Archive for September, 2013

Ahoy, Aloha Sailor!

September 29th, 2013


Aloha Sailor's Ed Fernandez with, from left, Amanda Morris, Yuriko Galura and artist Lauren Roth. Nadine Kam photos

Nautical-inspired Aloha Sailor made its press debut at a preview party Sept. 26 at Design Within Reach at Ala Moana Center.

In keeping with the line's seafaring theme, guests snacked on cupcakes with an anchor design, while taking in clothing displays in the company of Aloha Sailor models and sailors Loryn Guiffre and Levi Verwoest. There was also a surprise performance by RootHub.

Ed Fernandez, co-founder of Organik Clothing, is a busy guy, creating Aloha Sailor out of his love of sailing. His new casual lifestyle brand offers vintage-style nautical designs with folklore typography screenprinted on hats, tanks, T-shirts, and sweatshirts.

In addition to clothing, sail bags made from Aloha Sailor catamaran sails are part of the initial collection. The repurposed sails are cut and sewn in Honolulu.

Aloha Sailor will debut to the public at Hawaii Fashion Month's OUTFIT trade show, taking place Oct. 2 and 3 under TJ Maxx on Auahi Street. The trade show will be open to industry professionals in the morning, before opening to the public from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 2nd, and to 5 p.m. on the 3rd. General admission is $3. OUTFIT will also host runway shows each day at 1 and 3 p.m.


Loryn Guiffre and Levi Verwoest model Aloha Sailor shirts.

Here they are on the invite to Hawaii Fashion Month's OUTFIT trade show Oct. 2 and 3.


RootHub delivered a mini set of three songs for guests.


Ed Fernandez with a display of Aloha Sailor caps and sail bags.


Some of the Aloha Sailor shirts and jackets strung up at Design Within Reach.


The collateral, against a backdrop of netting.


Anchors eaten away!

NM CUSP Event highlight's rocker chic and other fall trends

September 29th, 2013


Fall's rocker chic trend was on display during the CUSP Event at Neiman Marcus. — Nadine Kam photos

Neiman Marcus is hosting its CUSP event through Sept. 29, celebrating fall 2013's rocker chic trend.  This year's national campaign was inspired by the style and independent spirit of musicians ZZ Ward, Natalie Bergman of Wild Belle and Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums to highlight the work of such contemporary designers as Vince, Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, Robert Rodriguez, and others.

At the Honolulu store, the event kicked off Sept. 26 with an evening of informal modeling, complimentary makeovers and touch-ups at the Tom Ford Beauty Bar, and the opportunity towina $250 CUSP gift card by voting for the favorite of three looks styled by local musician and fashion blogger Erin Smith, who also gave a mini acoustic performance Sept. 28.

Through the 29th, CUSP shoppers will receive an NM exclusive mesh chain necklace with a regular-priced contemporary purchase in CUSP of $300 or more. Also, get an instant $50 off any $500 purchase.


This is the gift-with-purchase necklace, also being modeled at top.

Some of the looks shown:





Chandra Lucariello of Southern Wine and Spirits was mixing up cocktails in the spirit of fall fashion. This is the Violet Hour, which was so delicious, with housemade blueberry syrup, Ketel One Citroen Vodka, lemon juice, crushed mint and club soda. She was also offering up a Hello Moto cocktail, with Patron Reposado, Elixir G ginger syrup, lime juice and jalapeño-salt foam, also yum if you preferred more spicy than sweet.


DJ Anit of Addiction nightclub.


Lesli Yano, left, and Pam Campbell in the little black dress she showed up in, and below, in the Robert Rodriguez ensemble she walked out with.

cusppam (more…)

MoCa Shanghai celebrates 'Esprit Dior'

September 28th, 2013


At 23, Christian Dior opened two art galleries, and some of his later fashion was inspired by his artist friends, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Georges Braque, Paul Klee, and Salvador Dalí.Nadine Kam photos

"Esprit Dior"
Museum of Contemporary Art of Shanghai, 7 People’s Park, Nanjing Xilu, Huangpu District
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through 10 November 2013
Cost: $30 RMB (about USD$5 per person)

SHANGHAI, CHINA — I was lucky enough to be in Shanghai to see the grandeur of MoCa, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Shanghai's fall exhibition, "Esprit Dior," honoring the work of legendary designer Christian Dior.

The exhibit, open through November 10, explores the world of Dior, with more than 100 iconic dresses and gowns from the 1940s through the present, jewelry, illustrations, photography by Patrick Demarchelier, and contemporary works by such major contemporary Chinese artists as Liu Jianhua, Lin Tian Miao, Qiu Zhijie, Yan Pei Ming, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Huan and Zheng Guogu, who present their interpretation of the Dior spirit. The exhibition evolved from a 2008 exhibition in Beijing, "Christian Dior and Chinese Artists," the start of a dialog between haute couture and Chinese Contemporary Art, which continued with a Dior haute couture exhibition at the Chinese National Museum in Beijing  last year.

The exhibition opened with a walk up a ramp, like a mini Guggenheim setup, the walls lined with Dior sketches dating to the start of "The New Look" in 1947. From there, we entered the exhibition rooms showing the range of designs from the House of Dior, from its original designer to the opulent John Galliano years, to today, with a few designs by current designer Raf Simons.

Christian Dior unveiled his first collection in February 1947, with a silhouette that idealized women's curves, accentuating bust and hips with a nipped in waist. The celebration of femininity was dubbed "The New Look" by Harper's Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, ushering in a new era of contemporary design for the post World War II era, sweeping away the utilitarian, frugal styles that had been dominant.

dior classic

Dior's New Look in 1947 highlighted women's curves, with an idealized waistline, and long full skirt that bid adieu to the era of World War II rations and scarcity. At right is Dior's Aventure outfit, with black-and-white houndstooth jacket and wool pencil skirt, from 1948.

simonsDior photo
From current Dior designer Raf Simons' Fall-Winter 2012-13 haute couture fashion show.

In his day, the designer dressed Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich. That relationship continues today, with many an ingenue gracing red carpets in Dior. Among them are Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard, Natalie Portman, Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence.

Also at the heart of his work was an admiration for artists of his day, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Paul Klee and Salvador Dalí, whose work inspired designs. He also celebrated the art of 18th century living and the beauty of the royal chateau Versailles, in sumptuous ballgowns, perfume bottles and Trianon Gray that came to be known as Dior Gray.

It is a mark of Chinese society that whatever must be done, they will do, and the museum's restaurant, MoCa on the Park, has been redone in  Dior Gray and renamed Dior Cafe for the exhibition. A glass patio area is accented with topiary in the shape of the Lady Dior handbag and J'adore and Miss Dior Cherie perfume bottles.

They are less ambitious in merchandising the event. Whereas American museum gift shops are full of note cards, posters, scarves, key rings and tchotchkes, here there are only a handful of books! Just goes to show you the Chinese, ever so practical, are more interested in education than wasteful souvenirs.

Today, the Dior legacy continues with Raf Simons creating elegant ensembles that harken to founder Christian Dior's love of gardens and art. His Fall 2013 collection incorporates Andy Warhol's early drawings as a recurring graphic.

dior art

More art-inspired garments.


Raf Simons' Fall 2013 collection for Dior continues the house's celebration of art, incorporating illustrations by Andy Warhol.


This was the golden hall, celebrating Dior's more extravagant looks like John Galliano's Egypt-inspired tut design from his Spring 2004 haute couture collection, below:


dior sign

Posters for the exhibition filled People’s Park outside the museum, and it was also one of the first things I saw when I got off the airplane.

dior top

Inside MoCa's Dior Cafe were topiary in the shape of the Lady Dior handbag and J'adore and Miss Dior Cherie perfume bottles. (more…)

Introducing 999.9 (Four Nines) Eyewear

September 13th, 2013


From left, Jojo Georgiev, Kevin Kaneshiro and John Sword model 999.9 Eyewear, which just made its debut at Tokyo Optical Co., at Shirokiya.Nadine Kam photos

Tokyo Optical, Co., hosted a launch party for “Four Nines” (999.9) Eyewear on Sept. 12 at Shirokiya Ala Moana, with a mini fashion show of the brand's near weightless, architectural Asian-fit frames.

The brand is a best-seller in Japan, a favorite of celebs and trendsetters. Beyond fashion, there's a lot of technology that has gone into the styles engineered to stay on, no matter how active your lifestyle, and made with such durable metals as titanium. (The 999.9 name is a reflection of purity of design and materials.)

Among the models sporting the styles during an informal fashion show were “Mento Mele” Apana from Hawaiian 105 KINE and Kevin Kaneshiro from Vacations Hawaii. Hitoshi Otsuka, vice president of Tokyo Optical Honolulu, introduced the brand.


Guests tried on the lightweight frames after the show.

After the show, guests were welcome to try-on the glasses, and feel how drastically different they are from any other glasses. You won't feel the weight at all, and they don't leave any indents on face or nose.

At about $340 to $470 for frames alone, the cost is a bit prohibitive, but you can get them with prescriptions and any tint you want, and for the right person, it's well worth the splurge.

999.9 will be available exclusively in Hawaii at Tokyo Optical at Shirokiya. Tokyo Optical was started in 1883 by Nariaki Shirayama. It is a 5th-generation family business originally built on selling reading glasses. The company has been in Hawaii since 1977.



The frames on display.


Hitoshi Otsuka, vice president of Tokyo Optical Honolulu, at left with his models, including “Mento Mele” Apana from Hawaiian 105 KINE. (more…)

Rebecca Minkoff + American Express NYFW offer

September 12th, 2013


If you have an American Express card, you can reap a discount on Rebecca Minkoff's Craig Camera Bag in plum for fall.

The company teamed with the designer for the live + digital event series “American Express UNSTAGED” at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, streaming the show live around the globe at, with additional content available at

To complement the partnership, American Express is offering its fashion-loving card members the opportunity to buy the handbag at a reduced price of $95 (regularly $195). A petite leather cross-body bag has the retro look of a camera case, outfitted with curved side pockets and a snap front pocket. A leather hinge keeps the structured cover in place, and the long shoulder strap is adjustable. Because of its size and utility, it's a favorite of bloggers, including moi. Alas, I recently canceled my late husband's Amex card!

Connect your eligible (corporate and prepaid cards are ineligible) American Express Card with your Twitter account at Then, to get the deal tweet #BuyRMinkoffBag

The offer expires Sept. 19, 2013, or until sold out.

Inside Jim Thompson—The Thai Silk Co.

September 12th, 2013


Jim Thompson June 2013 designs.Jim Thompson photo

BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thanks to designer-stylist extraordinaire Amos Kotomori, I was able to tour the Jim Thompson—The Thai Silk Co., while in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept. 4, where Amos is working as a guest designer for the company.

The company has a total vertical production system, from the raising of silk cocoons, fabric production, printing, sewing, leather-working. It was amazing to see the work that goes on at the company's headquarters. I wish I could have seen the silk production as well, but that was further out into the country.

The company's American founder is credited with having saved Thailand's dying craft following World War II, when machine-made textiles from Europe and Japan were displacing the handwoven silks being produced by farmers for additional income.


Nadine Kam photos
Spinning silk to create fibers that go on to the loom, below, to bring designers' initial inspirations to life before a decision is made to put a particular design into production.

jt loom

During WWII, Thompson had been assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), assigned to work in North Africa, Italy, France and Asia.

He was confident that peace would be followed by an expansion of leisure travel to the Far East and decided to go into business in Thailand. He believed that the brilliance and quality of Thai silk would appeal to the West, and had the foresight to imagine a world-class designer brand built on luxurious silks.

Along the way, silk got a boost when the costume designer Irene Sharaff used the fabric for Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1951 Broadway musical and 1956 film "The King and I," a dramatic interpretation of Anna Leonowens experience as a governess in the Victorian era Court of Siam. Sharaff contacted  Thompson, who sent her samples of Thai silk and photos of local dress from the mid-19th century.

Thompson had little time to enjoy his success. During a trip to Malaysia in March 1967, he left his bungalow for a walk after attending church services, and never returned, launching an islandwide man hunt. He was never found.

But the mystique of the adventurer and aesthete lives on in the company's line of scarves, clothing, handbags and home textiles.

jt amos

Designer Amos Kotomori with Tinnart Nisalak, design director for Jim Thompson—The Thai Silk Co. I asked Tinnart about his inspirations, and he said everybody asks that but he never has a good answer. Indicating my dress and jewelry that day, straight from my visit to Bali, he said it's just a feeling that is the same as the impulse that made me put on that dress that day, and pair it with those particular jewelry pieces. His so-called non-answer was actually made more sense than anything else I've been told.

jt portrait

Jim Thompson's portrait is a prominent feature at the company headquarters.


Some of the many variations of red that go into Jim Thompson silks.


A few examples of home furnishing textiles, including a peacock feather design.


Piecing a collection together. (more…)

T Galleria by DFS focuses on experience of travel

September 11th, 2013

Jessica Michibata 2

Japanese celebrity model Jessica Michibata wore a Dior pale pink silk bustier and a cotton and silk "Petites Roses" cloque skirt, and Dior shoes on the red carpet to the launch of T Galleria by DFS.DFS Group photo

Just back from Bali, Bangkok and Korea and felt like I was still on the road during the launch of the DFS Group's new brand identity. DFS has a huge presence at all the airports as I traveled from metropolis to metropolis, so Hawaii should be proud that the international luxury retailer chose the Waikiki store for its launch party.

Inside the galleria, redubbed T Galleria by DFS, there was champagne, martinis and hors d'oeuvres awaiting VIP guests, and a surprise performance by London R&B artist Estelle.


Nadine Kam photos
DFS chairman and CEO Philippe Schaus welcomed Marie-Chantal Claire, Crown Princess of Greece and daughter of DFS co-founder Robert Miller (draped in maile), Jessica Michibata and other guests.


Also among guests were athlete, soap opera star and "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Ingo Rademacher, second from left, with his wife Ehiku.

The "T" stands for "travelers," which resonated with me because it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as I prepare to hit the road again next week, this time heading for Shanghai and Tokyo. I think it will resonate with a lot of people who travel for whatever reason: entertainment, excitement, escape, exploration.

VIPs flew in from all over the world to attend the event, and one of the executives from Hong Kong told me that Hong Kong and Hawaii were the only two options on the table, considering that DFS opened airport concessions on the same day back in 1962.

Non-flash video

Kalakaua Avenue was closed between Lewers Street and Royal Hawaiian Avenue for the event that included food booths, a red carpet walk, kane hula kahiko performance, and entertainment by Taimane, Starr Kalahiki and the Noisettes from the U.K., all open to the public.

DFS Chairman and CEO Philippe Schaus announced the change as a curtain parted to reveal a colossal "T" to the crowd gathered on the street, who weren't quite sure what the T stood for, but nevertheless let out the appropriate "oohs" and "ahhs."

The company has invested more than $50 million in its Waikiki location over the past few years, including a new look and establishing a Beauty World presence to become a shopper's destination, and to compete with other global luxury stores, including Hawaii's first Sak's Fifth Avenue, set to break ground next year.

The Waikiki DFS store is the company's second largest after Four Seasons Macau. DFS has 14 Gallerias and 18 international airport locations in 10 countries and three continents.


Actor Daniel Dae Kim, with his wife Mia, was among the celebrity guests. (more…)

Shopping Bangkok

September 11th, 2013

Thai designs range from the Euro-chic above, to the very cutesy Alice in Wonderland sort of dress and separates, below. — Nadine Kam photos


BANGKOK, THAILAND — It's always fun to see what designers from around the world are doing, and the malls in Bangkok provide a fascinating showcase for it's entrepreneurs and designers.

At Terminal 21 in the Sukhumvit area, a whole floor is dedicated to local fashion, though it tends to get repetitive after a while, with boutiques showing a whole lot of skirts and cropped tops. Perfect for the shorter Asian torso, I noted enviously. It's the exact opposite of the West, where tops are needlessly elongated. Don't designers realize most of us aren't model height?

The downside is that Thai women must have tiny breasts because the tops don't accommodate more than an A cup. The upside is that I didn't spend any money on clothing in Thailand. (I left all my money in Bali shops anyway.)

There were much more Westernized designs at the Siam Center, where a lot of the local designers seem to take their cue from Prada or Alexander McQueen, with price points from $400 to $1,000. There was enough talent and originality on display to make me wonder whether Asia follows the west, or vice versa.

Siam Center is across from Siam Paragon, which features more familiar brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Emporio Armani, and Zara.

With four days in Bangkok, I thought I'd look around before purchasing anything, but on the last day returned to Terminal 21 to pick up two pieces I liked. Unfortunately, in this metropolis of more than 8.3 million people, turnaround is quick, and when I asked the salesperson, "Where's the blue dress you had the other day?" She just said, "Finished." Sigh.


People hang clothing from a Wishing Tree next door to the Lumpini Marriott. The hair, clothing or other personal effects of a sickly person are fixed to the tree with the hope of transferring the sickness and healing the individual.


Bangkok is known for its many street vendors, but nearby, in the Sukhumvit area, this man offers clothing alterations on the street, using a Singer sewing machine.


At Terminal 21, also along Sukhumvit Road and accessible via Sky Train, floors are loosely themed to world destinations including Rome, Paris, Japan, the U.K., San Francisco, and here, the Caribbean. The Japan floor also features several Thai retailers and designers, each with no more than 50 to 150 square feet of space. It's great that Bangkok's major malls has made the commitment to promote it's regional designers. A forward-thinking landlord needs to make the same kind of commitment to Hawaii designers.


Seating at the Siam Center, off the Sky Train Siam Station, spells out "Absolute Siam."


Each store within the Siam Center creates its own unique environment, from standard storefront, to open space, to arty hut.


Clothing in the window at Tango, at Siam Center.

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