Archive for March, 2012

Win gown inspired by Siriano's Wonderstruck creation

March 20th, 2012

wonderstruck dressA facsimile of this Christian Siriano confection, created for Taylor Swift's Wonderstruck campaign, is up for grabs.

Taylor Swift is launching her “13 Days of Wonder” sweepstakes giving her fans a chance to win a gown inspired by the Christian Siriano one she wears in the commercial for her Wonderstruck fragrance.

Fans visiting the singer's Facebook page can enter on the Wonderstruck tab beginning March 21 for a chance to be one of 12 winners who receives a bottle of Wonderstruck, or the grand prize winner of the Wonderstruck-inspired gown and a bottle of the fragrance. You will be allowed to enter every day through April 9 to increase your chances of winning.

The contest is open to girls and women, ages 13 to 35, who are residents of the United States. Winners will be announced in late April. (more…)

'Here,' filmed at Royal Hawaiian, now online

March 15th, 2012

Non-flash link

"Here," the latest indie film offering from Lucas Guadagnino ("I Am Love"), filmed in part at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, can now be viewed on YouTube.

The short film, directed by Waris Ahluwalia and starring Agyness Deyn, is about a young woman's journey to The Luxury Collection properties on the trail of a mysterious suitor.

Some background:

Ivy Higa launches Chic & Sheer online

March 15th, 2012

Eric Hason photos

Ivy Higa's Elana blouse is one of five pieces from her Chic & Sheer collection available for purchase at her website.

Hawaii designer Ivy Higa has just launched her secondary label, Chic & Sheer by Ivy h., a clever collection of 100 percent sheer silk chiffon tops with cotton accents that reveal and conceal only as much flesh as its wearer chooses.

Its launch March 8 coincided with the debut of her e-commerce site,

“I took to heart the idea of working smarter, not harder,” said the designer, who, since leaving “Project Runway” in season eight, has continued to live and work in New York for such high-profile designers and brands as Zac Posen, Diane von Furstenberg and Theory.

“Basically, I was killing myself trying to put together 36-piece collections by myself, trying to do the marketing — I wear so many hats. So I tried to think of a signature product that would allow me to build a strong foundation that I could continue to build on,” she said my phone interview with the designer, that appears in the paper today.
She decided to focus on light, ethereal tops that could transition from day to night and are minimalist enough to suit a wide range of women. Like the little black dress in separates form, she’s aiming to have her styles become wardrobe staples.

There are five styles in all, with three variations in sewing technique and embellishment. Basic tops start at $255 to $325, with delivery May 15. Each style  also has one version utilizing pin-tuck pleat details, and another embellished with sequins and Swa­rov­ski crystals. Each style will be available in three colors: black, gray and navy blue.

Take a look and support one of our own!


Women for women at DVF

March 15th, 2012

dvfwomen1Nadine Kam photos
DVF Honolulu boutique manager Marilee Mattson welcomed Dr. Nancie Caraway and Gov. Neil Abercrombie to the store on March 8 for a presentation marking International Women's Day.

Hawaii's First Lady, Dr. Nancie Caraway hosted a cocktail event at the DVF boutique at Ala Moana Center March 8 to benefit The Women's Fund, a nonprofit that supports grassroots programs that empower women and girls in Hawaii.

The group believes that communities prosper when women thrive, and address factors that stand the way of women’s success, such as violence, adolescent pregnancies, low self-esteem, physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, prostitution, incarceration, immigrant status, inadequate childcare, sports inequities, reproductive rights, poverty, disabilities and more.

Ten percent of proceeds from sales that evening will support the group, while another 10 percent of sales from that day through this evening will support the Vital Voices organization.

DVF has long been a supporter of women's rights and empowerment, and her annual "Proud to Be Woman" campaign includes an array of "Proud to Be Woman" logo items, from totes to a music play button, sales of which go to to women's programs.

Of course Caraway had her husband in tow, who read a proclamation in support of these efforts, timing his finale to the end of the video of DVF's New York Fashion Week show, saying, "Diane will be showing up soon." It took a while, but when she appeared on screen, all applauded, so it felt as if she were really in the house again!

Diane von Furstenberg's annual "Proud to be Woman" campaign reflects her long-term commitment to women’s empowerment, with fundraising events that benefit women's shelters and other women's organizations. This year's beneficiaries are Vital Voices and The Women's Fund.

dvfmDesigner Sophia with Hifi's Melissa May White.

dvfredSoon-to-be-wed Sherri Vallejo, left, Lizette Chang-Zahn and I all decided to try on DVF's Fleurette chiffon dress with batwing sleeves, available every season in new colors. Yellow's coming, but Sherri and I decided to get the red, while Lizette holds out for a dramatic maxi.

dvf3Here I am again, back in the much more muted clothes I showed up in, with Chanel Wong, in gold sequin walking short she found at DVF's Las Vegas boutique. I love sequins but made the mistake of buying a couple items online, where you can't really determine the size, spacing, density and light-reflecting properties of the sequins. Too many variables to leave up to chance. Never again.

dvfmenThere were some men there, besides the governor. Finding space in a corner, away from the shopping frenzy, from left, are Joe Bock, James Owen, John Vavricka and Marilee's husband Alan Mattson.

dvftHelen Nielson, board president of the Hawaii Islands Land Trust, right, with City Council member Tulsi Gabbard, who was there to introduce Abigail Nickell, executive Director at Women's Fund of Hawaii, beneficiary of 10 percent of the evening's sales proceeds.

'Fashion Star' a win for designers, retailers

March 14th, 2012

hmfsH&M photos
The Amy dress by Sarah Parrott was my favorite of the evening and is now available at H&M for $19.95. It has a mix of edginess and structure with cutout back and front pocket details. It was shown in leather on the runway, and teal fabric. It looked really expensive and I can't believe they got it down to this price point!

My Style cover in tomorrow's paper will be featuring a couple of "Project Runway" alums, but now the TV show has competition itself with last night's debut of NBC’S "Fashion Star."

This time, there's money involved from the get go, with buyers from Macy's (Caprice Willard), Saks Fifth Avenue (Terron E. Schaefer) and H&M (Nicole Christie) opting on the spot to bid for the designers' line, or not.

Last night, it was mostly nots, but six designers received offers of $50,000 to $80,000 for their mostly three-piece collections. In this want-it-now instant gratification times, the pieces are in the stores today. It's a stroke of marketing genius because the sums paid, while a lot and meaningful to the designers, is paltry compared to the millions of dollars the retailers would have to pay for TV ad exposure of the same duration.

What you won't see is great fashion because there's less idealism and less design than "Project Runway." The focus here has more to do with marketing, branding and what real people want to wear, rather than critical voices looking for genius. As the obnoxious designer Oscar Fierro said to his buyer critics, they may have seen his dresses before but they haven't seen his name on the label.
macysfsThis dress by Edmond Newton was a hit with the mentors on "Fashion Star." His collection was purchased by Macy's for $60,000 and this dress is now available for $110 at

Most of what was shown Tuesday I've seen millions of times before, a point made by celebrity mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos. But when it came to the buys, well, there's really only a handful of styles that flatter a mass of people, and Macy's made three purchases geared toward that. It's hard to go wrong with halter dresses and resort caftan maxi (sold out).

What was also interesting was the changes made in the transition from runway to real way. Edmond Newton's V-neckline halter dress in white and black (selling for $110) was shown on a woman but it looked junior to me and sure enough, makes a timely prom offering. The same goes for a similar black dress with rosette details ($99), which was toned down for market. Buyer Caprice made the point that her intention is to dress real women with curves, whereas other design shows are geared toward dressing models who, let's face it, tend to look great even when wearing rice sacks, burlap bags or trash bags.
Nzimiro Oputa's Mark men’s jacket, $49.95, at H&M.

H&M made my favorite picks of the night, with Sarah Parrott's Amy dress ($19.95) and Nzimiro Oputa's Mark men’s jacket ($49.95), both fitting the brand's forward, contemporary appeal at prices set for adults with children's budgets. There are so many details in the fully lined linen blend jacket, including two welt pockets up top, welt pockets and fastened pockets at front, imitation suede elbow patches, decorative buttons, and back vent. It's amazing that they can offer them at these prices.

Following each designer presentation, the designers get a critical reaction from the mentors, then turn around to face the buyers. It must be devastating to come up with "No offer" across the board, but there were few surprises.

saksSaks photo
Orly Shani's zipper mini skirt duo was picked up by Sak's Fifth Avenue.

The biggest surprise to me was Saks' $80,000 purchase of Orly Shani's zipper mini skirt ($350). It's a novel idea. The high waistband skirt has a with zipper detail and inch away from the top, with a zippered beaded chiffon layer that is detachable. The designer said it's because she doesn't have money so needs her pieces to be versatile. With the overlay it's beautiful, but once the chiffon layer was zipped off, the skirt underneath looked cheap, and I couldn't see using the zippered chiffon piece as a scarf.

It really didn't say Saks customer to me. It seemed too troubling to zip on and off. The mentors said she needed to refine her idea. But realistically, removing the chiffon layer will make the piece easier to launder, and women who have $350 probably don't care about getting a second skirt underneath. It actually sold out!

Other designers who received offers were Lizzie Parker and Nikki Poulos. Nicholas Bowes, who showed beautiful motorcycle jackets, got the boot for his bad attitude, getting testy with the mentors and telling Nicole and Jessica that as women they don't understand men's fashion. Excusez-moi! Jessica said she wanted to smack him in the face.

The buyers who gave him the boot said that by not being open to criticism, they didn't believe he would be able to grow. Cie la vie! Sayonara! And good riddance. In real life, nobody wants to work with an argumentative difficult person either.

macysfs2This kimono-sleeved caftan by Nikki Poulos is sold out at, where it was listed for $89.

Coradorables live on Zulily

March 13th, 2012

co1Photos courtesy Coradorables
A pink-and-green version of Coradorables kimono dress for toddlers and girls, is $44.99 at

Local kidswear designer Cora Spearman's Coradorables line is now available on today through Friday.

Zulily offers daily deals for moms, infants and kids, with prices up to 70 percent off boutique brands encompassing unique apparel, baby gear, toys, accessories, and more. The sales are temporary, but reach more than 5 million people in 90 countries.

Among Cora's adorable creations are kimono tops, jumpsuits and ribbon dresses that often have moms requesting adult versions.

You'll have to join to shop, at

Coradorables Oahu tunic for toddlers and girls, originally $70, now $25.99 at

coracapCoradorables black and hot pink flower crochet beanie for infants, toddlers and girls, $10.99 at Zulily.

corashirtAnd let's not forget the boys, a sea life button-up shirt for $27.99.

Girls will be boys in strength and determination

March 6th, 2012

Photos courtesy Steven Bern

From left, Anna Meng, Takeo, Sherri Rolf and Eric Chandler.

Designers Eric Chandler and Takeo hosted their annual "Women of Distinction" tea party Feb. 26 at Tea at 1024. Each event is a dress-up affair, but while last year's event required only a hat, this time around the women were asked to don a hat plus menswear to show they're man enough to take on the world.

I wasn't able to attend, but Steven Bern sent these great photos. Many of the women came in their husbands clothes, but they were asked to speak about their fathers and how the father-daughter relationship may have helped them become the strong women they are today.

Awards for dressing were as follows:

Best Dressed: Charlyn Honda Masini, Dr. Caroline Hee
Best Air Force Uniform: Leilani Keough
Best Hawaiian Cowboy: Marian Morrison
Best Speech: Robyn Furuya

women6From left, Kika Matsumoto, Pamela Young (who could tell?) and Charlyn Honda Masini.

women2From left, Marian Morrison, Iwalani Tseu and Caroline Hee.

women3From left, Aureana Tseu, Kristian Lei, Kathryn Teruya and Kim Teruya.

women1Leilani Keough, left, and Estell Green.

women5Iwalani Tseu always knows how to find the humor in life and can have people laughing and/or crying in a matter of minutes.

women7Tea at 1024's Michele Henry provided the setting and afternoon tea.

Here's a link to Pamela Young's story about the event: KITV

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