Archive for May, 2016

On the Na Hoku red carpet

May 29th, 2016


From left are Style Awards judge Carol D’Angelo, wahine winner Aurora Kaawa, kane winner Sean O’Malley, and judges Georja Skinner and Dexter Doi.

The Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards ceremony is not only one of Hawaii's biggest showcases for entertainment in Hawaii, but also the one night Hawaii's music stars get to show off their red carpet style.

The big night puts the spotlight on nominees in 33 categories, vying for the Ka Hōkū Mua `Loa ("Star of Distinction") trophy.

It may be one of the most diverse red carpets in the world, where spectators will see a mix of gowns, Hawaiian formals, rock 'n' roll leather and Stetsons. So this year, in addition to recognition for music, the stars and guests were also recognized for their fashion sense.


At the Hoku Na Hanohano Awards, Natalie Ai Kamauu showed her star style with a hat she made to compliment her Adriana Papell dress.

Natalie Ai Kamauu and Iolani Kamauu in a denim suit. Below, Natalie's accessories.

hoku hands

The 39th annual awards that took place May 28 also marked the inaugural Poi Planet Style Contest, which took place in the foyer of the Kalākaua Ballroom at Hawai'i Convention Center prior to the start of the awards ceremony.

Winner in the wahine category was Aurora Kaawa, a former Miss Hawaii (’71) who also won the talent award at the Miss America 1971 pageant. She lives in Makakilo and travels back and forth to Southern California to run her entertainment and events company, Ahe Productions. She found her dress in a Palm Springs store in 2012 and wanted to wait for the right moment to wear it. Kaawa is a hula dancer who continues to perform with her brother Mike Kaawa, and has also performed as a featured dancer with Taj Mahal, Melveen Leed, Owana Salazar.

Winner in the kane category, Sean O’Malley, is part of the comedy duo, Oil in the Alley, a finalist in the Best Comedy Album Category. The Hawaii Kai singer/guitar player’s oil and fire outfit was inspired by the “oil” in his duo's name, while and his partner, R. Kevin Garcia Doyle’s blue outfit, was inspired by water.

Attendees were invited to model their outfits in front of an panel of judges. They were Georja Skinner, Chief Officer of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBED)/Creative Industries Division; designer Allison Izu; and Carol D’Angelo and Dexter Doi of Ecolicious.

The winners received prizes from Ala Moana Hotel, DADA Salon, Ecolicious, KoAloha Ukulele. Manaola, Allison Izu, and Reyn Spooner.

From left, Taz Vegas, Melia Kalawe and songwriter/producer Bobby Pileggi.

Blaine and Kaleo Kia. Blaine is wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt from Macy's with sandalwood bead necklace and Tahitian matau or fish hook necklace. Kaleo is wearing Manaola Hawaii.

Here to support the Kaleikini family, statuesque London singer/songwriter Chalin Barton wore an Alex Mullins dress with a thrift-shop kimono, accessorized with a Chanel bag.

Sandy "Storm" Essman, nominated with her band for Rock Album of the Year and Christmas Album of the Year, with Sean O'Malley of Oil in the Alley, who had been nominated for Best Comedy Album.

McKenna Maduli, a local girl who now calls Los Angeles home, has worked the red carpet in Access Hollywood, Billboard Live, and MTV, was the emcee for the fashion awards. She wore a design created by Kini Zamora.

Kaimi Hananoeau, right, entered the fashion contest in a shirt by Puamana Crabbe. He's with Jamie Ernestberg.

Stylist Ralph Malani, left, dressed McKenna Maduli and Raiatea Helm for the event. He's with Cliff Duldulao.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Living culture at the MAMo Wearable Arts Show 2016

May 24th, 2016


One of Maui designer Anna Kahalekulu's models holds up a life-sustaining pohaku, or stone, the inspiration for her collection for the 10th annual MAMo Wearable Art Show.

Storyteller/performer Moses Goods opened the Maoli Arts Month 10th annual Wearable Art Show on May 18 at Hawaii Theatre with his tale of Maui "making plants fly" by shaping them into a lupe, or kite, reflecting the ingenuity of the demigod and the Hawaiian people, who, from humble materials, were able to create, clothe, house and feed themselves.

It was a tale befitting the show dedicated to showcasing the creativity of Native Hawaiian and Pacific designers, artists and cultural practitioners.

The show is one of the highlight events of a month that includes a film festival, storytelling festival and art exhibition.

With the click of 'ili 'ili and pahu rhythms with the speed of a heartbeat, Maui-based designer and educator Anna Kahalekulu, a first-timer to the Oahu show, was the first to present. Her show was focused on the pohaku, or stones considered to be one of the people's life-sustaining forces.

Her fabrics dyed with plant materials and alaea reflected the multi-colors and textures of stones from mountain to sea.

In addition to the work shown on stage, Rava Ray showed pieces, in the Hawaii Theatre lobby, that she created for last year's Honolulu Fashion Week, including this piece incorporating turkey, peacock and pheasant feathers.

The show was tamer than last year's event, when many an artist made a political statement regarding the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea.

The show featured the return of Lufi Luteru, Wahine Toa, Maile Andrade and Marques Marzan. Maori designer Hone Bailey was there representing Aotearoa, or New Zealand.

With co-host and show director Robert Uluwehi Cazimero feeling under the weather, there wasn't as much of the comedic banter between him and producer emcee Vicky Holt Takamine as usual, but enough to add lightness and laughter to the evening.

A hair look created for 6th generation weaver Keaou Nelson's show of handwoven accessories.

Unfortunately, maybe I was laughing a little too hard regarding their tale of a missing connection at the airport due to confusion over Kauai designer Lavena Kehaulani Kekua's full name, which hadn't been included on the ticket.

Adding a double whammy to her day, I must have hit the stop button on my video camera, so her show isn't included as one of the videos below. It was a beautiful show of bold, handpainted scarves. All I can say is, "Sorry" and "Come back next year!"

And the same goes for the audience. Even at its most sedate, this is still one of the most lively shows in town.

Following the show, there was an after-party and trunk show where some girl snagged Kahalekulu's sleeveless yellow silk jacket I wanted.

And, as a testament to Wahine Toa's and designer Nita Pilago's popularity, there was a line at a private entrance for her work.

Another show will take place June 25 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Call (808) 242-2787 for more information. Featured will be the work of Maile Andrade, Marques Marzan, Wahine Toa, Koa Johnson, Anna Kahalekulu, Elisha Clemons and Kehau Kekua.

Are designers ever done before showtime? Above, Marques Marzan adds black trim to one of his garments. Below left, Anna Kahalekulu works on a lauhala capelet, and Keoua Nelson works on one of his woven belts.

mamo anna

mamo nelson

Marzan's inspiration was the chiefly fan, the pe'ahi, that incorporated weaving and twining techniques, and often, human hair from a close relative or someone imbued with strong mana.

Here are the shows, in order of presentation:

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her fashion coverage in print in Saturday's Today section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Kauai hosts fashion weekend

May 9th, 2016


Designer Sha Ali Ahmad, co-founder of Kaua'i Fashion Weekend, takes a bow following his Saturday runway presentation. At right, Maytee Martinez, from "House of DVF" was one of his models.

In Honolulu, we tend to look at our city of a million as the center of everything creative in Hawaii, from food to fashion. But, our neighbor islands no longer want to be ignored. There is amazing culinary work being done on Maui, and in distant Kauai, a nascent fashion scene is no longer waiting for Honolulu to come calling, when it's perfectly capable of attracting attention at home.

The 4th Annual Kaua‘i Fashion Weekend took place May 7, featuring Kauai designers' newest island-inspired evening couture, resort, casual and beach wear collections.

Co-founded by international fashion designer Sha Ali Ahmad of India, and Marynel Valenzuela, president of Inkspot Printing on Kauai, the red-carpet event drew more than 400 residents and visitors to the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club's Grand Ballroom.

Above and below, two more of Sha Ali Ahmad's designs.


Ahmad, who has created fashions worn by celebrities from Hollywood to Bollywood, showed his latest collection, AC 16, which previously debuted at fashion shows in Miami and California. He calls Kauai his home away from home, said he was inspired to help raise the island’s profile in fashion design internationally.

“I want to make Kaua‘i a destination for fashion lovers everywhere. The designers here have huge potential because of the diverse culture. Since my first visit, the people, culture, hospitality and beauty of the island have inspired me.”

Among the models was Maytee Martinez, an international model, designer and star of the E! cable network series, "House of DVF."

Swim and resort styles, below, dominated the Kauai collections.


Also featured were homegrown designers Chanterelle Chantara of Chez Chanterelle, Taryn Rodighiero of KaiKini Bikinis, Karla Bollmann of Karlota’s Tropical Clothing, and Wilma Bumanglag of Wilma’s Top Secret.

Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, hopes this focus on fashion will encourage more island residents to share their creativity.

“When people think of Kaua‘i, fashion isn’t always top of mind. There are some beautiful styles being designed by island residents that people anywhere in the world would enjoy wearing. Promoting Kauai’s fashion design is a beautiful way to diversify our island’s economy and show that Kauai should be known for more than sun and surf.”

More informatiion:

UH designers celebrate 'Roots'

May 9th, 2016


Moses Gouveia was one of two senior designers showing their collections at the 50th annual University of Hawaii at Manoa fashion show, themed "Roots." His collection is entitled "Lush Hawaiian Garden."

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Fashion Design and Merchandising Department marks its 50th anniversary this year, and it's annual fashion show on May 1 celebrated both up-and-coming designers, as well as returning alumni. The event, "ROOTS: The 50th annual UHM Fashion Show," took place May 1 at Kennedy Theater.

The show opened with returning alumni presenting a group collection. They were Terrilyn Okumura (Class of 1982), Matt Bruening (2009), Erin Rudolph (2009), Jennifer Fukino (2010), Joelle Perry (2011), Kristen Domingcil (2011), Kathryn Stringer (2012), Cole Lida (2013), Bejan Moers (2013), Chyloe Guerrero (2014), Tori Speere (2014) and Sarah Yamashige (2014).

Graduating senior Kari Begay paid homage to biker/Bond girl chic with her "X's & O's" collection.

Following a showcase by junior designers Angela Huber, Cheryl Ishii, Von Kaanaana, Yuyu Liu, Breanne McCleary, Darcy Shindo, Carly Tanimoto and Lily G.B. Zheng, was a presentation of a special collection of jewelry-inspired designs by Liu, Zheng and Yuanting Wu, and neoprene designs by Moses Gouveia.

Closing the show were collections by seniors Kari Begay and Moses Gouveia.

Gouveia's collection was inspired by Manoa valley and the fragrance of the awapuhi flower. His nine-piece collection featured swimwear, day wear, cocktail looks and an evening gown.

He initially earned his AAS degree in fashion technology at Honolulu Community College in 2013, before continuing his education at UH. After graduating, he aims to start his own women’s resortwear line.

Begay's collection reflected her love of motor culture, and her biker black pieces was centered around fashion for riders. She looked to Bond girl silhouettes for inspiration.

Even though this was a UH show, the faculty of Honolulu Community College's Fashion Technoloogy program still claim Gouviea as one of their own. He earned his Associate in Applied Science degree there before pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising at UH.

Here's a look at the designs:

A couple of menswear looks from the junior showcase.

One of the alumni designs, left, and a dress by fashion show director and junior designer Von Kaanaana.

One of the designs from the special collections segment, inspired by jewelry. Below, a detail.

uh details

HCC presents "The Gallery"

May 3rd, 2016


One of Edmar Villa's models walked the runway during the designer's "Fleur Connections" segment that closed "The Gallery," Honolulu Community College's annual student fashion show.

Students of Honolulu Community College's Fashion Technology program presented their annual senior fashion show, this year titled "The Gallery," at the school's Marine Education and Training Center on April 30.

The event showcased the work of junior and senior designers, with 11 graduating students presenting individual collections.

The show is also a collaborative effort involving students throughout the campus, including the art department, design center, carpentry and cosmetology students who help with everything from makeup and hair to stage design.

A model shows the opening look from Matt Batulayan's "Mask4Masc" collection.

A model in a swimsuit from Rose Saludares' "Stained Glass" collection.

A model in a swimsuit from Rose Saludares' "Stained Glass" collection.

One of the look's from Ashley Kaminaga's "Blush" collection.

The students take their bows at the show's finale. From left are Dinah Swords, Rose Saludares, Matt Batulayan, Edmar Villa, Ashley Kaminaga, Hilda Howell, Samara Keuma, Lory Wong, Liko Fukumoto and Jessica Nguyen.

From left are Matt Batulayan, Edmar Villa, Ashley Kaminaga, Hilda Howell, Samara Keuma, Lory Wong, Liko Fukumoto, Jessica Nguyen and Kimberly Kaai.

Here's a look at the senior showcases, in order of their presentations:

DINAH SWORDS: “Love Today”

With a love of country and prairie looks, bluegrass and folk grass movie and vintage Americana, Swords celebrates retro feminine looks with a collection of dresses and tops inspired by small town diners and cafes, thrift shops and book stores. Soft cream and peachy colors delivered a sense of innocence missing on big city streets, and though inspired in part by little old ladies, manage to look fresh, young and flirty.


Kaai is a fan of the carefree bohemian look which she interprets for resort and Hawaii’s warm weather by creating dresses, rompers and separates in clean cool whites. Her pieces allow for easy mixing and matching, making it a breeze to pack up and go anywhere.

ROSE SALUDARES: “Stained Glass”

Saludares entered the fashion program with the aim of creating casual wear but after taking a course in swimwear she fell in love with the fabric and fit and now focuses solely on designing for the beach life. Her designs feature high-cut legs to create the illusion of length, and details that allow transition to the street when worn like a bodysuit. The irony is, she said, “I used to go to the beach, but I don’t have time anymore. I’m too busy sewing.”

JESSICA NGUYEN: “Adrenaline”
Nguyen identifies with the athlete and the hard work and determination they bring to their sport. She wants to bring the same energy to her sportswear and athleisure apparel. She initially started out wanting to create a girly line and still brings feminine touches to her designs, such as heart cutouts on cropped tops. Pieces can also be mixed and matched with streetwear.


Social media has given everyone access to the inner lives of celebrities and CEOs, and it’s the young, stylish female CEOS who have inspired Wong’s collection. She created her line to appeal to the successful entrepreneur who knows how to be a professional in business dealings, “but knows how to have a good time too.”
Working with edgy, minimalist designs in black, she delivers a color pop of royal blue for separates that would work well with pieces women already have in their closets.
Believing that less is more in fashion, her designs have a timeless quality that will make her garments mainstays, even as the rest of fashion remains in flux.

LIKO FUKUMOTO: "The Most" by LikoLove

Fukumoto is a combination of beauty plus classic tomboy, who practices judo and took up wrestling at Moanalua High School. She originally planned to take up Auto Tech at HCC, but when her parents weren’t thrilled, she found her way into the fashion program where she embraced the yin-yang aspect of her personality to liberate women who feel confined by society’s expectations of perfection at all times.
Her multi-functional pieces start with swimsuits for an active, outdoorsy life, that can be dressed up for an evening out.
“There’s a lot of work involved in being so put together all the time,” she said. “I feel like girls need an outlet to be the tomboy once in a while because it’s cute if you’re messy sometimes. I think girls should be able to wrestle and kick butt, and look cute doing it.”

SAMARA KEUMA: “Electric Siren”

Keuma’s life outside of fashion revolves around music and attending as many festivals as she can. Taking inspiration from the Electric Daisy Carnival and Paradiso Festival, she’s created swimsuit-inspired festival apparel created to help revelers keep their cool while dancing into the wee hours.
Electric blues and a touch of sparkle and shine reflect an equal obsession with the ocean and mermaids. “I love the ocean, I love to swim, I love to be at the beach all the time.”
She’s already making plans to wear some of her garments to the next EDC at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in June.


Howell takes inspiration from the Greek goddess of the moon and the hunt to create a collection both strong and feminine, that grew out of her love of stretch knit fabrics that glide over the body, delivering a combination of fit and flow.
“I’ve been dancing since I was a child so I love movement, things that are fluid and elegant,” she said. “Some of the designs are made for dancing, with flowy circular ruffles, and mermaid silhouettes.
“When I looked at everything together, it reminded me of a fierce Greek goddess, who could be strong but still look sexy on the hunt.”


In our information society, people are no longer boxed in by old ideas and Batulayan feels we’ve entered a period in which people, armed with Internet-taught know-how, are able to try their hand at anything that piques their interest.
As an art lover, he found himself drawing parallels between today's Renaissance men and those of 14th to 17th century Europe in creating his menswear collection. He looked to the color and extravagance of the Venetian carnival to create designs for men who want to be the center of attention.
With bondage-influenced cut-outs and a bold print he designed himself, the looks were created for club-goers, but with side-slit shirts, also happen to be comfortable in the heat of the day.


In Kaminaga’s eyes, glamour shouldn’t be restricted to evening wear or red carpets, and she strives to bring more stardust to women’s every day lives at affordable prices. Not one to shy away from risk, she’s taking a chance that there are other women like herself, who want to break from the norm by opting for daytime separates and dresses in sheer and silk fabrics in the color pink. And, for those who don’t have time in the morning to think about jewelry, she’s providing that too by stringing sparkling beads and stones that work as necklaces at the front and back of dresses, or as skirt overlays.

EDMAR VILLA: “Fleur Connections”

Villa grew up in the Philippines where, even as a child, he knew he wanted to be a designer. “Pageants are a big thing so I had fantasies of making ballgowns,” he said. But a decade later, his taste more refined, out came the sparkles and in came menswear details to define his womenswear collection.
Nevertheless, some childhood memories stuck. “I remember playing in the grass near bamboo and flowers, and being so close to nature, and here, I don’t see it.”
He went online shopping at Mood, the New York dry goods store featured in “Project Runway” and found a gray-and-white floral print with spots of color that now grace separates of pants, tops and kimono-style jackets.
And you wonder why “Project Runway” designers never used fabric this beautiful?
“I bought all of it,” Villa said.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her fashion coverage is in print on Saturdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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