Showtime for Hui Makaala
Among the models sharing the runway with the pros at the 46th annual Hui Makaala scholarship fund fashion show were several friends and past scholarship recipients of the Okinawan cultural, social and educational organization, plus politicos Ann Kobayashi, Keith Kaneshiro, Donna Mercado Kim and Hawaii First Lady and the event's honorary chair Dawn Amano-Ige, along with television anchors Moanike'ala Nabarro and Kenny Choi, who had people saying at my table that he is much better looking in person than on television.
I have to agree. It must be that whole suit and gravitas-added eyeglasses thing on TV that shows the more serious side of the person we saw on stage.
At any rate, with the triumvirate of The Cut Collective (Allison Izu, Rumi Murakami and Summer Shiigi), Manuheali'i and KZ Hawaii/Kini Zamora, it was one of Hui Makaala's strongest showcases in recent years.
The show opened with The Cut Collective, featuring casual and daily wear separates by the three individual designers. The great thing about showing the pieces on the guest models is that audience members could relate to the fit of the garments on people with normal — not giantess or extra slim — dimensions, which is what these designers keep in mind during the creative process. The pieces are very relatable and wearable, and included a trio of separates from Izu's recent summer travel capsule collection geared toward road warriors who travel light and want to get the most mileage out of the fewest pieces possible.
The navy, black and gray of the street-ready styles soon gave way to the color of Danene Lunn's Manuheali'i creations. The audience responded with plenty of applause for fruity, citrusy colors in breezy resort styles ranging from dresses to jumpsuits.
Because the designers used the same models, there was no finale walk to close the shows, and there was a moment of confusion when Neka Stephens walked the runway twice, in the finale of the Manuheali'i show, and start of Kini Zamora's KZ Hawai'i showcase. It's OK, we like seeing Neka on stage!
It turns out the bright orange and hot pink nautilus-print jumpsuit did indeed belong to Kini, whose show spanned the range of beach, day, evening and bridal looks.
And no one can say Hawaii audiences don't appreciate artistry. There was a noticeable buzz in the air when he sent down a black dress with sleeves and hemline that flowed like a cape, demonstrating technique that show why he finished so high on "Project Runway."
This year, nine students are the beneficiaries of Hui Makaala scholarships. They are Alexander Abe (Waldorf High to University of Hawaii at Manoa, public relations/communications), Riley Cabarloc (Hilo High to Hawaii Community College, nursing), Justin Higa (Aiea High to UHM, natural resource management), Kylie Leong (Kamehameha Schools to UH-West Oahu, business management), Kelli Miyahira (Punahou to NYU, music therapy), Ty Shimabukuro (Punahou to UHM, marine biology), Sydney Tsukenjo (Sacred Hearts Academy to Central Seattle College, political science and philosophy), Tylar Umemo (Mid-Pacific Institute to Anne Arundel Community College, culinary arts) and Kim Yamamoto (Hawaii Baptist Academy to UNLV, civil engineering).
Lastly, a suggestion for future fashion show producers. When you have models veering left and right on a runway, have them stop in the center first. It's better for photos and video.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.