By Nadine Kam
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.
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.
Handbag designer Farida Ong, left, with Acme Wu.
Ehiku and Ingo Rademacher with the Oahu Publications crew, from left, Margie Jacinto, Kimi Matar, Linda Woo and Yu Shing Ting.
Cirque performer in a bird cage.