Archive for June, 2014

Cut Collective hosts sale

By
June 27th, 2014



The Cut Collective will host an end of the month sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at its offices at the Manoa Innovation Center, 2800 Woodlawn Drive.

Up for grabs during the White Hot Summer Sale will be tops, shorts and coverups by Allison Izu, joined by Ten Tomorrow, Rumi Murakami and brand company Plan Z.

You'll also scoop up a free tote or cosmetic pouch, while supplies, last, with purchases of $100 or more.

The Cut Collective will also participate in two events in July:

» July 5: Mo'ili'ili Summer Fest, 5 to 10:30 p.m. in the old Varsity Theatre parking lot at 1100 University Ave.

» July 6: Arts and Flavors, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hawaii Kai Retirement Community, 428 Kawaihae St.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Zamora to debut on 'Runway'

By
June 23rd, 2014



LIFETIME COURTESY PHOTOHAWAII DESIGNER KINI ZAMORA WILL MAKE HIS NATIONAL TV DEBUT WHEN 'PROJECT RUNWAY' SEASON 13 BEGINS AIRING JULY 24.

COURTESY LIFETIME

HAWAII DESIGNER KINI ZAMORA WILL MAKE HIS NATIONAL TV DEBUT ON “PROJECT RUNWAY” IN JULY.

Kiniokahokuloa “Kini” Zamora is the fourth Hawaii designer to make Lifetime’s “Project Runway” fashion competition. Season 13 of the popular TV show will premiere July 24, the cable network announced Monday.

The designer graduated from Honolulu Community College's Fashion Technology program in 2005 with a passion for extravagant, over-the-top runway gowns.

Zamora, 30, who also spent a year at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology to hone his skills, auditioned for the show four times previously, and in an earlier interview said that each time judges advised him to edit his work.

In a new interview with the designer, Zamora said his weaknesses continues to be editing and overdesigning. On the plus side, he said, “I can sew fast, and I can drape and draft patterns with no book.”

In the nine years since he left HCC, commercial realities led to forays into designing women’s resort, casual and streetwear, and most recently, menswear, resulting in versatility that may prove hard to beat.

Last year, he partnered with Dean Satta to create a collaboration brand KiRu, launching a Fall 2013 military-inspired collection that drew a standing ovation when it debuted during a fashion show at Aloha Tower. He continues to design for his own label, KZ.

Three looks from Zamora's portfolio:

kini1

kini2

kini3

Past designers who made the show are Jay Nicolas Sario (Season 7), and Ivy Higa and Ari South (Season 8).

On Season 13, Zamora will face competition from 17 other designers from the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic and New Zealand. Given the lengthy roster, not all the designers make the show’s final cut. In the premiere episode, the contestants will face a final audition and three designers will be sent home before facing the first challenge.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and <a href="http://www.rebelmouse.com/nadinekam"

Hawaiian May! returns

By
June 13th, 2014



Designer Matt Bruening, center, in white and lei, and the cheering section for his MB by Matt Bruening collection shown during the first half of the Hawaiian May! fashion shows. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

DESIGNER MATT BRUENING, CENTER, IN WHITE AND LEI, AND THE CHEERING SECTION FOR HIS MB BY MATT BRUENING COLLECTION, SHOWN DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE HAWAIIAN MAY! FASHION SHOWS.

BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Hawaii Tourism Japan, JTB and Hawaiian May! presented the second annual Hawaiian May! 2014, a three-day celebration of Hawaii food, fashion and culture in Honolulu.

Hinano Yoshikawa was one of the featured models from Japan. She appeared in the Muse by Rimo fashion show, but unfortunately her image could not be used for video. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

HINANO YOSHIKAWA WAS ONE OF THE THE FEATURED MODELS FROM JAPAN. SHE APPEARED IN THE MUSE BY RIMO FASHION SHOW, BUT HER IMAGE COULD NOT BE USED FOR VIDEO.

Events started with the Hawaiian May! Food Summit Thursday at Jefferson Elementary School. A gathering of food trucks was paired with shopping the original vendors of Art+Flea.

The highlight of the event was the Hawaiian May! Collection 2014 Fashion Show on Friday at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Hawaii brands featured in the showcase were Aloha Aina Boutique, Gillia, Angels By The Sea Hawaii, Fighting Eel, MB by Matt Bruening, MUSE by RIMO, Mu'umu'u Heaven, Issa De' Mar, Pualani, San Lorenzo, and 88 Tees.

The event was created to promote new Hawaii fashion brands in Japan, so tickets are available only to visitors from that country, but the show was visible to all who wanted a peek at the outdoor runway stage from the beach, where photographers and videographers captured the proceedings from scaffolding on the sand.

Local models walked with some of Japan's top models in showcasing Hawaii designers' apparel. Japan models drawing cheers from their fans were Jessica Michibata, Hinano Yoshikawa, Nicole Ishida, Hana Imai, Yuri Ebihara, Moe Oshikiri, Miwako Kakei, Natsuki Kato, Mie, Angelica Michibata, and TOMMY.

Angels by the Sea owner and designer Nina Thai, with Rika Kobayashi. Angels by the Sea was featured during the second half of the fashion show. I could not stay, but here's a link to her Facebook photo album: http://www.facebook.com/ninathaiabts/media_set?set=a.10152243026908110&type=1 (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

ANGELS BY THE SEA OWNER AND DESIGNER NINA THAI WITH RIKA KOBAYASHI. ANGELS BY THE SEA WAS FEATURED DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE FASHION SHOW. MORE PHOTOS OF HER ITEMS CAN BE FOUND ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE.

Most interesting to me was how press is managed in Japan, where organizers keep a tight rein on the media.

We were given lengthy lists of how and where to set up and who we could and could not photograph or videotape, whose images we could use on Facebook and Twitter, and how many. It was a little funny, because while the models may be big in Japan, here they're pretty much the equivalent of any girl off the street.

Our instructions read: "Please note that each model, each talent have specific guideline on exposing on SNS such as Facebook and Twitter."

I got a little taste of that when I was approached months ago to write a story about a Japan model, but we would not be allowed to dress and photograph her in local designs because the model's Japanese management wanted to control every aspect of her image and get compensated for the exposure given to local designers.

In a way, it’s to their advantage because they do have control and do get paid for every little thing they do. A lot of us naturally tend to want to help others and collaborate, which means a lot of working free for experience and exposure, or at reduced rates to accommodate people.

But, from my point of view, they needed me more than I needed them, so I turned down the story.

Even more interesting, while I was in Shanghai I learned that in China, journalists get paid to attend events! After events, they're just handed envelopes containing wads of cash. Now there's a concept! Imagine how rich I would be if that were the case in America!

From left, Emi Stanley, Giselle, and M33Ms jewelry designer Emiko Miyazawa. We were hoping to pass Giselle off as Lady Gaga and cause a mob scene.(Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

FROM LEFT, EMI STANLEY, GISELLE ZELAUY, AND M33MS JEWELRY DESIGNER EMIKO MIYAZAWA. WE WERE HOPING TO PASS GISELLE OFF AS LADY GAGA AND CAUSE A MOB SCENE.

Bri Williford, left, and Iwalani Kuali'ikahoohanohano show off their summer style for the outdoor event.(Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

BRI WILLIFORD, LEFT, AND IWALANI KUALI'IKAHOOHANOHANO SHOW OFF THEIR SUMMER STYLE FOR THE OUTDOOR EVENT.

Fashion fans from Japan wait for the shows to begin. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

FASHION FANS FROM JAPAN WAIT FOR THE SHOWS TO BEGIN.

Some media had a bird's eye view of the scene. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

SOME MEDIA HAD A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE SCENE.

The Hawaiian May! logo cut into a melon during the May 24 after party at 53 by the Sea.(Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

THE HAWAIIAN MAY! LOGO WAS CUT INTO A MELON, PART OF THE TABLE DECOR FOR AN AFTER PARTY AT 53 BY THE SEA ON SATURDAY.

Instead of June brides, Hawaiian May! brides, dressed in Takami Bridal gowns, lined the staircase at 53 by the Sea. (Star-Advertiser photo by Nadine Kam)

INSTEAD OF JUNE BRIDES, HAWAIIAN MAY! BRIDES, DRESSED IN TAKAMI BRIDAL GOWNS, LINED THE STAIRCASE AT 53 BY THE SEA AS GUESTS POURED INTO THE RESTAURANT/CHAPEL.

Check out the videos below from the first half of the show (I had to leave for another event), plus Takami Bridal footage from Saturday's afterparty at 53 by the Sea.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

A view of Hawaii from the outside

By
June 12th, 2014



JAMS WORLD COURTESY PHOTOSAT FRONT LEFT ARE PROFESSOR BRIGITTE BURGESS, AND BEHIND HER AT FAR LEFT IS CHAPERONE GWEN WITH FASHION MERCHANDISING STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, WITH JAMS WORLD PRESIDENT PUA ROCHLEN.

PHOTOS COURTESY JAMS WORLD

AT FRONT LEFT ARE PROFESSOR BRIGITTE BURGESS, AND BEHIND HER AT FAR LEFT IS CHAPERONE GWEN WITH FASHION MERCHANDISING STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, WITH JAMS WORLD PRESIDENT PUA ROCHLEN.

Kamaaina may not realize it, but Hawaii is a strange place and it's been called the first exotic place.

It still is, although we don't confront this truth on a daily basis, but came to the foreground once Barack Obama became president, and all over Capitol Hill, people couldn't contain comments like the following from ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts, who criticized the president for returning to Hawaii for a week of vacation.

She said: "I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place."

So it was interesting when Brigitte Burgess, an associate professor from the University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Marketing and Merchandising, brought 12 of her students on an eye-opening 10-day excursion to Hawaii to study our consumer and retail culture. The students pay their own way through fundraising efforts and their own savings, and Burgess said she wants to come back when another group of students is able to make the trip.

She said she usually heads to New York, or ventures to closer cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago, but knew from past trips that Hawaii had something more amazing to offer, with our mix of rock-bound locals, international travelers and kamaaina companies with manufacturing facilities still in place, while much on the mainland has been lost to overseas production.

The students ended up hitting Waikiki boutiques, Ala Moana Center and the Waikele Premium Outlets, as well as touring the Jams World and Island Slipper facilities, and were impressed by what they saw.

On a side note, Jams World marks its 50th anniversary this year, and in preparation is hosting a Facebook search for Jams World Moments. Through Sept. 30, post photos from any decade of yourself or others wearing Jams World clothing in day-in-the-life scenarios, from enjoying the beach to Aloha Friday to a birthday celebration. Use the hashtag #JamsWorld50 or post the photo on Jams World's Facebook page. Contributors who draw the most likes and shares will win gift certificates.

ROCHLEN SHOWS SOME OF PRINT DESIGNS USED IN JAMS WORLD APPAREL.

ROCHLEN SHOWS SOME OF PRINT DESIGNS USED IN JAMS WORLD APPAREL.

One of Burgess' students, Epiphany (yes, that really is her name!), shared a glimpse of how we are perceived in the outside world, which I always find so interesting.

QUESTION: Why did you want to come on a study tour to Hawaii?

ANSWER: As a graduating senior, I could not leave USM without attending this particular study tour. It's purpose for knowledge of Hawaii fashion industry, culture learning and most of all relaxation.

Q: How do people in Hawaii dress differently than in Mississippi?

A: As we as a group visited many places, I notice individuals were very comfortable. It's just swimsuit cover-up type thing. On the professional side of things, I seen more business casual rather than business professional. In MS we wear sandals and beach attire only to the beach, we could never get away with just being free and in and out of places such as the Hawaiian stores.

Q: What was the best part of the study tour?

A: I think the best part of the study tour was visiting Jams World and Island Slippers. It really is nice to learn about certain products and to actual learn about its production and history. Of course the beach was peaceful and relaxing as well.

Q: Were you surprised to see so many luxury brands and stores? Why or why not?

A: Yes, as we walked the streets we noticed all those luxury stores. We asked why to some local business owners and residents. We learned that majority of the Asians tend to come and purchase those items because of less expensive. As an American, the tax rate would make a big difference to us.

(Note: Mississippi's sales tax rate of 7 percent. Counties and cities can charge an additional local sales tax for a maximum sales tax of 7.25 percent. The Hawaii sales tax rate is lower than 75 percent of states, at 4 percent, or a maximum of 4.712 in special tax jurisdictions.)

Q: What were some memorable site visits and why?

A: The historical palace, to learn the history of Hawaii. Hilo Hatties was very welcoming and it's more of a historical visiting center for tourist to be apart of the Hawaiian culture.

Q: How did you spend your free time?

A: Free time was spent mainly on the beach. I went snorkeling at hanuma bay. We took surf lesson as a group and we also ate out every night and local Hawaiian restaurants.

Q: What did you notice about the cultures in Hawaii?

A: That its really a life style from the mainland. Its very relaxing, wonderful foods to try and eat!

Q: How will the study tour help you professionally?

A: It help me as a graduate to have an open mind about opportunities within the island and that can be brought to the island from the mainland but still have a Hawaiian feel to it!

Q: Have you been on another study tour? Where? How did it compare to Hawaii?

A: Yes, last May I went to NYC. Totally day and night, Hawaii calm and relaxing at your own pace. NYC you have to prepare yourself for what's next, its a time schedule to me, and noise!

Q: Do you plan to return to Hawaii?

A: Yes, I would love to one day return to possible to live there.

Q: Were you surprised to see manufacturing on Oahu?

A: Yes, I thought we had to travel miles away but to actually see products being made here was unbelievable.

Q: How were store assortments and customers different than in Mississippi?

A: Very different atmosphere. It's a lot of different restaurants. We tend to have a lot of fast food places. As far as shopping stores, the variety is similar to the mainland stores although the prices are different. Some stores only carried certain styles that only Hawaii carried.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instragram and Rebel Mouse.

Versace celebrates Hawaii opening

By
June 12th, 2014



PHOTOS  BY NADINE KAMJAPAN MUSICIAN, DJ AND STREET-STYLE ARTIST MADEMOISELLE YULIA, DRESSED IN VERSACE, WAS AMONG THE GUESTS AT THE GRAND OPENING OF THE VERSACE BOUTIQUE AT ALA MOANA CENTER. ABOVE HER IS THE BRAND'S SIGNATURE MEDUSA DESIGN.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

JAPAN MUSICIAN, DJ AND STREET-STYLE ARTIST MADEMOISELLE YULIA, DRESSED IN VERSACE, WAS AMONG THE GUESTS AT THE GRAND OPENING OF THE VERSACE BOUTIQUE AT ALA MOANA CENTER. ABOVE HER IS THE BRAND'S SIGNATURE MEDUSA DESIGN.

The Versace boutique celebrated its grand opening at Ala Moana Center with a glam party worthy of the Versace name on Thursday.

General manager Patrick Gey welcomed host Princess Elizabeth Kawananakoa of Eurocinema Hawai'i for the event that also served as a fundraiser for the organization. Ten percent of sales through Friday will benefit Eurocinema Hawai'i.

It's been so long since we've had a boutique opening celebration of this magnitude that I felt quite underdressed. It's so easy to slip into that, "Eh, it's only Hawaii attitude," when I should have known better, considering the dapper Gey knows how to throw a party and had an extra assist from international über stylist and production designer Dean Christopher, who said he's back home to stay.

After staging events for the biggest fashion houses from Paris to New York, Christopher's return could mark an exciting new magnitude for events in Honolulu, ratcheting excitement levels from a tepid 5 on a 10-point scale, to 11!

BOUTIQUE GENERAL MANAGER PATRICK GEY, RIGHT, WITH HIS WIFE MARISA GEY, AND MARTI CRAMPSHEE, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING FOR VERSACE USA, INC.

BOUTIQUE GENERAL MANAGER PATRICK GEY, RIGHT, WITH HIS WIFE MARISA GEY, AND MARTI CRAMPSHEE, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING FOR VERSACE USA, INC.

A MODEL IN THE WINDOW OF THE STORE SHOWS OFF A DRESS FROM THE VERSACE SPRING/SUMMER 2014 RUNWAY COLLECTION.

A MODEL IN THE WINDOW OF THE STORE SHOWS OFF A DRESS FROM THE VERSACE SPRING/SUMMER 2014 RUNWAY COLLECTION.

GEY WITH PRINCESS ELIZABETH KAWANANAKOA WEARING SEPARATES FROM THE VERSACE SPRING/SUMMER 2014 RUNWAY COLLECTION.

GEY WITH PRINCESS ELIZABETH KAWANANAKOA WEARING SEPARATES FROM THE VERSACE SPRING/SUMMER 2014 RUNWAY COLLECTION.


The wall-to-wall crowd included friends of Eurocinema, media, musicians and models, sometimes rolled into one, as with Mademoiselle Yulia, a Tokyo musician and DJ, and columnist for Nylon Japan, looking splendid in Versace.

THERE WASN'T MUCH ROOM TO MOVE AS GUESTS FILLED THE SPACE.

THERE WASN'T MUCH ROOM TO MOVE AS GUESTS FILLED THE SPACE.

GUESTS WERE INVITED TO ENTER A DRAWING FOR ONE OF VERSACE'S SMALL SIGNATURE BAGS. THE DRAWING WAS AT 8 P.M. AND THE WINNER HAD TO BE THERE, SO ABOUT FIVE NAMES WERE CALLED BEFORE THEY ARRIVED AT THE WINNER ARTIST AND UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ART PROFESSOR GAYE CHAN. I HAD JUST SAID HELLO TO HER AND WAS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HER WHEN HER NAME WAS CALLED!

GUESTS WERE INVITED TO ENTER A DRAWING FOR ONE OF VERSACE'S SMALL SIGNATURE BAGS. THE DRAWING WAS AT 8 P.M. AND THE WINNER HAD TO BE THERE, SO ABOUT FIVE NAMES WERE CALLED BEFORE THEY ARRIVED AT THE WINNER, ARTIST AND UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ART PROFESSOR GAYE CHAN. I HAD JUST SAID HELLO TO HER AND WAS STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HER WHEN HER NAME WAS CALLED!

HANAYO OHNO IN VERSACE'S STUDS CAT-EYE SUNGLASSES, WITH ONE OF THE VERSACE STUDDED SIGNATURE BAGS IN WHITE.

HANAYO OHNO IN VERSACE'S STUDS CAT-EYE SUNGLASSES, WITH ONE OF THE VERSACE STUDDED SIGNATURE BAGS IN WHITE.


MANY GRAVITATED TO THE EYEWEAR DISPLAY, INCLUDING CATHERINE LIN, AND BELOW, KRISTEN BUKES.

MANY GRAVITATED TO THE EYEWEAR DISPLAY, INCLUDING CATHERINE LIN, AND BELOW, KRISTEN BUKES.


Versace sunglasses

MARISA GEY WITH CHEZ KENSEI STYLIST KENSEI TAKEDA, LEFT, AND DALE YOUNG.

MARISA GEY WITH CHEZ KENSEI STYLIST KENSEI TAKEDA, LEFT, AND DALE YOUNG, BOTH IN VINTAGE VERSACE. KENSEI REMADE YOUNG'S VEST TO CREATE A HIGH NECKLINE INSTEAD OF ACCEPTING THE USUAL V-NECKLINE.

<br?

JOHN SCHAMBER AND WAYNE YOSHIGAI WERE ALSO AMONG THE GUESTS.

JOHN SCHAMBER AND WAYNE YOSHIGAI WERE ALSO AMONG THE GUESTS.

CHRISTA WITTMIER AND ORRIN NAKANELUA.

CHRISTA WITTMIER AND ORRIN NAKANELUA.

THE SHOW BIZ SET WAS REPRESENTED BY CHRIS LEE, WHO BROUGHT "TWILIGHT" AND "21 & OVER" ACTOR JUSTIN CHON, CENTER. HE'S IN TOWN TO FINISH THE FILM HE CO-WROTE. ALSO FROM LEFT ARE KIA CAMPBELL, BOBBY CABINO, MODEL KELSEY CAMPBELL AND ALVIN CHUNG.

THE SHOW BIZ SET WAS REPRESENTED BY CHRIS LEE, WHO BROUGHT "TWILIGHT" AND "21 & OVER" ACTOR JUSTIN CHON, CENTER. HE'S IN TOWN TO FINISH A FILM HE CO-WROTE. ALSO FROM LEFT ARE KIA CAMPBELL, BOBBY CABINO, MODEL KELSEY CAMPBELL AND ALVIN CHUNG.

THESE VERSACE HEELS WILL SET YOU BACK $1,775.

THESE VERSACE HEELS WILL SET YOU BACK $1,775.

At any rate, it's wonderful to see the return of the Versace name to the center. The brand founded by designer Gianni Versace in 1978, closed its doors in 2004, after his murder in 1997 by Andrew Cunanan. Versace's sister Donatella now serves as Vice-President of the Versace Group, as well as chief designer.

Of course, the question everyone was asking was, "Is Donatella coming?"

Maybe not that night, but with a boutique in Hawaii, she certainly has more incentive to travel here someday.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

RedValentino opens at Ala Moana

By
June 6th, 2014



REDValentino opened its first boutique in Hawaii at Ala Moana Center on Wednesday, with additional in-store events celebrating the arrival on Saturday, June 14 and June 21 with light bites and music by DJ MixMaster Benhur.

I'm a big fan of the brand because of its romantic, playful spirit and sense of whimsy. Many pieces incorporate Valentino's signature bow. It's the kind of brand for those who peer at the world through rose-colored glasses, inhabiting a parallel world in which dreams trump reality.

It's also very pretty and feminine, though what you'll see in the boutique now is a little more tomboyish, with sweatshirt-style tops, tempered by flounce skirts of tulle.

There's always a sense of the unexpected coming from REDValentino and I was so charmed by a fuzzy faille coat paying homage to Hans Christian Andersen and Icelandic singer Björk's iconic swan dress from the 2001 Academy Awards. Something to think about for winter!

Right now, I'm eyeing the summer dresses that were worn by store manager Angie Zhang and director of retail Jane Moon, and can't wait until the arrival of fall's Snow White-inspired pieces.

THE NEW BOUTIQUE IS NEXT TO THE APPLE STORE AT ALA MOANA CENTER. THE STORE WAS BLESSED BY REV. RONALD F. CHING.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

THE NEW BOUTIQUE IS NEXT TO THE APPLE STORE AT ALA MOANA CENTER. THE STORE WAS BLESSED BY REV. RONALD F. CHING.

I COULDN'T RESIST TRYING ON THIS FUN HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN-INSPIRED FUZZY FAILLE SWAN COAT DURING THE GRAND OPENING OF THE REDVALENTINO BOUTIQUE AT ALA MOANA CENTER. SHADES OF BJÖRK 2001! IT'S $1,095.

I COULDN'T RESIST TRYING ON THIS FUN HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN- AND BJÖRK 2001-INSPIRED FUZZY FAILLE SWAN COAT ($1,095), WITH A TIARA-EMBELLISHED ENVELOPE CLUTCH.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TIARA CLUTCH.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TIARA CLUTCH.

THIS REDVALENTINO LEOPARD-LOOK COAT HAS HEART-SHAPED SPOTS.

THIS REDVALENTINO LEOPARD-LOOK COAT HAS HEART-SHAPED SPOTS.

SWEATSHIRT-STYLE KNITS FILL THE STORE.

SWEATSHIRT-STYLE KNITS FILL THE STORE.

RETURNING TO THE ISLES FOR THE OPENING WAS CALI-BASED DIRECTOR OF RETAIL JANE MOON, WITH PABLO.

RETURNING TO THE ISLES FOR THE OPENING WAS CALI-BASED DIRECTOR OF RETAIL JANE MOON, WITH PABLO.

A SWAN TOTE.

A SWAN TOTE.

The new RedValentino boutique is on Level 2 of Ala Moana Center, next to the Apple Store.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Na Mea hosts Tea and Talk Story

By
June 5th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM/NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COMLINDA LEE WAS THE GUEST AT DESIGNER NAKE'U AWAI'S JUNE 1 "TEA AND TALK" STORY EVENT AT NA MEA HAWAII/NATIVE BOOKS.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

LINDA LEE WAS THE GUEST AT DESIGNER NAKE'U AWAI'S JUNE 1 TEA AND TALK STORY EVENT AT NA MEA HAWAII/NATIVE BOOKS.

For three years, designer Nake'u Awai has hosted Tea and Talk Story sessions from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sundays at Na Mea Hawai'i/Native Books at Ward Warehouse.

The event features a different Hawaiian-culture guest each week, and started as Awai's way of adding an extra dimension to his volunteer duties at the store.

"I just go through my phone book and call one of my friends, or I'll meet someone interesting and ask, 'Why don't you come down and talk story?' I never know where the conversation will go. We just start talking,” he said.

"Sometimes it's just me and my guest, but I get the benefit because we talk about things from 20 years ago and I learn something that I didn't know."

Anyone is welcome to listen in while enjoying a simple tea service and a scone selection from local bakeries, at $5 per person. Guests slated to join Awai the rest of the month are are:

» Sunday: Lorna Pacheco, lau hala weaver

» June 15: Reyna Keeaunui, kumu hula

» June 22: Lelea'e, artist, actress, singer and granddaughter of feather artist Marylou Kekuewa

» June 29: Brian Tolentino, ukulele player and member of Side Order Band.

Last weekend, Awai welcomed local Ming's Jewelry expert Linda Lee, a collector of the jewelry pieces for about 17 years. You can read more about her collection in a story I wrote seven years ago.

AS PART OF HER INFORMATIVE PRESENTATION, LINDA ALSO BROUGHT IN PIECES BY MING'S CONTEMPORARIES TO SHARE WITH GUESTS, SUCH AS THIS APPROXIMATELY 6-INCH ULU BROOCH MADE BY GUGLIEMO CINI FOR THE WAIKIKI GUMPS STORE IN THE 1930S. CLOTHING WAS STURDIER AT THE TIME TO SUPPORT SUCH LARGE PIECES.

AS PART OF HER INFORMATIVE PRESENTATION, LINDA ALSO BROUGHT IN PIECES BY MING'S CONTEMPORARIES TO SHARE WITH GUESTS, SUCH AS THIS APPROXIMATELY 6-INCH ULU BROOCH MADE BY GUGLIEMO CINI FOR THE WAIKIKI GUMPS STORE IN THE 1930S. CLOTHING WAS STURDIER AT THE TIME TO SUPPORT SUCH LARGE PIECES.

The company was started by artist Wook and Shay Yung Moon in the early 1940s. Sterling silver and ivory pieces that would have sold to downtown Honolulu's office workers for about $4.80 to $14.80 at the time now fetch hundreds of dollars.

One of the questions that came up was the value of signed vs. unsigned pieces. Lee said she generally has no trouble authenticating unsigned pieces which come up often because there were no rules in place in the mid-20th century, when speculation regarding collectibles was not on many individuals' radar.

"They only had one stamp so if the stamp was in Hilo and they were working in Honolulu, they just signed it by hand."

The handwriting varied from beautiful flourishes to jagged scrawls, depending on who was working on it.

"The signing wasn't important then, as long as Ming's was open."

The last Ming's store, on Fort Street Mall, closed its doors in 1999, and that sent patrons rushing to buy up the last remaining pieces. The advent of online buying and selling helped propel prices over the years.

In addition to the talent Mr. Moon showed in his hand-carved, hand-painted pieces, he was apparently also a superb marketer.

He dubbed junk jade that no one else wanted "water jade" to give it cachet, which gave way to the name "Moonlight Jade." Occlusions, or flaws in the stones, were christened "clouds," a more evocative, heavenly description that made the pieces more desirable.

No doubt he would be a contender for marketing awards if he and the business were around today!

A TEACUP AND SOME EXAMPLES OF MING'S PIECES, RANGING FROM JADE BANGLES, TO CARVED WOOD, AND STERLING SILVER PIECES. THE IVORY MAUNALOA BRACELET IN THE FOREGROUND WAS NOT MING'S, BUT MADE BY ANOTHER CONTEMPORARY, JOHN ROBERTS.

A TEACUP AND SOME EXAMPLES OF MING'S PIECES, RANGING FROM JADE BANGLES, TO CARVED WOOD, AND STERLING SILVER PIECES. THE IVORY MAUNALOA BRACELET IN THE FOREGROUND WAS NOT MING'S, BUT MADE BY ANOTHER CONTEMPORARY, JOHN ROBERTS.

ISAMI DOI CREATED THIS IVORY AND GOLD SEAHORSE, COMPARABLE TO IVORY AND STERLING SEAHORSES, UNICORNS AND DEER BROOCHES HE CREATED FOR MING'S. THE ART DECO STYLE FINS SUGGEST HE MAY HAVE CREATED THIS PARTICULAR SEAHORSE FOR GUMP'S.

ISAMI DOI CREATED THIS IVORY AND GOLD SEAHORSE, COMPARABLE TO IVORY AND STERLING SEAHORSES, UNICORNS AND DEER BROOCHES HE CREATED FOR MING'S. THE ART DECO STYLE FINS SUGGEST HE MAY HAVE CREATED THIS PARTICULAR SEAHORSE FOR GUMP'S.

MING'S JEWELRY ARTIST AND FOUNDER WOOK MOON WAS INSPIRED BY NATURE TO THE POINT OF CREATING LEAVES THAT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN NIBBLED ON BY INSECTS.

MING'S JEWELRY ARTIST AND FOUNDER WOOK MOON WAS INSPIRED BY NATURE TO THE POINT OF CREATING LEAVES THAT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN NIBBLED ON BY INSECTS.

THE ONCE UBIQUITOUS PLUMERIA IS A CLASSIC MING'S DESIGN, AVAILABLE IN MULTIPLE SIZES. THE DESIGN EVOLVED OVER TIME, FROM BEING POINTY TO MORE ROUNDED AND COMPACT, LIKE THE SAKURA, OR CHERRY BLOSSOM.

THE ONCE UBIQUITOUS PLUMERIA IS A CLASSIC MING'S DESIGN, AVAILABLE IN MULTIPLE SIZES. THE DESIGN EVOLVED OVER TIME, FROM BEING POINTY TO MORE ROUNDED AND COMPACT, LIKE THE SAKURA, OR CHERRY BLOSSOM.


LINDA SET THE TABLE WITH MAGNOLIA FROM HER YARD. IT WAS SO PRETTY I HAD TO SHARE IT. THE BLOSSOMS LAST ONLY TWO DAYS.

LINDA SET THE TABLE WITH MAGNOLIA FROM HER YARD. IT WAS SO PRETTY I HAD TO SHARE IT. THE BLOSSOMS LAST ONLY TWO DAYS.


Na Mea Hawaii/Native Books is at Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Boulevard. Call (808) 596-8885 for reservations.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Sirensong fills unique niche

By
June 4th, 2014



COURTESY SIRENSONG WETSUITS WETSUITS DESIGNED BY JAMIE DEFAY COLLINS RANGE FROM $180 TO $250 IN PRICE AND CAN BE PRE-ORDERED ONLINE AT HTTP://SIRENSONGWETSUITS.COM.

COURTESY SIRENSONG WETSUITS

WETSUITS DESIGNED BY JAMIE DEFAY COLLINS RANGE FROM $180 TO $250 IN PRICE AND CAN BE PRE-ORDERED ONLINE AT HTTP://SIRENSONGWETSUITS.COM.

BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Jamie DeFay Collins enjoys surfing and paddling, and for most of the year feels at home in a bikini. But when the temperature dips or the water is rough, a wet suit is the way to go, and she always lamented having to don one, not because of the need to cover up.

COURTESY SIRENSONG WETSUITS JAMIE DEFAY COLLINS AT WORK IN HER NORTH SHORE DESIGN STUDIO.

COURTESY SIRENSONG WETSUITS

JAMIE DEFAY COLLINS AT WORK IN HER NORTH SHORE DESIGN STUDIO.

“I’m really into style. I have a massive bikini collection, and I just find wetsuits boring,” she said. “Wetsuits were originally made for men, and guys are fine wearing T-shirts and boring wetsuits.

“When they started being made for women, they just made a few minor changes, but girls want to look sexy and stylish in the water.”

So Collins set out to redesign the wetsuit to suit her fashion sensibility. A year and a half after stitching up her first one, she has a growing business, Sirensong Wetsuits, to show for her effort.

“I was inspired by swimwear and wanted it to be really feminine. I spent a lot of time looking at dresses and how dresses are made to emphasize an hourglass figure to see where the seams were,” she said. “It was only for me, but my friends were excited about it and that’s how it turned into a business.”

Collins is taking pre-orders for her sleeveless “springsuits,” cropped tops and long-sleeve wetsuits online at sirensongwetsuits.com for $180 to $250, and recently launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign at to raise funds to start full commercial production of her collection in Canada and China.

As of Tuesday night she's raised more than $16,000, surpassing her $12,000 goal. The campaign will continue through June 21, with funds raised also going toward sponsoring aspiring athletes.

Even with commercial production in place this summer, Collins’ wetsuits will continue to be one-of-a-kind as she finishes each with her hand-painted and stenciled designs that resemble tribal motifs.

“I look at each suit as a blank canvas for my art. I use some color blocking with different colors of neoprene, but from the beginning I painted on each one and had no issues with bleeding or rubbing off,” she said. “Certain designs are very popular and people request them, but most are one-offs. People might ask for a design in their favorite color, and I’m very flexible in accommodating them.”

COURTESY SIRENSONG WETSUITS A DETAIL SHOT OF A SIRENSONG WETSUIT.

COURTESY SIRENSONG WETSUITS

A DETAIL SHOT OF A SIRENSONG WETSUIT.

COLLINS, who will turn 35 next month, grew up in Davis, Calif., and learned to surf in San Diego. Beyond the mere whim to redesign the wetsuit for women, she had the proper fashion credentials. She earned her bachelor’s degree in design with a textiles emphasis from the University of California at Davis, a degree that was shelved after she graduated in 2002.

She first tried making bikinis but had trouble getting noticed in the oversaturated marketplace. For the past 12 years she's worked as an environmental consultant — the last five in Hawaii, where living on the North Shore gave her a greater appreciation of water sports.

Collins is especially proud of her springsuits that look like swimsuits and are offered in a choice of “Hawaiian-style, skimpy” bottoms or full coverage for those “who don’t want to show that much.”

She also developed a cropped top for athletes who don’t want to worry about wardrobe malfunctions while on the waves.

For suits that are supposed to fit like a glove, Collins said getting the right fit can be a challenge, but she feels she’s worked with enough bodies to offer four sizes, from extra small to large, with some room for alterations.

“I tell people how to measure, where to measure. It’s difficult, but I’ve done it without ever seeing the person. I’ve shipped to Australia, all across the United States and Dubai.”

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives