Fashion Tribe

Namba scores 'Wheel' exposure

September 19th, 2014

Hawaii designer Anne Namba will get some sweet screen time when "Wheel of Fortune" episodes recently shot on the Big Island air in November and February.

COURTESY SONY PICTURESVanna White wore an Anne Namba gown on “Wheel of Fortune” shows taped on the Big Island.


Vanna White wore an Anne Namba gown on “Wheel of Fortune” shows taped on the Big Island.

Co-hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White were in Waikoloa with 195 staff and crew from Los Angeles through Wednesday for tapings of the long-running game show.

This trip marks the fifth time "Wheel of Fortune" has been on location in Hawaii, and the third time taping at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The episodes will air between Nov. 3 to 14 and Feb. 9 to 20.

White, who is known for the dazzling gowns she wears on the show, will be wearing three outfits by the local designer, as well as other fitting looks by Tommy Bahama.

It's a process that started in June, when White's stylist, Kathi Nishimoto, contacted Namba, who shipped designs for fittings in L.A. in August.

In a phone interview Sunday from the Big Island, White, 57, said the fittings are necessary because she's a petite 5-foot-6 and most designer samples are intended for 6-foot-tall models.

"Most of the time the dresses need to be hemmed, and I need to make sure the outfits allow me to lift my arms to reach the top row of the puzzle board," she said.

"Wheel of Fortune" began airing in 1975 and is now ranked as the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States.

White joined "Wheel" in 1982 and quickly set off Vanna mania with her glamorous and ever-changing wardrobe. The show's website includes a Vanna's Links section under the Backstage menu with photos of recent dresses.

"I don't know how that happened, but after 32 years and 6,000 gowns, I've worn a little bit of everything and never repeated a dress," she said.

That makes the extra attention she received from crew members over Namba's designs all the more remarkable.

"Everyone's been really impressed by Anne Namba's clothing. They're so beautiful but they're also comfortable, and for me that's great," White said.

"I'm a very simple girl. When I'm not working, I like to wear sweats and blue jeans."


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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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