By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
Hawaii Fashion Week founder and director Ralph Malani, second from left, with Cliff Duldulao, Ms. Polynesia Abby Resulta and event host Kea Ho.
The 3rd Annual Hawai‘i Fashion Week, founded and directed by Ralph Malani, and produced by Mt. Kalihi Productions to celebrate Polynesian style, took place Sept. 23 to 29, encompassing Malani's Mr. and Miss Polynesia pageant on the 23rd, followed by a free fashion show and competition Sept. 28 at Royal Hawaiian Center's Royal Grove, and a Tahitian Fashion Fete at Hard Rock Café on Sept. 29.
The free event at RHC featured fashion shows by Tali's Polynesia, Sina Thomsen, Uoleni Tupuola, and Kini Zamora, as well as a Young Designer Couture Competition judged by myself, MidWeek managing editor and style editor Yu Shing Ting, and the show's host model/actress Kea Ho, who took time out from working on bringing a Polynesian revue to Las Vegas.
At the end of the show, Kini walked away with the winning title, as well as cash and prizes from the center, Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, and other event sponsors.
But when he took his bows with a model in one of his blue dresses for the winner's photo, I couldn't believe that dress had won. The hem was uneven and bunchy, so I asked Yu Shing if she voted for that dress, and when she said no for the same reasons, adding the blouse was so sheer we could see the model's bra, I said, "I guess Kea must have really liked it!"
We asked Kea and she said she hadn't voted for that dress either. We finally figured out that the model, Sade Toomalatai, for the winning designed had changed, so Kini simply walked out with a model who was still dressed.
So, for the record, we had Tiare put on the winning enemble for photographs.
Kini Zamora was the winner of Hawaii Fashion Week's inaugural Young Designer Couture Competition. Sade Toomalatai wears his winning design, with a flamenco-style ruffle down one side of the maxi skirt.
A series of fashion shows before the couture competition featured tropical designs for both men and women.
Maria Aitonean, a visitor from Seattle, originally from Romania, was so excited by the shows, she had to climb the stage and do her own runway walk after the models were gone. A passerby asked her what she was smoking.
Sina Thomsen with her couture competition model Malia McKee.
Designer Uoleni Tupuola with his model, Tesia Worley.
Designer Tali Goeas, right, with her model Sade Toomalatai.