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

June 20th, 2015 / posted by paularath

HiDesignCommune Flyer whole

With the closing of so many galleries and boutiques in the past few years, artists and designers are finding it increasingly difficult to land venues to show their work.

So these creative folks are expanding their creativity to develop new venues and formats to show their work, and the work of their friends and colleagues.

Rumi Murakami's gray Ada culotte and silver Aponi blouse.

Rumi Murakami’s gray Ada culotte and silver Aponi blouse. Photo courtesy of Rumi Murakami

Reise Kochi, who first came on our radar when a fashion student at Honolulu Community College, then kept in the forefront as an assistant to the amazing Ari South, is coming right along as a fashion entrepreneur. His latest venture is called HI Design Commune and involves 19 designers of apparel (men’s and women’s),  jewelry, leather – altogether an eclectic mix of fashion and accessories.

In an interview Reise said he is “Trying to highlight good design in Hawaii.” The evening will mark the coming out of many of the designers’ summer lines.

Summer Shiigi of Ten Tomorrow takes on a cool summer trend: layering.

Summer Shiigi of Ten Tomorrow takes on a cool summer trend: layering. Photo courtesy of Ten Tomorrow

Reise commented that “Most people buy online and that’s where (local) designers are trying to get up and ready and more available. As far as the local buyers, during the summer there isn’t a venue where people can sell their products so we wanted to create a summer fashion event.” He added that Night Market has become more of a “hang out place, not so much for buying.”

HI Design Commune is, Reise said, “more conducive for people to buy.” Reise compares the retail approach to a “Wholesale Unlimited meets fashion. It’s kind of like an industrial approach where people can write down what they want and take their order to a warehouse next door, where it will be packed for you,” he explained.

Rumi Murakami's navy duster.

Rumi Murakami’s navy duster.

The location, Kaka’ako Agora, will be shutting down soon, so this event is a last dash to take advantage of the generous space. “It’s very retail friendly,” Reise said, adding that there will be ample changing rooms for those who want to try on.

Top by Tutuvi.

Hand silk screened tunic/dress by Tutuvi. Photo courtesy of Tutuvi


Belts and bondage by Reise Kochi. Photo courtesy of Reise.

Belts and bondage by Reise Kochi.   Photo courtesy of Reise.

As for Reise, he will be showing his latest work, which is mainly belts and bondage. He has put handbags aside for now and traversed into a darker mode and mood. For those who prefer a more serene approach to life,  his new line also includes yoga mat straps. He does everything in his exclusive leather line from scratch: dyeing, cutting and constructing.

Hi Design Commune is a community event, free and open to the public. There will be a donation-based bar.

For the fashion show, scheduled for 7 p.m., hair and makeup will be done by Jonathan at Motives.

Upstairs at Agora, product designers from fishcake will be showing their latest work.

- Paula Rath



June 18th, 2015 / posted by paularath
Some of the ikebana vases that will be for sale this weekend.

Some of the ikebana vases that will be for sale this weekend.

Carol Moore is one of those people with a whole slew of abilities and she’s not afraid to use them, even if it requires changing jobs, businesses or professions.

I remember her from my days at the newspaper when she was the head of Moore Ideas, an ad agency. She is also an appraiser of antiques and estate items.

Now Carol has put all of her skills together to form Estate Liquidators Hawaii, providing a venue for sales of antiques, as well as appraisals and large auctions. It’s a little retail space tucked into the building just mauka of 12th Avenue Grill. The address is 1126 12th Avenue, Suite 105.

More of the available ikebana vases.

More of the available ikebana vases.

Carol plans to hold monthly themed treasure showcases. The first one will be this Friday, June 19, from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Featured items in the Aloha Pua Ikebana affaire will be ikebana vases from the collection of a deceased ikebana artist. As an added bonus, ikebana arrangers will be on hand to put together a free floral arrangement for those purchasing a vase.

I visited the space today and saw lots of treasures, particularly Asian antiques. There was some beautiful Steuben glass, a lovely gold Tiffany lamp, Depression glassware (which Carol says is highly prized by the Japanese these days), koa chests and even a Turkish bar.

Indeed, a fun place to shop around in!

This week’s Affaire will also feature some Ming’s jewelry.

Two Ming's vintage brooches.

Two Ming’s vintage brooches. Oops! Just noticed my little blue shoes sticking out there. Not very professional of me.

For more information about Aloha Pua Ikebana, visit www.elhawaii.com or call 258-5431.

- Paula Rath