June 20th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Detail from my Mao Mam vest    Photos by Jerry Mayfield


There was a collective sigh of sadness when Tapestries closed after its 25-year storied stay at Ala Moana Center. Tapestries was, after all, one of the few local stores that remained in Ala Moana, and owner Lori Doo Wong is a respected and appreciated buyer and retailer who really understands her customers.

Now Lori is doing retail in a new way and with a new partner: Chie Okada Otto of Hawaii Kai. They have opened Tapestries Studio Online (www.tapestries-studio.com) and are now offering occasional trunk shows. Please follow my blog for dates and locations of the trunk shows.

Mao Mam cotton vest with ruffled collar and chic details

While many readers will know Lori’s name, Chie’s may not be as familiar. She has always worked behind the scenes.

Chie has been in the fashion business for quite a few years now, first as a sales rep for Kinu, a chic and sophisticated line based in Japan and made in Thailand. Now she is designing and collaborating with Lori on three lines: You-Be, Mao Mam and Mona Lisa.

Mao Mam dress with lots of little design surprises. This is my go-to dress these days!

Each of the lines has a different aesthetic and character, but I think they all work superbly in Hawaii.

Mao Mam, which is made in Thailand, is highly original and, well, just fun to wear. There are lots of little appliques, trims, mixed prints and hidden pockets. These are clothes that catch the eye. They are made of a sturdy but light cotton that adapts to the interesting silhouettes extremely well. Look for clever collars and necklines, unexpected sleeves and unpredictable hemlines.

I love to wear my Mao Mam dress with black leggings that come just below the knee and chunky bold jewelry such as a wood ebony bracelet.

Cowl necks are a signature design detail for You-Be.
Photo courtesy of Tapestries Studio Online

You-Be features simple lines with bold prints in airy crinkle cottons and cotton knits. Although made in Thailand, this line has a Japanese aesthetic due to Chie’s original prints. So cute with jeans or leggings and stacks of beads or a flowing scarf.

Mona Lisa features some stunning prints.   Photo courtesy of Tapestries Studio Online

Mona Lisa, made in India, features playful prints and tropics-friendly fabrics. These are the tops you will wear practically every time you go out, whether to Whole Foods, the mall or your favorite coffee house.

How cute is this design detail on the back of my Mao Mam vest?

Tapestries Studio Online is currently celebrating the kinder, gentler side of the USA by featuring all their red, white and blue garments. Be sure to subscribe to paularath.com so you don’t miss announcements of upcoming events and collections at Tapestries Studio Online.

Next up right here: That long-awaited story on palaka in Hawaii and a surprising new fashion line out of L.A. that’s entirely inspired by Hawaii’s own palaka.

  • Paula Rath
June 1st, 2018 / posted by paularath

Love at first sight in Uniqlo

Uniqlo is one of the few chain stores I shop in when on the mainland or abroad. Usually I seek out local designers and boutiques that are unique to the destination, but with Uniqlo, well, I love so many things about them, especially their collaborations.

Remember when Uniqlo and Iolani Sportswear, the Kawakami family-owned iconic Hawaiian attire company, collaborated on some updated Hawaiian prints? It was an outrageously successful collaboration. And Lloyd Kawakami said Uniqlo was great to work with.

A current Uniqlo collaboration features the Japanese prints of none other than Hokusai.

Now I won’t have to fit in an excursion to the nearest Uniqlo when traveling – I can buy those yummy tee-shirts and cool graphics right here in Honolulu.

Tomorrow, June 1, Uniqlo will open a pop-up store in Ala Moana Center. You’ll find it on Level 3, near Center Court.

The pop-up features summer fashions for women, keiki and men.

Uniqlo is just teasing us with this pop-up store, although it may be the largest pop-up I’ve ever seen. Coming in the fall will be a two-story mega store in Ala Moana’s Ewa Wing filled with Uniqlo’s seasonal offerings.

I’m loving the SPRZ Collection, which gives a nod to some of the world’s most iconic artists and designers, including Hokusai, Andy Warhol and the Eames Brothers.

Part of the SPRZ Collection

Tomorrow only Uniqlo will offer special freezer bags to the first 300 customers who spend more than $50 (before tax). With all those cool tee-shirts and super cute paper bag shorts, that should be easy!

– Paula Rath

Love this abstract!

May 31st, 2018 / posted by paularath

Eleele on her favorite carpet in the kitchen

Meet Eleele. We found this lovely cat in Malaekahana Park. She was living in the hau bushes and she walked right out of the bushes and jumped up onto my lap. Her green gold eyes never left mine. It was love at first sight.

Of course, in those days she was emaciated and appeared to be on death’s doorstep. My heart went out to her as I visited her daily for a week and waited for her to come out of the bushes for her can of tuna. On our final day in Malaekahana, I went to the park prepared to take her home in a carrying case. But the park was crowded with campers and Eleele was nowhere to be seen.

Jerry and I vowed to return the following week and, if she came to me, we would take her home with us. She came bounding out of the hau and jumped on my lap. She was calm and happy when placed in a carrying case to travel to town with us.

When we took her to the vet before we took her home and exposed her to our other cat, Scrimshaw, we discovered that she had been spayed, meaning she had been someone’s cat at one point. Some heartless person had dumped her in the park to fend for herself.

As a pet she had never needed to scavenge for food and she was no competition for the feral cats who had lived for years in the park at Malaekahana. She would have died there in a matter of days, weeks or, at most, months.

Instead, she lived happily with us for six years. She gained weight and her coat became shiny and glowing with health. Of course Scrimmy wasn’t always happy about her “invasion,” but we all survived. After 21-year-old Scrimshaw died a year ago, Eleele thrived on being Top Cat and she softened and become more affectionate and loving than ever before.

Until a few weeks ago, when precious Eleele succumbed to what was probably a brain tumor.

We will always treasure the years we had with her and she will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

–  Paula Rath


May 25th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Al Aiona’aka talks sushi to the Palama Settlement culinary team.                                                                                                                                                             Photos courtesy Larry Sweets

Thanks to our creative, energetic and well-connected youth specialist, Larry Sweets, Palama Settlement’s culinary team from the 808 Junior Chef competition got a lesson in sushi.

The teacher was none other than Al Aiona’aka, the Asian Food Director for Whole Foods Markets.

The youths, who come from a wide range of family and culinary backgrounds, took to sushi making right away. Thanks to Whole Foods, they were provided with outstanding ingredients such as fresh salmon, hamachi and ahi.

Joshua Ansagay gets ready to wrap and roll.


Anthony Hoang defies the idea that sushi always has to be serious.


Vanessa Tupil takes pride in her new skill.

Mahalo nui loa to Whole Foods for their generosity and support of the chefs of tomorrow.

– Paula Rath


May 18th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Ken Downing presents 2018 Runway Trends before an enthusiastic audience.

Neiman Marcus Ala Moana is celebrating its 20th year in Honolulu, and the first celebratory event featured none other than Ken Downing, the company’s Dallas-based Fashion Director.

Downing put together a polished fashion show that literally popped with color, shiny sequins, layers of silk organza, animal prints, cowgirl boots and piles of turquoise jewelry.

Short shorts were de rigeur for men, whether worn with blazers r bomber jackets.

Downing introduced the show with the observation that current trends are all about “The ’80s – all day and all night.” That said, here are some of the key trends he identified for spring 2018:

  • Biker jackets
  • Hot pink (for men and women)
  • Power pantsuits
  • Athleticism in all types of attire
  • Evening shoes for day
  • Animal prints of all sorts
  • Animal prints worn from head to toe
  • Polo shirts for men and women
  • Caftans
  • Cowboy boots with a feminine edge
  • Track suits as “the new leisure suit”
  • Logo mania

Downing donned casual denim for his runway rundown.

Downing espouses sequins for day, whether heading for Starbucks or the supermarket. Bored with “evening wraps,” he encourages women to wear a blazer or bomber jacket over their evening attire.

In order to make black work in Downing’s universe, it should be worn in layers, preferably in a mix of fabrics of varying weights. Italy’s Brunello Cucinelli is doing this in a magical way.

A layered cream confection from Brunello Cucinelli

This being a return to the ’80s, there must of course be shoulder pads. But these are not the shoulder pads we wore in the ’80s – they are a little sharper and, thank goodness, far less bulky.

Downing said he has been seeing aloha prints in every major fashion city, including London, NYC, Paris and Milan. He showed them layered with a range of jackets over them.

A trend I will always love: turquoise, and lots of it. Layered extravagantly, Downing showed chunky turquoise jewelry with caftans, jeans, bomber jackets and frilly frocks.

The show was flamboyant and fabulously fun, a treat for the senses.

  • Paula Rath