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Coveted Interviews

Emerging Designer: Cristalette

If you mention Cristalette, around the SF local fashion scene and you’ll get a response like “Oh! Cris Armijo! She’s lovely!” I’ve never met her in person, but I certainly like her fashion sense, the bold colors, fierce patterns and sexy cuts. A few weeks ago, I posted about a fashion show she was doing, that’s when we got in touch to do an interview…

The Coveted: How would you describe Cristalette?
Cris Armijo: Cristalette is my alter-ego. The phrase “over the top” does not exist in her reality. She never asks her friends if she looks okay, and definitely never worries about an outfit being “too much”. She is confident, aggressively stylish, and avoids taking herself too seriously. Cristalette is too busy to fuss and fight with her clothes. She just wants something hot and stylish that her friends want to borrow and that’s easy to put on and take off!!
TC: How did you start designing clothes?
CA: I started designing clothes in my pre-teens with my mom. I always loved fashion and playing with different looks. I would pick up inspiring garments from the thrift stores and my mom would help me execute my alteration ideas. I would always change something to make it more modern- a sleeve shape, a hemline, a collar, buttons…I still do custom vintage alterations for myself and a few private clients/friends.

TC: Cristalette makes some wild and fantastic clothes, with gold lame, and bright colors, where the did inspiration come from?
CA: Basically, I make clothes that I want to wear! If I need something for my wardrobe, - something really trendy- or some shape that I’m interested in- I make it and sometimes it becomes Cristalette. For this season, all my fabrics are very bright and bold. I really wanted to go on a tropical vacation- so I just made a wardrobe for myself as if I was going to some hot island somewhere that had really good dance clubs. I also studied the style of Annabella of Bow Wow Wow, and Tina Weymouth of the Tom Tom Club. I listened to a lot of the Slits and Talking Heads when making this collection. I am very much inspired by iconic female musicians, and their ability to condense an entire attitude into a precise look that anyone can reference and interpret.
TC: How do you you think the SF Bay Area affects your style?
CA: The SF bay area has an abundance of fashion-conscious people, and I like that! I grew up and went to school here, so it’s hard to say how I’ve been influenced, fashionally. . I guess it affects my style in that I like to show people what’s possible- I like to wear “risky” fashion- shapes, colors and concepts that the sensible people of the bay area are too scared to wear. I do wish people around here were a bit bolder and less wary about wearing eye-catching color and patterns. I read somewhere that “color shows confidence”. I think that’s true, I definitely feel more powerful in an all red outfit than I do in blue jeans and a grey tee or something.
TC: Do you have a favorite item of clothing? What is it?
CA: My absolutely #1 favorite item of clothing is a pair of sailor style vintage bell bottom jeans. Perfect fit!! The bells are big, but the butt and waist are tight and high- allowing me to wear those too-short tops that are abundant in the thrift stores! Also, they are just so timeless. They can go from bombshell to suburban to hippie chic with a change of shoes.

TC: Favorite 5 designers…
CA: In no particular order: Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Coco Chanel, Tom Ford. That was a difficult one, and not totally comprehensive….

TC: What are your plans for the weekend?
CA: Tonight, I’m going to paint my toes neon pink, obsessively check out my new tattoo and watch Battlestar Galactica on DVD. Tomorrow night I’m playing with my samba band at an SF high school senior prom. I’m really excited because I get to wear this amazing poufy fairy princess prom dress. Can you imagine prom outfits on a samba band??!! I can’t wait- the pictures are going to be priceless!

TC: Where can we find you?
CA: Cristalette clothing is carried by:
The Painted Bird in San Francisco,
Down at Lulu’s in Oakland, and The
Pretty Penny in Berkeley.
Penelope’s, Chicago IL
Bona Drag Boutique, Encinitas CA
Pallenberg, Austin TX

You can find me at any thrift store, vintage store, fabric store or hamburger joint in the Bay Area. And of course at Cristalette.com!!

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6 comments for “Emerging Designer: Cristalette”


    Posted by cris armijo | May 30, 2007, 2:43 pm
  2. We want you in NY!!! i love your work :)

    Posted by Bobble Bee | May 30, 2007, 2:54 pm
  3. Amazing interview. So interesting and informative. I love cristalette and the risky fun fashion that cris armijo creates. I am a proud owner of many cristalette pieces. I cant wait to see what the future holds for this designer.

    Posted by Sarah | May 30, 2007, 3:11 pm
  4. she has great style :)
    love the gold dress!

    Posted by Jennifer | May 30, 2007, 6:19 pm
  5. I love your blog too, its got some really interesting stuff on it, esp the “todays attire” feature.

    Yes, I’ll link you now!

    S xx

    Posted by discothequechic | May 31, 2007, 4:38 am
  6. [...] Do you remember the days when jeans were way cooler with rips and holes? You know, like around the time Axel Rose could still complete a sentence. I remember doing all kinds of things, dripping bleach, cutting holes, drawing ankhs and peace signs, sometimes even the boy I happened to be going out with at the time. Well, destroying denim is probably been around for as long as jeans were in fashion, and it never really leaves us… but for some reason, I’ve been a little more reluctant to chop up my favorite pair of $200 jeans, even if I’ve worn them until they’ve got holes in them too. And the old jeans? Well, I left my old jeans in San Francisco. Luckily, I was able to find a bunch of high waisted Levi’s and Wranglers at the flea market… So it’s time to do some experimenting. Here are a few images I have in my mind… Alexander Wang’s AW08 with ripped up nylons, Christopher Kane SS08 (the shirt, not so much) and the lovely Cristalette [...]

    Posted by Search and Destroy | THE COVETED | July 7, 2008, 8:00 am

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