August 17th, 2015 / posted by paularath
Photos courtesy Timothy Ojile

Photos courtesy Timothy Ojile

My dear friend Timothy Ojile, an extraordinary artist with a unique style of painting, has moved permanently from Honolulu to Minneapolis.

The move might seem odd, but Timothy is originally from Minneapolis and most of his family is there. In addition, he has a loft in the city that is absolutely perfect for producing the kind of art he wants to produce right now: scrolls that measure 11 feet long. Where would you find that kind of studio space in Honolulu?

Timothy Scroll 2

The loft is in the center of the city and Minneapolis is a city of sky walks and connecting buildings that enable people to live indoors throughout the colder months. Timothy never has to face the brutal winter weather head on. He can simply paint to his heart’s content in his light filled, warm and cozy  loft.

Timothy Scroll 3

If you miss Timothy’s energetic and uplifting art (as I do), you can always visit Neiman Marcus for a fix. His work is hanging in the children’s department and in my mother’s favorite restaurant, Mermaid, both on the second level of the store.

Timothy Scroll 4

Taking an art class from Timothy was always a kick, literally and figuratively. Literally because he kicked me in the butt to get me out of any rut I was in. He had me close my eyes to paint, paint with my non-dominant hand, paint with black alone – everything but paint standing on my hands. Figuratively because mark making is so important to the style he teaches, and mark making often took a back seat in my work. Color and texture generally ruled my canvases.

Perhaps he will return to Honolulu for an occasional workshop…..

Timothy Scroll 5

I absolutely LOVE his new work!

- Paula Rath

August 6th, 2015 / posted by paularath
Watercolor by Sue Roach. Photos courtesy of

“Four Floats,”watercolor by Sue Roach. Photos courtesy of

…you can’t take Hawaii out of the girl.

Sue Roach lived in Hawaii for 20 years, leaving for life on the  Mainland in 2011. But Hawaii is so deeply embedded in her heart that island subjects just keep flowing out of her watercolor brushes.

Now her lovely local-style paintings can be found on tote bags and throw pillows, sold on a website:

Pillow version of "Four Floats"

Pillow version of “Four Floats,” $26

“The Air Force brought me to Hawaii  in 1991, and I retired in 1997. Eventually we moved to Kaneohe, and stayed until 2011 (20 years!)” she wrote in an email from her camping site in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Like many of our artist friends, Sue didn’t start painting seriously until she retired. Her first art classes were with Mary Mench at Kalaheo High School in 2001. She fell in love with watercolor and went on to classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art School with such excellent teachers as Roger Whitlock.

"Floats and Bamboo" tote bag.

“Floats and Bamboo” tote bag, $38

Sue joined the Windward Wanderers, and “That was a turning point in my art, learning plein air painting, joining the Hawaii Watercolor Society and taking workshops with nationally known artists…. The more I painted, the more I wanted to paint MORE. Then I sold a painting, such a thrill for a beginning artist. Then I entered some shows and won some awards.” In a word, she was hooked.

"Water Lily" tote bag, $20

“Water Lily” tote bag, $20

You can see some of Sue’s most popular paintings on her website at

"Golfer"  thorw pillow, $25

“Golfer” throw pillow, $25

In 2011, Sue and her husband moved to Las Vegas to be closer to family. She joined the Nevada Watercolor Society and started her own plein air painting group. It was a Nevada artist friend who turned her on to the www.fineartamerica website where she learned they can put your art on throw pillows, tote bags, duvet covers and even phone cases.

“I looked through my more popular pieces and found some lent themselves very well to the tote bags and throw pillows,” Sue explained. “Since many of my pieces are tropical flowers, I thought they would be stunning decor accents for Hawaii residents or other tropical/coastal areas.”

"Grapes" tote bag, $23

“Grapes” tote bag, $23

Sue recently learned from one of her customers that there is a website called which allows artists to submit their art to be used on the site’s canvas shoes.

Wouldn’t that be a kick?

- Paula Rath

"Tranquility" throw pillow, $25

“Tranquility” throw pillow, $25



June 30th, 2015 / posted by paularath
HI Design Commune was artfully curated with ropes that looked like sails going form ceiling to racks to support the designers' creations.  Photos courtesy of Ginger Waters

HI Design Commune was artfully curated with ropes that looked like sails.                                            Photos courtesy of Ginger Waters


Congratulations to Reise Kochi and the 19 designers who participated in HI Design Commune. I hope this was just the “First Monthly, First Seasonal or First Annual” event and there will be many more.

It’s a great way to shop. Meeting the designers is always an advantage. For example, I am in love with Rumi Murakami’s wonderful white shirt, my go-to shirt these days. It’s the best white shirt ever. On Saturday night she had it in navy but not in my size. My sister-in-law, Ginger Waters, lusted after the white shirt I love and is making arrangements to try it on later at Cut Collective. Mahalo to Ginger for shooting these photos for me!

One of Colleen Kimura's new designs from Tutuvi.

One of Colleen Kimura’s new designs from Tutuvi.

The fashion show was a lot of fun. Models walked all the way around the perimeter of the hanging racks so there were plenty of opportunities to check out the clothes up close and personal. A number of designers, including Colleen Kimura of Tutuvi (see above), introduced new summer collections. I love this graphic black-and-white print in a simple sundress. It would be really cute styled with a black long sleeved top under it too.

Elegance on the runway.

Elegance on the runway.

It was great to see Ari South! She is back designing, after helping other designers manufacture for a while. (She’s still doing this, but focusing more on her own collections.) Her draping is, as always, perfect. Gotta try her diaphanous cocoon jackets that are perfect for Honolulu nights.

Precious little furry bags by Farida Ong.

Precious little furry bags by Farida Ong.

Upstairs were accessories such as lovely little fluffy, furry evening bags by Farida Ong of Evening Invitation. So cute!

M33Ms jewelry was a stand-out. I had seen the jewelry of designer Emiko Miyazawa but hadn’t really understood how it worked. Well, watching rings transform through innovative movable, adjustable details made the functionality and versatility of the line come alive. Really creative!

M33Ms jewelry

M33Ms jewelry

The only problem with the evening was that it was so hot we didn’t feel like trying on clothing. But with the designers there, it was easy to make arrangements to try on at a later date, in a cooler place.

Maybe there should be a holiday HI Design Commune when the weather cools down?

- Paula Rath





June 25th, 2015 / posted by paularath

Iris movie poster

I saw the movie “Iris” today at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. It will be showing tomorrow (Thursday, June 25) at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and if you love style, art, creativity and fashion, please make every effort to see it.

It was the last film of director Albert Maysles, who also directed the brilliant “Grey Gardens.”

Iris has filled many professional roles during her 93 years of life. As owner of Old World Weavers, a textile firm, she traveled the world. As an interior designer, art and design were always part of her life and collecting became de rigeur. She collected everything from stuffed animals to Native American turquoise.

It wasn’t until she was in her ’80s that Iris really caught on as an international style icon.

Iris Apfel 3

“I don’t have any rules, because I would only be breaking them so it’s a waste of time,” Iris says. Indeed. For this free spirit, it’s all about how she sees things. She makes dressing herself like child’s play.

For Iris, style trumps beauty any day. In fact, she says at one point, “I don’t like beauty.”

The film has interviews with many of the important voices in fashion: Harold Koda, Alexander Wang, Bruce Weber, Kanye West and Dries van Noten, to name a few.

One of my favorite scenes is when Iris goes shopping in Harlem, bargaining all the way. “Everything I have, I go out and find,” she said with pride. And she values her big bold plastic bangles more than any Harry Winston jewels her beloved husband, Carl, may find for her.

Like my dear friend Doug Jago, Iris loves glasses. Doug had 100 pairs and she may have even more than that. Iris reminds me  a lot of Doug. Doug had amazing personal style and he was unabashed in his approach to getting dressed every day. Both of them layer clothing and accessories that may look as though there’s no way they will work – but they do. People with true style, like these two style icons, just know how to “make it work.”

- Paula Rath

June 21st, 2015 / posted by paularath

Saint Laurent movie poster


Sometimes it’s better not to read movie reviews.

In fact, my son, Duncan Graham, who has an incredible passion for movies and an encyclopedic knowledge of film, refuses to read reviews until after he has seen a movie.

So I kinda hope you didn’t read the review of “Saint Laurent” in the newspaper on Friday. Because if you did, you might feel you don’t want to see this film. And if you have an interest in fashion, that would be a mistake.

Yes, it’s true that the film depicts Saint Laurent’s wild lifestyle, with the Studio 54 parties, the bad boy antics, the drugs, alcohol and some gay debauchery. But there is, above all, THE FASHION.

It takes a village, or at least a large and talented team, to create couture. It’s a haute and highly specialized form of art. I loved the first 15 or so minutes of the movie, where you could see the hands-on atelier work of basting, stitching, embroidering and model fittings. Saint Laurent describes how a lapel needs to be wider and a collar must stand up higher. I hope it will help people better understand that a designer doesn’t just sketch a garment and it magically appears full-blown on a model.

"Le Smoking" by Yves Saint Laurent

“Le Smoking” by Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent has always been one of my favorite designers. He introduced women to a whole new way of dressing, a feminine approach to men’s classics such as pea coats, blazers,safari jackets, trench coats and tuxedos.

In the ’70s, every woman executive aspired to his blazers, suits and pants. My wish list always has a “Le Smoking,” the Saint Laurent take on a tuxedo for women, at the top. I was thrilled to see some of the original ensembles in the deYoung Museum in San Francisco several years ago. They are even more exquisite than I had thought – strictly tailored and cut with the utmost tact and taste.

Catherine Deneuve was the first to wear Le Smoking in 1967.

Catherine Deneuve was the first to wear Le Smoking in 1967.

Here are just a few of the innovations of Yves Saint Laurent:

  • 1963: thigh high boots
  • 1965: Mondrian dresses
  • 1966: Le Smoking (tuxedos for women)
  • 1968: Safari jackets and see-through blouses
  • 1969: Pants suits

The film covers the years 1967 – 1976. In ’76, he presented his most renowned runway show, featuring the Cossack or Russian Collection. This show is depicted in the movie in all its glory, with layers of full skirts, shawls, scarves, belts, beads, embroidered bodices and tall boots. The movie does a beautiful job with this scene.

The acting is excellent and Gaspard Ulliel’s resemblance to Saint Laurent is uncanny. Go see it soon! (Do be aware that it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes long, so plan on that.)

Mahalo to Eurocinema Hawaii and the Kahala Theatres for bringing “Saint Laurent” to Honolulu for our fashion enthusiasts to see.

- Paula Rath