Archive for May, 2012

Anne Namba wins IMMIE Bravo Award

May 31st, 2012

nambaAICI photo
Anne Namba accepts her IMMIE Award.

Designer Anne Namba of Anne Namba Designs was honored on May 20 with the Association of Image Consultants International's IMMIE Bravo Award of Excellence at the Marriott Waikiki Resort, marking the end of the association's conference in Honolulu.

The award is presented annually for outstanding contribution to the group, its members or clients.

Past recipients of the IMMIE — Image Makers Merit of Industry Excellence — include Oprah Winfrey, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Dr. P.M. Forni, author and founder of the Civility Proj­ect at Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to her local retail operation, Namba has designed costumes for Hawaii Opera Theatre and for "Madame Butterfly," presented at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland. She also presented "Fashion in Motion" in New York to benefit Mikhail Baryshnikov's Art Center.

Nancy E. Pace, also from Honolulu, received the association's Civility Star Award for philanthropic efforts.

The association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the level of professionalism and enhancing the recognition of image consultants.

The four-day conference included workshops on such topics as "The New Esthetics of Human Identity," "Nice Matters," "Values Communication Through Personal Style," "Techno-Etiquette: How to Be a Cyber Superstar and Build Your Online Brand" and "I Don't Need an Image Consultant, She Does!"

Homegrown closet designer to the stars on HGTV

May 18th, 2012

Everyone dreams of the perfect closet and an HGTV special, "Million Dollar Closets," offers a voyeuristic peek into the world of celebrity closet designer Lisa Adams, of LA Closet Designs, who's from Hawaii.

From Bel Air estates to Malibu mansion, Hawaii's Lisa Adams will give TV audiences a glimpse into celebrity closets and high-profile client demands with the airing of "Million Dollar Closets" tonight at 8 p.m. on HGTV.

The University Lab School graduate headed for California after high school, and after intending to study chemistry, started having second thoughts about spending a career in a laboratory.

Her new laboratory became the home, where she specialized in creating custom closets with a place for everything.

As the go-to-designer for the rich and famous looking to make their closets as luxurious as the rest of their lives, HGTV came calling.

In this premiere one-hour special, that took six months to film, Lisa takes on clients Kris, Kylie and Kendall Jenner (of The Kardashians fame) and designer/reality star Whitney
Port, among other whos-who of Los Angeles.

Depending on the response to the premiere, more episodes may follow. Although initially leery about being on reality television, in a phone interview yesterday, Lisa said, "I'll probably huddle at home and watch it in private," but if it gets picked up as a series, she's ready to go, because there's no shortage of closets that need work.


May 16th, 2012

m1Nadine Kam photos
Our own design star Melissa Rivera, center, with Ruthie Chong, left, and Sunway.

It was a two-fer kind of night at Fishcake on May 9, celebrating artist and designer Melissa Rivera's appearance on HGTV's "White Room Challenge," as well as Richie Miao's presentation of some of his latest Lovelessizm designs.

The episode of "White Room Challenge" actually had its TV debut the night before, but those who had missed it had a chance to see Melissa going about the task of designing a room with candy. The show is a spinoff of HGTV's "Design Star," which Melissa had auditioned for earlier. She nearly made the cut, so they invited her to tryout for this show.

She drew on one of her favorite small kid time icons, the robot, to create her room, and in the end came in second place—I think—only because she didn't use enough candy in her design. Otherwise, her room was far more striking than the rest, and she used her candy cleverly, as robot gears, than the others, who had strewn it around the floor just for the sake of filling their rooms with candy.

Can't wait to see what she does next!

mroom2HGTV photos
Melissa's robot room for kids, created during HGTV's "White Room Challenge!"

mroomMelissa at work.

richiemodelsRichie Miao, center, and his models, in his Lovelessizm designs.

Non-flash video link

mlollyMelissa dressed Fishcake in colorful giant "lollipops" that she created in advance of her TV debut.

mtresSome fans of Melissa's Unleash Studio T-shirt designs. From left, Steve Hall, Mark Osman and Josh Lyons.

mbotSome of Melissa's creations were on display, including her robot desk caddy ....

mlamp... Her doggie lamp ...

mastro... and her Robonaut lamp.

melissaMelissa with Luu Tran.

mgumballShe thought of everything, including such playful parting gifts as robot lollipops and gumball machines! Who doesn't love feeling like a kid again?

The vibe was more adult when models hit the floor, showing off the sleek lines of Lovelessizm's new designs for men and women, with some pieces available now at Richie Miao's I AM. boutique. Check out the video.

richieRichie, like one of the models!

r2HI State of Mind designer Katrina Langford, left, and Salty Girl jewelry designer Amber Chesebro, right, came to show their support, with Lauren Roth and Jamie Allen.

r3Designer Jaclyn Santos and George Quaiver.

1 T.J. Maxx down, 2 more to go!

May 9th, 2012

Tj5T.J. Maxx photo
Opening morning at T.J. Maxx's Ward Village store.

T.J. Maxx must have seen a vacuum in the designer-for-less niche in Hawaii, wasting no time in opening three stores in three weeks here. The Oahu stores are Nos. 1,001, 1,002 and 1,003.

The first opened last Thursday at Ward Villages and tomorrow's opening will be at the Pearl City Gateway, 1120 Kuala St., and you can expect more of the same: lines outside and in for the registers. Festivities will start at 7:30 a.m. with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and a donation check presentation to Hawaii Literacy. They'll also be giving out 1,000 T.J. Maxx tote/shopping bags to the first who enter the store.

Last week, I noticed a few of those totebags hanging on the racks when their owners simply left, unwilling to brave the lines to the register that wound around the store's interior, with 45-minute waits all day long. I know, because I was there in the morning and back for more punishment after work.

When I was in the store for a sneak peek last Tuesday, I noted a couple of things I wanted to pick up for my trip to Maui that weekend, two dresses and a top. Got the striped summer dress and white summer top, but the Opening Ceremony denim dress I wanted was gone. Damn! I really thought no one except me would want those.

Scored a designer bag though when one woman, who had grabbed a handful, slowly started sorting through them while in line and started dumping them on to other racks. Thirty percent off luxury designers still isn't cheap, so that should keep resellers at bay and get things into the hands of people who actually want and will use these items.

As I wrote in my print story last Thursday, T.J.Maxx offers the same in-season merchandise as department and specialty stores, at 20 to 60 percent less. It's a treasure hunt for the brands you love, however, because items are carried in limited quantities and the great items go quickly. The Ward store is stocked with a lot of lightweight summer and active wear for men, women and children. And right now, there's nothing dressy for men.

The Pearlridge store will open next Thursday, and each store will receive 10,000 new items weekly, which is about three to four truckloads of clothes, so it looks like you'll have to return frequently for the best deals.

If you happen to find something great and are in sharing mode, you can upload to Maxx Finds at

TJAt a media lunch at Buca di Beppo in advance of last week's opening, stylist Alison Deyette had some of her fashion picks on display and presented a handful of looks, like this Helmut Lang jacket, on Courtney Coleman, that could be dressed up or down.

TJ2A "Maxxinista's" evening dress, and at right, a beach coverup that could do double duty as an evening dress with the right underpinnings.

TJ3Nahoku Keala in a sportier look, with summer's hot pink accessorizing.

The calm before the storm last Tuesday. I knew it was a bad sign when I arrived on opening day at Ward last Thursday, and saw people leaving empty handed. That meant the lines to the register were long.

The line as I saw it. Worth the wait for:


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