August 2nd, 2011 / posted by paularath

Mural by Joey Montemayor and Tony Verculez. Photos by Jerry Mayfield.

 When I first walked into Collins & 8th, I felt transported to another city. The high ceilings and warehouse vibe, contrasted with the bright white walls and clean lines of all the visuals, reminded me of the Meatpacking District in NYC. Turn around, however, and you are faced with this bold graphic mural. No, definitely not NYC. And, although the colors are tropical and nautical, it’s not Honolulu either. Ah, it’s Miami. Never having been to Miami, I didn’t get that at first. I had to be told. The mural depicts the famous Miami intersection of Collins & 8th, hence the boutique’s name. The mural depicts the bold, bright, in-your-face vibe of Miami.

The owner of this exciting new Kakaako boutique, Maida Montemayor, is “in love with Miami” and she thought Honolulu could benefit from a bit of Miami style. Our local boutique buyers tend to gravitate toward L.A. and NYC, but seldom Miami.
Maida got turned on to Miami when she worked on the Fashion Week Swim shows, behind the scenes. “After that experience I wanted to design swimwear,” Maida explained. She went to the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas to study the possibilities and the competition and was so enthralled with what she saw that she decided, instead, to open her own boutique, with the goal of introducing her own line later. 

While Maida does have some retail background, having worked at Arden B. in Ala Moana Center, she is a pre-operating and post-operating nurse at Queen’s Medical Center by profession. The boutique has evolved, she said, mainly through her passion for travel and the treasures she found in other locales that she could not find in Honolulu.

Travel books speak to Montemayor's passion for exotic locales.

The first line she bought was Mara Hoffman. “I fell in love with the prints and fabrics and how they feel on the body,” she exclaimed. Next up were Jeffrey Campbell shoes which she discovered while shopping in a boutique at Collins & 8th.

“I travel a lot and wanted to bring things I saw abroad back to Hawaii. People would see me wearing them and ask me to bring them pieces I was wearing so I thought, why not?” Maida said.

While most of the lines come from Mainland and European designers, Collins & 8th also carries some fresh new Hawaii designers. There’s jewelry from Hooululani of Kailua, funky fur bags by Farida Ong, Sonya Monique Designs cuffs and jewelry pieces, Matiko sandals created by a Maui man who now works out of L.A.  and Khush, a line designed in Honolulu and manufactured in Indonesia. She is also excited to carry the limited edition shoes of Heather Gueverra Arcegna, who is now based in San Francisco but went to Maida’s alma mater, Sacred Hearts Academy.

Matiko sandals.

Eco-friendly Sonya Monique leather bracelets employ recycled leather.

Collins & 8th is not predominately a vintage store, but there are several racks of clothing and some brilliant accessories Maida found from Darlene Mandel and Sweety Moffatt. They include classics from Hilo Hattie and Lalia.

A vintage muumuu from Hilo Hattie. I'm guessing '70s?

 

Among the other lines Maida has bought for her opening: Charina Sarte sweet lace cocktail dresses from the Philippines, men’s organic hemp T-shirts from Groceries, Will.I.Am jackets and graphic T-shirts from the Black Eyed Peas vocalist, Bambu T-shirts from Spain, by Aryn K., a little tailored jacket and white eyelet dress, Joie fresh feminine florals, Hy & Dot from L.A., and Lucca Couture, a fave of Maida’s she discovered at Urban Outfitters.

Feminine white eyelet sundress from Aryn K, clearly a versatile designer.

Tailored cropped jacket by Aryn K.

Feminine frocks from Charina Sarte of the Philippines.

 

Maida hopes to turn Collins & 8th, which is huge at 1,500 square feet,  into an event space and gallery. All the walls and fixtures can move to create a wide variety of spaces. Today, for example, she is moving the clothing racks aside and replacing them with tables to hold a shower in the store.

Sizes range from XS to L but there tend to be more smaller sizes. Prices are a huge range, from $20 to $600.

Collins & 8th is a very personal take on fashion and a carefully edited collection.

This is also an interesting location, at 560 Pensacola Street, suite 4 & 5. The  next door neighbor is a brand new beauty salon called Terra and on the corner is Nanzan GiroGiro, an innovative prix fix concept in Japanese dining. Just across the street are Aloha Rag and I AM. by Richie Miao. Could this be a burgeoning new Kakaako retail mecca? Web site: Collinsand8th.com, phone: 593-9696.

– Paula Rath

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