Archive for March, 2016

The Clique by KZ officially open

March 18th, 2016


Kini Zamora welcomed friends, family and fans to the grand opening of his work/retail space, The Cliqque by KZ.

When it comes to what motivates designer Kini Zamora, it's always about his ohana, and on March 17, that extended to a statewide network of family, friends, fans and supporters who turned out to the grand opening celebration of his work/retail/share space, The Clique by KZ.

Keeping it ohana style, the celebration included plenty of food, with music by Robert Cazimero, people joining in hula performances, and the screening of the night's newest "Project Runway All Stars" installment, "Going for Baroque," with Kini still in the game after six weeks.

Among the designer's special guests were his "Project Runway" Season 13 competitors Sean Kelly and Alexander Knox, also in town for the Susan G. Komen Pink Tie Ball fundraiser March 18, that I advanced in Thursday's paper.

More than a just another typical retail space, Kini envisions The Clique by KZ as a shared space for fellow creatives including designers, hair and makeup artists, stylists and photographers in need of a place to work and sell their designs, jewelry, accessories and services.

Never forgetting his roots and many years spent working in his family's garage before "Runway" acclaim enabled him to secure a space, Kini aims to help others bootstrapping their way up toward success.

The Clique by KZ is at 99-1132 Iwaena St., Halawa. Visit for membership information.

I could not be at the event due to a work trip to Maui, but photographers Jeptha Eddy and Orlando Benedicto captured the moment:


Among Kini's special guests was designer Sean Kelly, second from right, his "Project Runway" competitor and Season 13 winner.

Kini also welcomed his fellow "Project Runway" Season 13 competitor Alexander Knox, pictured in lei, surrounded by fans.

The lively evening included hula, plus music performed live by Robert Cazimero.

Kini's wall of spooled threads provided a colorful backdrop for selfies.

On a night when a new episode of "Project Runway All-Stars" debuted, Kini's fans could watch and see how he fared during the "Going for Baroque" challenge.

The designer surrounded by his supporters.

'All Stars': Clothing the nudes

March 10th, 2016


Kini Zamora creates a sketch for his naturist model, Felicity."

Episode 5 recap: "Birthday Suits"

Well this competition promised to be interesting because it's the first one in which the designers are being asked to dress naturists, that is, people who wish to live in harmony with nature, including going naked.

But, humans weren't made to be naked for winter, so the assignment is to create a winter look acceptable to people who don't like wearing clothes. The naturists walk into the studio in their birthday suits, with all their privates blurred out. This is the part that I don't understand about this spate of shows with naked themes, like "Dating Naked." If they want to titillate viewers, they should also have the courage to show all so we can see what the participants are actually seeing.

Right off the bat, Mitchell Perry mentions that he's from Florida and he's never even seen snow, so coming up with a winter look might be difficult for him since he says he lives in "tank tops and Speedos."

At first I think the same cold weather handicap might be true for Hawaii designer Kini Zamora, but I remembered he spent a year in school in New York and has designed several beautiful coats before, so this challenge should be no problem for him.

He has ambitious plans for a four-piece ensemble including chiffon, and that seems like overkill, especially because these models want to wear as little as possible. Mentor Zanna Roberts Rassi tells him as much.

Meanwhile, Sam Donovan is struggling because he chooses a bold yellow check fabric that horrifies his model, a plain Jane sort of person compared to models who have seen it all and are well aware of the theatrical aspects of fashion. Because part of the assignment is to make their naturists happy, he scraps his original plan and has to scramble for an alternative look. Problem is, he doesn't have any other fabric so has to plead for scraps from the other designers who aren't forthcoming because they just don't like him. Kini doesn't appear to be a fan of Donovan either, but he gives him some fabric.

In spite of Mitchell's early misgivings, he turns out a respectable ensemble of sweater vest, trouser and coat. The other designers are amazed and attribute the stripped down look to his working with a male model, which leaves no room for his usual excessive decorating.

For the first time, judges come up with four top looks and two on the bottom. On top are Kini, Mitchell, Dom Streater and Emily Payne, who is named the winner for a striking blue "California winter" dress with a cape attachment in back, the most original design of the evening.

Donovan and Valerie Mayen end up on the bottom. Donovan would probably have fared better if he had stuck with his original look and fabric, but his model would not have been comfortable. Part of the judges' discussion was that both designers' models loved the looks created for them. Mayen produced a weighty coat because her model told her she would feel most comfortable in a blanket.

Reading between the lines, it wasn't a surprise for the judges to declare them both safe for another week because they did please their clients.

The decision didn't go over well with the other designers who were disturbed particularly that Donovan got this second chance when others did not. In a bit of sour grapes, Alexander Pope suggested it was because Donovan flirted with the judges.

A hurt and angry Donovan vows to pick off the other designers one by one. Juicy. Stay tuned.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Spring trends at Shop A Le'a

March 10th, 2016


Sandro shows Spanish flair in this striking red lace dress ($700) at Bloomingdale’s, modeled by Daniella Abe, with Dolce & Gabbana red flower sunglasses ($335) from Sunglass Hut, J.Crew-on-the-Island earrings ($65), Alexis Bittar Broken Heart ring ($195) from Neiman Marcus, and bag ($602) from Michel Negrin. Styling by Kim Smith.

Spring’s fashion trends will be on the runway with a series of fashion shows taking place during Ala Moana Center’s 9th annual Shop a Le’a event, running March 14 through 20.

In addition to centerwide and individual store events, and fashion, beauty and cuisine experiences, shoppers will have the opportunity to win a trip for two to Seattle, and other prizes, and receive a centerwide gift-with-purchase tote from Ted Baker London.

The season's lingerie looks aren’t limited to camisole tops and slip dresses. From Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s The Row come a pajama suit jacket ($2,990) and pajama pant ($1,350), worn with a Xirena gold bra ($78), all from Neiman Marcus, paired with Emporio Armani gold chain bag ($775), Guess earrings ($22), and Alexis Bittar gold choker ($295) from Bloomingdale’s.

The fashion show schedule:

March 16
6 p.m.: Ivivva

March 17
6 p.m.: Reyn Spooner

March 19
Noon: San Lorenzo Bikinis
1 p.m.: Bloomingdale’s
2 p.m.: Diane von Furstenberg
3 p.m.: Nordstrom
4 p.m.: Ted Baker London
5 p.m.: Banana Republic

March 20
Noon: Macy’s
1 p.m.: St. John
2 p.m.: Planet Blue
3 p.m.: White House│Black Market

Neiman Marcus presented a fashion show of spring 2016's fringe, denim, lace, red and "cold shoulder" trends on Feb. 17.

Daniella Abe is wearing a peach suede fringed top ($49) from Guess, fringed skirt from Cynthia Rowley ($325), Eddie Borgo pastel bracelet ($260) from Neiman Marcus, and Emporio Armani pink bangle ($225).

Kaiea Bosgra is wearing a J.Crew-on-the-Island field jacket ($198) with Emporio Armani straight-leg chinos ($375) and Emporio Armani sunglasses ($160).


Abe is in a shirt from Guess ($79) and Maje mesh skirt ($325) from Bloomingdale’s, accessorized with a handbag from Cynthia Rowley, and J.Crew-on-the-Island flower necklace ($158), flower bracelet ($98), and flower earrings ($78).

A few looks shown on the Neiman Marcus runway last month, on Eva Blacker and Taylor:

spring trend

spring men

spring women

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Ikebana heralds spring at NM

March 9th, 2016


Sheets of pink and red plastic were cut and manipulated with heat to accompany an ikebana anthurium arrangement to be featured in Neiman Marcus's Jonathan Adler shop.

During a three-day celebration of spring, art, fashion and flowers, Neiman Marcus will host a free Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition by Sensei Linda Hamasaki and her 40 students of Sogetsu School of Ikebana, March 11 through 13.

The Japanese flower arranging displays will integrate the latest Neiman Marcus spring fashions, many featuring red, the color of the season.

The ikebana creations will incorporate local tropical plants, seasonal flowers and some spring flowers flown in from Japan. In addition, Joyce “Seika” Tomonari will be highlighting a sculpture designed by the late artist Michael Tom. The metal sculpture, entitled “House that Held the Sun” is from her personal art collection.

Each level in the store will house several large-scale arrangements by Sensei Hamasaki and her advanced students. The center aisle in Gift Galleries on Level Three will also serve as the “Sogetsu Gallery” housing 11 smaller arrangements.

A directory of the pieces will be available to guide guests through the store to view all of the arrangements.

Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 11, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 12, and noon to 5 p.m. March 13.

Also, while in the store, enjoy the "Art of Fashion," informal modeling of the latest Spring 2016 trends throughout the store from noon to 2 p.m. today through March 14.

Other spring events:

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2016: View the designers' latest collection inspired by the style and culture of Italy through the eyes of foreign tourists from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 10 to 12. Enjoy Italian-inspired refreshments and informal modeling from noon to 2 p.m. March 11 and 12. In Designer Sportswear, Level Two.

Maria Canale for Forevermark: Meet the jewelry designer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 10 to 12 and view her latest jewelry pieces, along with a special collection of rough diamonds available for purchase. In Precious Jewels Salon, Level One. Here's a link to my post about Canale's last visit to Hawaii:

Eileen Fisher event: View the Spring 2016 Collection from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 11 and 12,
and enjoy informal modeling from noon to 2 p.m. both days, in Sport Shop, Level Two.

Milly event: View the latest collection and receive a gift with a qualifying purchase, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. March 11 and 12, in Sport Shop, Level Two.

Prom event: View some of spring’s best evening gowns 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 12, and pick up prom ideas during informal modeling from noon to 2 p.m. There will be gown and wardrobe consultations, as well as makeover tips for prom season. Customers will receive a clutch with a qualifying purchase that day. Consultation appointments are limited; call 948-3444.

Jade by Nikolai's aMAZE-ing eve

March 8th, 2016


At right, jewelry designer Nikolai Tsang with Julie Aragaki.

Nikolai Tsang always stages the best parties, so a spring showcase of her latest jade and jewelry collections welcoming the Year of the Fire Monkey was not to be missed.

To entice, invitations were sent out weeks before the March 5 event. The invitations came with wooden destination markers, the picture postcard sort that indicate distance to desirable locations. We were told the arrows would point their way to a maze within which surprises await. Who doesn't love a surprise?

The space next door to Kakaako Agora was indeed decked out with a fabric maze with nooks that were home to a braid bar, henna station, several jewelry displays, a flower wall for selfies, and personal readings with Alice Inoue.

Coiffe Couture provided braids for men and women at a braid bar in one section of the maze.

Others signed up for mehndi, or temporary henna tattoos.

With flowers everywhere, the garden theme extended to the table where a "live garden" salad bar included crudité planted in soil of rye bread crumbs. And Elite Catering desserts of chocolate pudding studded with bits of fruit were planted in mini glazed flower pots. Other desserts came in stemware in the shape of tulips, and this was the first time I tried rose-flavored gau, a non-traditional version of the Chinese new year's sticky steamed rice cake.

All this was backdrop for the real stars of the show, Nikolai's beautiful jade carvings, and jade and precious stone jewelry. I made note of a particular yellow diamond ring.

An overview of the setting.

Guests could browse through collections of pearls, jade and precious stone jewelry all night long.

nik stones

nik gem

Beyond a display of hanging flowers was a wall of corded jade bracelets.

An edible garden of crudité.

An edible garden of crudité.

Potted pudding and other desserts.

Traditional-, green tea- and rose-flavored gau.

Traditional-, green tea- and rose-flavored gau.

 Elite Catering also provided more serious bites, including beef, shrimp and duck.

Elite Catering also provided more serious bites, including beef, shrimp and duck.

Keith Aragaki had the henna applied to his face.

Keith Aragaki had the henna applied to his face.

POSHd opens its doors at Ward

March 8th, 2016


Valerie Ragaza-Miao at the entrance to her new shop, POSH'd by Valerie Joseph, at Ward Village Shops, next to Bed Bath & Beyond.

Valerie Ragaza-Miao, founder of the Valerie Joseph boutique, celebrated Girl's Day March 3 with the grand opening of her new boutique concept at Ward Village, POSHd by Valerie Joseph.

"I consider it the older, socially conscious sister of Valerie Joseph," she said. "I've always been a big supporter of community and always wanted to expand awareness of socially conscious brands."

Beyond her visibility as a boutique owner, Ragaza-Miao has been a longtime supporter of community organizations such as Community Helping Schools, raising funds through her annual PINC (Partners Inspiring Nouvelle Concepts) events, and also staging events to boost girls' and womens' self-esteem.

Ragaza-Miao, whose motto has long been, "Life is short, buy cute clothes," still delivers the cuteness at her new boutique, but now features more garments sourced from microbusinesses that help support women in impoverished countries.

Valerie 's husband Joseph Miao, with the couple's toy poodle Sukoshi, who gives Bellini restaurant's Maile  Sengoura a kiss. Maile catered the event.

Valerie 's husband Joseph Miao, with the couple's toy poodle Sukoshi, who gives Bellini restaurant's Maile Sengoura a kiss. Maile was serving up burger sliders for the event.

Among jewelry items are Greenie Bracelets that come wrapped around handmade, recycled paper embedded with seeds, allowing purchasers to plant trees with each purchase.

Ragaza-Miao also carries note-filled tins from Gratitude, a company that enlists artists to create products to promote social responsibility and help raise funds for education in at-risk populations. Each note bears a message to leave behind to brighten someone's day.

Also part of the lifestyle boutique are small home decor such as pillows, and Ragaza-Miao's Coco Java line of Hawaiian coffee, at $7.99 for 7 ounces, and gluten-free, candy sprinkle "confetti" studded coconut-flavored Hawaiian pancake mix ($9.99).

The boutique is next to Bed Bath & Beyond. For more information, call 942-5258 or visit

Malie Moran, left, and Midweek style editor Yu Shing Ting in POSHd apparel.

Pastry chef Eddie Lopez was serving up pancakes made from Valerie's Coco Java gluten-free "Coconut Confetti" pancake mix. The mix includes candy sprinkles that offer a pop of color.

A closer look at the pancakes dotted with candy sprinkle "confetti."

The purchase of a Greenies bracelet allows buyer to plant a tree with the seed-embedded paper the bracelets come wrapped around.

Gratitude notes are filled with leave-behind notes bearing messages to brighten the day of friends, loved ones or even strangers.

For the POSHd home.


Beaded fringe collar.

Clear globe purse.

'All Stars': Fashion to the rescue

March 4th, 2016


The designers learn about their unconventional challenge."

Episode 4 recap: "Fashion 911"

This is the week of the unconventional challenge and host Alyssa Milano catches up with the designers by arriving by ambulance. In honoring New York City's EMTs—the policemen, firemen and ambulance crews—the designers unconventional materials will come from these public services.

Hawaii designer Kini Zamora picks surgical gloves that look like rubber balloons when sewn together, and proceeds to make a cocktail dress.

Along the way, Layana Aguilar says that this is the first time she doesn't like what Kini is doing, saying of his dress, "I think it looks like a piñata." He's also warned by mentor Zanna Roberts Rassi not to create a parade float.

But, in "Project Runway All Stars" storytelling format, they're not featuring Kini much in this episode, so I'm pretty sure he'll end up in the middle of the pack, and he does.

Alexander Pope talks about still being high off his win last week, but as far as I'm concerned, he just got lucky that he had been partnered with Asha Daniels, whose dress was so cute, just as Sam Donovan's look last week should have been attributed to Kini.

Hawaii designer Kini Zamora puts his skills to the test on the set of "Project Runway All Stars."

Stella Zotis tries to use oxygen tubes to make a jacket, but without transforming her material, her nonsensical garment is more alien art project than fashion, and Rassi reminds her this is a runway challenge, not an art challenge. Stella is warned not to be too crafty. and has to start over.

What she ends up with looks pretty cute, a T-shirt with the New York skyline designed from X-rays, worn over a pencil skirt. But she ends up on the bottom with Asha and Alexander.

As usual, Alexander's mini dress is tacky. But the judges deem Stella's look as being too "Forever 21" basic so she is sent home. Her excuse was that she was not true to her vision in finishing her hose coat. If that made her loss easier to swallow, that's fine for her, but truth is, the hose coat would have gotten her sent home because it missed the point of transforming the material to look like fabric.

Meanwhile, Sam came up with a striking, haphazard but couture-looking, boxy dress length jacket, and is named the winner.

Kini's finished garment."

The look that gave Sam a legit win this week."

I thought Dom Streater's creation was stunning and should have placed higher. She didn't even crack top 3! It definitely didn't look like unconventional materials. She used cut-up X-rays to create her pattern."

Stella came up with a cute save, but it wasn't enough to prevent her from going home."

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments