By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre performers helped introduce segments in the Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii's "Project Greenway" fashion show.
Farming and fashion are two pursuits that rarely share the same billing, but anything could (and did) happen when the Landscape Industry Council of Hawai‘i dared to present a unique evening of foliage, fashion and food from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 14 at Kapiolani Community College.
The event provided the backdrop for the "Project Greenway" plant show putting the spotlight on 60 native and non-native plants for the urban landscape, with segments themed "Forbidden Fruit," "Sophisticated Savages," Garden of Love," "The Restless Natives" and "Jungle Flower."
The show was intended to introduce diversity to landscape architects, who often dictate which plants nurseries grow. According to LICH President Chris Dacus, "This can lead to overuse of certain plants, which is not only monotonous, but it can also be dangerous to rely too heavily on a limited suite of plants that could be devastated by new diseases or insect pests.
"We want to entice landscape architects to think about adding different plants to their palette, including more native Hawaiian plants."
Farmers in their work togs of denim, tank tops, T-shirts and work boots topped with large, broad-brimmed straw hats jogged onto the turf runway bearing pots of plants, while emcee Pamela Young detailed the plants' history and uses, while models in clothing designed by juniors and seniors in the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources' apparel product design and merchandising program pointed out the appropriate plants (many times with an assist from the audience. You didn't expect to find many of these girls doing heavy yard labor, right?)
It was all in fun, and I remembered a time I told a farmer I would like to be a farmer one day. He scoffed and scolded, "Look at your hands!"
White, creamy, soft, spotless, callous free, long nailed. So what?
"You can't do heavy labor," he said. Of course, he's wrong, and I'm never bothered by anyone else's notion of what I can or can not do, because I know my own capabilities.
The event was a great collaboration involving students from three University of Hawaii system campuses, with models' hair and makeup done by cosmetology students from Honolulu Community College.
Dancers from IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre added even more color to the event, dressed in dazzling floral costumes conceived by creative director Cheryl Flaharty.
Farmers in their signature denim, T-shirts, tank tops and straw gardener hats.
Models in designs by University of Hawaii fashion students.
Flora and flower petal designs created by the University of Hawaii students.
Guests were greeted by flower Christy Martin, right, and bee Amanda Skelton.
The event's emcee, Pamela Young, with model Courtney Coleman.
A living wall of anthuriums comprised one display.
A couple of wauke plants were among the evening's silent auction items to benefit the Lyon Arboretum and Waimea Botanical Garden.
Vriesea Fenestralis (green), was part of the silent auction, with bids starting at $10. Vriesea Ospinga gruberii (reddish) started at $25.
Fresh fruit including island pineapple was among the treats served up by Kapiolani Community College culinary students, as well as salmon on crackers, below.
Salmon on crackers.