When you hear the term, New York Fashion Week, the first thoughts that may come to mind are haute couture, international designers and top models. Perhaps you should add another to that list — Hawaii’s own Lynne O’Neill. Her career spans more than 30 years of runway show production in New York.
O’Neill’s reputation as a New York Fashion Week producer is so epic that Margaret Cho played a colorful version of her in an episode of “Sex and the City” titled, “The Real Me.” If you’re a fan of the show, that’s the episode when Carrie Bradshaw takes a spill on the runway. Now, back to real Lynne, who produces between 14-17 fashion shows per season during each New York Fashion Week through her company, Hula, Inc. Her clients have included BCBG Max Azria, Behnaz Sarafpour, Herve Leger, Vivienne Tam, Tommy Hilfiger and Catherine Malandrino, to name a few.
O’Neill’s career expands beyond the runway — launching events for The Rolling Stones and Usher, and consulting for CW’s “Gossip Girl,” Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” and “Sex and the City: The Movie.” All of this, and she’s still super humble and has a heart for Hawaii fashion.
I remember in 2012, following a viewing of the movie, “The Tents,” O’Neill addressed a room of fashion enthusiasts and passionately shared that Hawaii is ready to host a fashion week of its own. Fast forward two years later and not only are we approaching the second annual Hawaii Fashion Month, but O’Neill is the first mentor to sign on to Hawaii Fashion Incubator’s Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX), a platform to provide opportunities and connections for participants of November’s Hawaii Fashion Month.
As part of HFX, O’Neill will host a workshop in Honolulu on Saturday, April 26 for established and aspiring fashion show producers. The intensive workshop will cover venue planning, stage design, show choreography, model selection and more. Workshop participants will visit venues to learn and practice production skills. The workshop fee is $50, all of which can be applied toward a membership in HFX, which launches later this year. This class should fill up quickly. For more information or to register, visit hawaiifashion.org
“Hawaii will always be home, and I’m so grateful to be able to share my experiences and knowledge with established and emerging fashion professionals here,” O’Neill said. “Hawaii Fashion Month offers a unique opportunity for anyone interested in fashion to gain hands-on experience in their area of interest. I am honored to be able to help move Hawaii fashion forward.”
Photos courtesy of Lynne O’Neill