By Nadine Kam
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.