JOHNJOHN Ditching II, haute couteur par excellance of Bacolod, got the thrill of his life when Albert Andrada, president of the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines, invited him to be one of the designers from all over the Philippines to create a gown for Miss Indonesia for the Fashion and National Auction Gift Gala held a week prior to the 2016 Miss Universe coronation.
Albert Andrada famed for having made the iconic blue dress, which Pia Wurztbach wore when she was crowned Miss Universe 2015, was commissioned to chair the Fashion and the National Auction Night Gala.
It was a chance for Filipino designers to shine as all 86 candidates ramped in designs made by local designers. Johnjohn was the only Bacolod designer requested for the occasion and three came from neighboring Iloilo City.
The National Gift Auction has been a mandatory pre-pageant event of the Miss Universe. It is a night intended for goodwill and charity. Gifts given by Miss Universe candidates are displayed and 10 are auctioned off.
The auction sought to raise funds for HIV/Aids awareness and prevention, and the recipient was the Positive Action Foundation Philippines Inc.
Gowns worn by the candidates were the colors of our Philippine flag: red, blue, and white. Johnjohn’s assigned color was red and to set himself away from the norm, he chose to revive the material, velvet, which looked stunning in the beauteous Miss Indonesia Kezia Warouw. After the show, through her manager, she extended her heartfelt gratitude to Johnjohn.
Johnjohn grew up exposed to the world of clothes with his Mom having a dress shop. Originally however, his life path pointed elsewhere. He was a nursing student, but his drawing pad was abundant with sketches.
An invitation came from La Carlota City for him to design a gown for one of the candidates of the Pasalamat festival, Ivy May McFarland, who became a runaway winner not only for best in gown, but also for the Pasalamat Queen crown.
This opportunity opened a new door for Johnjohn and so his life path changed. A year of schooling and training at Slim’s of Manila earned him much knowledge in his now chosen career. With his Mom’s atelier, it was not a steep climb entering the world of fashion. Johnjohn started designing clothes for his mother’s clients and eventually inheriting them.
At 21, in the year 1991, he became a professional designer. He had clients from all walks of life then, but did not really have a focus on what was essentially a Johnjohn Ditching creation.
My first encounter with Johnjohn was when the Association of Negros Producers conceptualized a fashion show showcasing all local designers in 1992. The project was called Biste Negrense. As president of the ANP, and with the help of my good friend Edouard Garcia (trained in the different houses in Paris), who approved or disapproved all sketches of the designers, we endeavored to bring out the best in our local designers and with the participation of almost a hundred models from age 3 to 53. It was ambitious as well as mind-boggling!
Johnjohn wanted to play it safe but upon Edouard’s scrutiny said: “John, you can do better than this.” With that, Johnjohn was inspired to assert his wanton desires in design and came out with masterpieces.
Now 25 years in the business, Johnjohn says he has developed his particular “look” and people can identify a Johnjohn original. So who are the women/men happily donning a Johnjohn creation? Quick to reply, Johnjohn says: “people who like to dress up.” His clothes are basically classic, but most definitely with a twist. Are you influenced by just a specific line? He continues: “Not particularly. I can go from structured to fluid.”
Aren’t clothes supposed to be tailored to a client’s desire? Was my follow up question. Especially for newbie clients, Johnjohn always starts with a question and answer portion. What is the occasion? What time? What do you like to do? What image would you like to portray?
From this Q&A, Johnjohn can grasp the personality of the person whether she can look outstanding being candid yet flirty or be a knockout in elegance. Every client is unique and there is always a compromise between the creator and the person who will wear the creation.
This happy compromise has brought Johnjohn Ditching II to where he is today. One of the best designers we have in Negros and definitely my favorite!
Kudos to you Johnjohn! Wearing a Johnjohn creation can always make one look absolutely and confidently beautiful!