport that particularly inspires luxury design. Wimbledon, tennis' most prolific competition, dictates an all-white dress code which in addition to being a colour that generally keeps one cool in the sun has a history with much less practical roots. The impracticality of wearing white was used to exclude the lower classes from playing in the early days, leaving the game exclusive to those with money who could be so decadent as to wear clothes that stain incredibly easily. This further extended to other 'upper class' sporting activities. Look at the sports that require a uniformed white outfit and they will most likely have royal backgrounds. Fencing and cricket for example. The elitist aspect of 'Tennis Whites' has gone on to inspire today's luxury fashion designers, the Spring/Summer 2010 collection from French fashion house Hermès had tennis at its core. See the full collection here.


 Similarly in store right now you can find:

This Alexander McQueen spine lace dress has an elegant loose pleat and ends halfway to the knee, available half price at for £625.

For those wanting the tennis look, but fear accentuating your hips with the dropped waist, try a loose waist a la the early Chanel tennis dresses with this simple shift from Joseph at Net-A-Porter for £295. Wear with smart flats for day or an ankle exposing heel for night. 

The Paris based couturier Azzedine Alaïa uses the dropped waist tennis style dress as his signature piece.  The dress comes in a range of muted colours, white, black, navy, pale pink and neck lines and arm lengths vary slightly. The dresses are heavy and made to last a lifetime. However you will need to shell out with this particular Calypso dress coming in at £2,020 from

If those are a touch pricey, mid level or high-street equivalents can be found in the likes of Lacoste and Topshop. The tennis look can be achieved by remembering to keep the outfit:

  • white
  • dropped or loose waisted
  • with arms on show
Follow the rules and avoid excessive grunting and you are pretty much sorted. 

Is that Cristo Clear


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

What Glass Ceiling? Women In Fashion

By way of a disclaimer I will note from the off that I am not making a sweeping statement that women do not experience difficulties in the workplace. I have penned this piece as a compilation of the experiences of the women I have encountered during my time in the fashion industry, all of whom in one way or another have inspired me beyond measure and have surprised me with their own views of women in the workplace.

Whilst the Financial Times reports weekly on the disproportionally low percentage of female directors in FTSE 100 companies, within the fashion world women power ahead with ferocious success, championing an industry that is worth over £20billion in the UK alone. 


Chairperson of the Prada Group which owns Prada, Miu Miu and Church's. Miuccia Prada is, in monetary terms, the most successful female designer in the world. The group's revenue is approximately £2billion  per annum and whilst the position of CEO belongs to Patrizio Bertelli, as Mrs Prada's husband there is little worry of her top position being usurped. Mrs Prada has become famous for making the weird and the obscure fashion's most wanted. It was Prada who was the trailblazer of the oversized chunky heel back in AW12, it was  then mimicked across the high street and became favourites of Urban Outfitters and Topshop. 


The American CEO of Burberry has this month been confirmed as the highest paid CEO in the UK, raking in £16million (without taking into account share options).  Ahrendts has proven she is not just filling a directive quota. Burberry's share price has tripled during her reign at the helm of the business, which she along with creative director Christopher Bailey largely responsible for. 


The recently departed creative director of Mulberry has made her might known. Leaving over "disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy" the departure has caused a resultant tumble in the leather goods powerhouse share price. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and who has the right to say she shouldn't do otherwise having rocketed the brand into global awareness, creating the 'Alexa' and 'Del-Ray' bags and making the postman's lock the iconic feature on the "it" bag for both men and women.  


Having had the pleasure of interning at Roksanda Ilincic I personally attest the power of the Serbian born designer, with her designs draping the shoulders of even more powerful and influential figures: Michelle Obama, Samantha Cameron.... Harper Beckham (Ilincic's blossom line for girls). The global success is masterminded by a team of women from the designer's London base. The dedication of Ilincic and her surrounding female team have been rewarded winning The British Fashion Awards Red Carpet Award in 2012, adding to the many received before it.

The women who I have worked for and with succeed because they work with disregard for the idea that there is any inequality which is a wonderfully simple ideology that could be emulated across other industries. I have been surprised to hear women in fashion critique those in other industries. Stating that women who have children choose to do so and special allowances shouldn't necessarily be made for them. An extreme view this maybe, however, when it comes from those in positions of power who have succeeded in an industry which is ferociously competitive and gruelling at the bottom and subsequently had children, makes it difficult to disagree with them. Simply do not give the thought of gender inequality the time of day.

We sadly live in a contradicting world that pushes for more women in the top corporate positions, yet equally criticises women who choose to not pursue motherhood, the primary reason for leaving leaving work. Parents tell their children to ignore bullies in the playground and I feel a similar ideology can be scaled upwards to adult life. All I can advocate is the concept that positivity breeds success. So when the FT or other newspapers report that women need more representation on boards of directors, I recommend that the women trying to get there should draw inspiration from the women of the fashion world. 

Fight and be fabulous - it's a recipe for winning. 

Is that Cristo Clear


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Gods in Organza: Dolce & Gabbana SS14 Menswear

Screenshot from
There are very few of us who can say that we have been charged with tax evasion on €1 billion worth of income and produced an internationally acclaimed fashion show in the same week but that is exactly what former lovers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have been through. The design duo are known across the world as providers of luxury Italian fashion and their resultant fame has seen their names referenced in pop songs and hollywood movies. With a client list as glamourous as the clothes produced Dolce & Gabbana's empire pulls in a revenue that edges ever closer to £1.5billion. Believe the tax evasion charges or not (the pair have appealed the ruling) the designers have spearheaded a successful business plan which is enviable in an industry where ready-to-wear is majorly loss making. 

So what of the fabric and thread that they sent down the runway for their Spring/Summer 2014 Menswear show (Consider SS13 officially dead)? This is the third season that draws upon the isle of Sicily as its primary inspiration. D&G have stated that they feel so inspired by the Italian paradise they could continue on forever, putting a proverbial sock firmly in the cynical critics mouths who claim to be bored with the Greco-Roman stimulus. Personally, while repetition of inspirational material is unusual for top level designers so long as Dolce & Gabbana continue producing such superb quality merchandise time after time, long may Sicily bear fruit.

Super slimline tailoring was shown beside Zeus-Apollo prints that appeared across shorts, wide cut tops and bomber jackets. My favourite looks from the comprehensive 76 look collection can be seen here. The sleek silhouette is a favourite figure of mine and is typical of Italian tailoring. The waist cinching jackets can be very unforgiving, so I would advise the larger man to avoid these in general. But the squared tops and shorts enhance a masculine profile and can be worn by most with relative ease. Every season Dolce & Gabbana find a unique niche with their accessories and this season I believe the notable footwear will be emulated by the likes of Zara and H&M come next year. The Roman style leather sandals and waxed canvas lace-ups completed the looks, magnificently suggestive of the Sicilian afflatus.  

Images courtesy of

The models were a team of men scouted on the streets of Sicily, giving a raw element to the overall aesthetic. All I can say is if these are "non models" Sicily certainly has more to offer than lemons!

Is that Cristo Clear


Friday, 21 June 2013

Looking At Life Through Rose-Tinted Trousers

An example of how Zara mimics luxury designers. The outfit to the left is Prada.
These are my astutely named "sassy pants" purchased for the respectable sum of £59.99 from Zara womenswear last year (I am perfectly aware that I am man). The fabric is a light cotton/elastane blend and the cropped linear leg shape is dynamited by the geometric print with a stark colour blend of red, white and black. The Yemeni palette of colourant is bold and dramatic. 
Geometic print detail

Original Zara product shot
I bring these trousers to light because in spite of these trousers being explicitly sold in the ladies department I have noticed an interesting development. It is common for us as beings of interaction to comment on others clothing, whether these be compliments or insults we have all partaken in vocalising the slimming abilities of that black dress or actioning what I like to call the socks and sandals raised eyebrow. I have received a disproportionately large number of compliments when wearing this particular piece of fast-fashion tailoring, from both men and women and few from either gender can tell their original feminine origins.

This goes well beyond friend and family observations to perfect strangers at cafes and restaurants in London, where in the normal way talking to strangers is on the same social scale as kicking a puppy. Ego boosting facade aside, what nags at my curiosity is why people feel compelled to praise print with such veritable sentiment. Of course there is the possibility that people think these trousers are hideous and that when caught starring they feel compelled to cover their tracks with a seal of approval yet the frequency of comments over such an extended period of time leads me to an alternative elucidation. The majority of people are scared of print and colour in clothing, especially when used in combination and thus feel the need to make their feelings known. Monochrome designs are somehow less intimidating than a Mary Katrantzou myriad of abstract visual features. Utilising plain blocks of muted tones seem the staple for most. Significantly in the affordable menswear bracket one can observe a lack of colour or pattern. Cough cough Next, cough cough Burton. With London Collections: Men having come to a close earlier this week it can be seen that this is not the case at the forefront of fashion, with newcomers Agi & Sam to stalwart Alexander McQueen utilising print resoundingly well, but I refer to the common (without intending to sound homocentric) heterosexual man who relies too heavily on denim and an array of suppressed colours used in isolation.

Now do not get me wrong, I don't think flamboyant patterned bottoms are suitable for everyone or for every occasion. A world of Liberace imitators is not required. I stand firm on my personal credo that any man can look good in a pressed white shirt, well fit jeans and polished shoes. However, I feel an ache of dejection that more men who have the bodies for print lack the confidence to adorn themselves with it. The suitability of print can often only be judged on a case by case basis particularly with the likes of abstract designs that uniquely incorporate hundreds of shapes and hues. As a general rule printed trousers will look impacting on anyone and a cut or design can be found that will showoff the wearer in their best light.

My advice to men (or women) wanting to try printed trousers is to pair them with very plain tops and shoes that are a featured colour of the print. For example when wearing my sassy pants I will always team with a black shirt or jumper and black shoes. By using a colour that is an integral part of the design the outfit will remain cohesive and not be too overwhelming. It is about keeping the individual looking sleek and not a mess of colour and shape.

A foray into the world of printed trousers is one that requires cojones. Expect attention and comments, but follow my advice and this will only be positive because an added benefit of wearing print is it makes you feel good. Certainly in my experience I feel happy to have stepped out of the proverbial box and into the literal dressing up box of print and pattern that is available. I am confident that those of you who do to will feel the same. The colour yellow is widely accepted to induce happiness yet it is common knowledge that wearing yellow can be tricky. So skip the clothing equivalent of prozac and go straight to valium in the form of stripes, periodic swirls and repeated triangles. 

Is that Cristo Clear?


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Long Hard Slog (A bit self helpy but there is fashion content in there)

Should you have followed my explicit instructions and checked out TWENTY6 Magazine you would see that not only is it as wonderful as I had described but that my name is credited on several shoots. And while this is a sickening display of blowing my own trumpet I am honoured to work for the magazine and am extremely proud of the work that has been produced. Plus I am only a small part out of the group that went into producing the issue and I wish to celebrate everyone. Working in the fashion industry is in no way glamorous and I am not saying that for sympathy or to make my life sound more dramatic it is simply the way it is. 

All screenshots have been taken from

Showcasing Haizhen Wang's SS13 Collection 

Beauty Shoot: Hydrolysis for which I am credited stylist
We will all naturally complain about aspects of our work, that is human nature, and yet there are so many who do not realise how lucky they are. If you can go to work, survive the week coming home with enough money to survive and (once home with a cuppa or a pint) think things are ok. That is all you can really ask for.

Too many people expect too much for too little. The one thing interning and the fashion industry has taught me is that no one owes you anything, you really do reap what you sow, get what you ask for etc. I work harder now than I ever did at school because unlike having to achieve in order to jump through a hoop simply because you have to, I am trying to achieve something for myself. A state I find stressful but oddly addictive. 

I am quite happy to plainly state that working in the fashion industry is without doubt on one level more exciting and glamourous than say financial auditing is. I will also state that the fashion industry does not require the academic prowess of a medical professional. However we are not saving peoples lives! Sure there are those that act like we are but that is in most cases an expression of passion. I admire those that pursue fashion with such furore. The industry is one of the most competitive in the world and one of the worst paid and those who do not attack each working day will quickly fall by the way side, either forgotten or pushed out by someone with more dedication and desire. Stick in second gear and you will fail quite frankly.

My point is that those in fashion work exceedingly hard and I will not be told that we have it easy. The showy exterior of fashion takes an incredible amount of work to maintain. That analogy of a swan looking graceful on above water while its legs kick fiercely beneath springs to mind. It is a combination of long hours, genuine enthusiasm and networking. I am not alone in worrying continuously about money and continuously looking for work, but I love what I do. So long as I can continue to survive then I have very little to actually complain about. I finish by specifying that I am not implying those outside of the fashion industry don't work hard, just that it is possible to "cruise" along in a steady job and fall into a steady monotony, a comfortable luxury that does not exist in the world of la modé. 

Appreciating that was a tad sombre please excuse me while I go dance around the living room listening to various sassy pop diva remixes. Nothing like living to a stereotype to cheer yourself up. And while I do that, enjoy the pieces I worked on this issue. 

Story: Hot Hot Heat 
My favourite look from Hot Hot Heat truly channeling some sex appeal.
Story: Hallucinate 
My favourite look shot through a crystal to create ghostly distortion.

Hope that is all Cristo Clear!


Monday, 8 April 2013

TWENTY6 Magazine - H is for...

With each issue paying homage to a letter of the alphabet, TWENTY6 Magazine is a fashion and art magazine that I have had the pleasure of working at since the beginning of this year. Under the leadership of Tilly Hardy (Fashion Director) the online magazine produces quarterly issues featuring fashion and beauty spreads as well as art and lifestyle features with accompanying moving image pieces by way of a unique selling point.

H Issue is here
*Images are screenshots courtesy of
Unless you happen to stumble upon the magic money tree or secure considerable financial backing, launching any form of print media is becoming increasingly difficult. Following the same path as hand writing, CD's and the ability to communicate, magazines are swiftly moving online. Media giants like Condé Nast and Hearst Magazines survive having been established in a time when they did not have giants to compete with and have the financial stores to maintain themselves. With the oligopoly-styled construction of the fashion media industry the internet provides a solution for new talent looking for a platform of promotion and expression. 

TWENTY6 last week published the H Issue. The eighth instalment of the magazine brings an eclectic selection of fashion and beauty stories that exhibit high-end creativity and impact with their raw and beautiful content. Contrasting wonderfully to more commercial titles such as Vogue and Elle. TWENTY6 displays stories with titles that include: Hot Hot Heat, Hi-Ya Huh Ha, Hellraiser and House of Dolls. There are video interviews with designers who have an initial "H" giving insight into the likes of Fashion Fringe winner Haizhen Wang and stalwart shoe designer Terry De Havilland. The magazine is cleanly constructed and wonderfully creative without being pretentious. Just what you want from a modern fashion magazine quite frankly: accessibility and shit-hot content! 

Fashion and Beauty segments

Lifestyle, Showcase and Moving Image Sections
Now make sure you subscribe to the magazine by adding your email to the mailing list and follow us on twitter, like us on facebook, pin us on pinterest, do whatever it is you do on to us instagram, the lot! TWENTY6 is only producing two issues this year with the I Issue coming out around September, it is going to be a major one for the magazine so make sure you know what it is all about. 

Is that Cristo Clear?


ps. don't be a douche and ask me what will happen after Z Issue, who knows what the future holds :)