By Nadine Kam
There was a time Anne Namba was a "normal" dog fan, liking them enough but not one to go overboard in coddling a pet, unlike her friend Anna Meng, who doesn't mind stating she likes animals more than people and puts her money and time where her heart is as a contributor to the Hawaiian Humane Society.
But hanging around Meng turned Namba into a bonafide dog person and the two teamed up to present a free fashion show, "Mutts and Models," on Feb. 21, as a benefit for the HHS, at Namba's 324 Kamani St. boutique.
When model Shanna Hulme emerged with Namba's new puppy Dingo in her arms, a chorus of "Awws," rose from the crowd, evidence that the mere sight of pets really do make people happy. Other models included a gallery of TV personalities: Olena Heu, Kathy Muneno and Trini Kaopuiki.
Namba is known for her use of Asian-inspired prints and fashions created from kimonos she collects throughout Asia. This time around, she showed ombre silks in colors ranging from aqua to turquoise to purple, bustiers from obi fabric and laser-cut leather, and strapless gowns created from wedding kimono fabric.
The event served as a prelude to the humane society's "Tuxes & Tails Bow Wow to Hollywoof" gala coming up April 5, with the idea of providing that event's attendees (and others) an opportunity to pick out something unique to wear to the gala or other special occasions.
Inspired by the gala's theme, Namba created an Old Hollywood collection of 1930s- and '40s-inspired evening wear, including bias cuts, pleats, sequins and a black, sequined lace gown in a fishtail silhouette, all accessorized with jewelry by Meng, owner of The Meng Dynasty.
The show also featured evening attire for men, including sleek tuxedo jackets with a modified mandarin collar.
With a portion of sales from the evening donated to the humane society, animal lovers were shopping before the show even started.