Honolulu Night + Market: MAMo

Polynesian art, culture, food and fashion were featured at Honolulu Night + Market Saturday, in celebration of MAMo – Maoli Arts Month. For years, MAMo has spotlighted native arts, artists and cultural practitioners. In keeping with this month’s theme, the food vendor challenge was to incorporate one dish with kalo. Some standouts included taro and cream macarons from Sugar Hut, local, grass-fed burgers on a taro bun from Beyond Burgers, furikake-crusted ahi drizzled with wasabi poi aioli from Fresh Catch and Haupia Aloha Pops.

The retail vendors included Native Hawaiian, Maori and other local artisans, selling everything from beach glass to seascape paintings. Along Cooke Street, Brazilian capoeira troupe Capoeira Besouro drew a crowd, while roving musicians and artists kept it lively.

Honolulu Night Market: MAMo

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Photo by Tracy Chan

The fashion show featured a MAMo Mea ‘Ai Pop Up and Wearable Art Show, a preview to a bigger show on May 20 at Hawaii Theatre. Intricate work from kakau (tattoo) artist Keone Nunes opened the show. I loved the soft fabric and bold prints from Wahine Toa. Maile Andrade, Tangz de Nikau and Lauwa’e sent strong looks down the runway, while Maori designers Shona Tawhiao, Jeanine Clarkin and Matiu Bartlett brought a fresh element to runway show.

Honolulu Night Market: MAMo Fashion Show

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Photo by Tracy Chan

‘Pitch Perfect 2′: still charming


The 2012 a cappella surprise hit, “Pitch Perfect,” was true to its title, literally pitch perfect. So needless to say, I knew going into the sequel that it would be hard to live up to the first flick, but the previews seemed “aca-hopeful.”

In the first scene, you’ll see that the Barden Bellas have been on top of their game for three years and have reached the point of distinction; performing in front of a huge audience including the president and his family. Things go terribly wrong when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) rips her spandex bottoms during an aerial silk performance, mooning the audience and shaming the Bellas, who are subsequently barred from touring and defending their title at nationals.

PP2_7What didn’t work:

Although funny to the bone, Wilson delivers all-too-predictable one liners that keep coming and coming, until you get anesthetized to her skanky jokes.

The quirky, semi-dark and likeable heroine of the first flick, Becca (Anna Kendrick), got on my nerves a bit; her jokes were played out, and there really wasn’t that giant moment of redemption scene that I saw in the previews. Unfortunate editing decision.

The end was a bit disjointed; it felt like one or two scenes got cut, again, which really affected the film’s crescendo.

There wasn’t enough of Jesse (Skylar Astin). The chemistry between Becca and Jesse was strong in the first flick, and it would have been great to see more of the couple.

PP2_6What worked:

Das Sound Machine, the uber tall, arrogant German a cappella troupe that dresses like SNL’s Sprockets killed it.

The battle in the basement. The mash-ups were not only an homage to the 1990s, but there was enough current hits that kept every generation in the theater rocking.

Elizabeth Banks was stellar as the raw but classy commentator, and did a good job in her major motion picture directorial debut.

Becca’s boss, the no-nonsense, high-strung music producer who can’t get anyone’s name right played by Keegan-Michael Key.

The final performance, “Flashlight.” That’s all I can say without giving away too much.

PP2_2Do I recommend it?

Die hard “Pitch Perfect” fans might see past the hiccups, or perhaps they’ll concur with me and be a bit disappointed given all of the hype. But I must say it’s still worth seeing on the big screen.

Fashion sneak peek: Goodwill goes royal


Photo by Shot55 Photography.

Five years ago, the words ‘Goodwill’ and ‘glam’ would rarely be uttered in the same sentence. Over the past three or four years, that all changed. It’s pretty much expected now that Goodwill Industries of Hawaii will put on an impressive annual fashion show, followed by a huge pre-sale with major finds.

This year, Kini Zamora of “Project Runway” will produce Goodwill’s Royal Fashion Show at the Gala Night, slated for July 16 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. It’s part of Goodwill Goes GLAM! presented by Bank of Hawaii Foundation, with Glam Sale Days open to the public July 17-19.

I had a chance to preview some of the looks pulled by Zamora and stylist Therese Wahl during a recent photo shoot at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Seriously, everything worn by the models was pulled from Goodwill stores.


Zamora and Wahl pulled this Victorian royal-inspired ensemble from Goodwill stores on Oahu. Model Eva Blacker, hair and makeup by Paul Brown Hawaii, photo by Shot55 Photography.


Ensembles from Goodwill stores on Oahu. Stylists Zamora and Wahl. Models Aaron Pennington and Eva Blacker. Hair and makeup by Paul Brown. Photo by Shot55 Photography.

Behind the scenes at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Behind the scenes at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Zamora searches for treasures at the Pearl City Goodwill.

Zamora searches for treasures at the Pearl City Goodwill.

Goodwill is holding a casting call for the fashion show at Hifi (Hawaii Fashion Incubator) this weekend. Here are the deets:




Zamora debuts bridal collection at WhiteHOT


Every bride wants to feel special on her big day, wearing a dress that expresses who she is on the outside and inside. Kini Zamora’s new Romance Collection aims to do just that. He teamed up with local bridal salon WhiteHOT Hawaii and is debuting his collection there on Saturday, May 9.

“I know how to construct wedding dresses for different body types,” he says. “I love the look on a bride’s face when she sees that her assets were tastefully showcased and her trouble spots aren’t noticeable.”

I had an exclusive first look at Zamora’s collection. The fabric actually stretches in the right areas. Some designs, like the one worn above by model Kimberly Carroll holds everything in place. Called the butterfly bridal dress, it has a carefree, sexy 1970s vibe, with updated construction and a pretty mermaid mini-train.

Zamora didn’t want me to give too much away, so you’ll have to stop by and see the the unique, edgy and sultry dresses yourself. Can I just say, “black umbrella dress from the Rainway challenge?” Okay, maybe I said too much. The collection will be for sale exclusively at WhiteHOT’s Kaimuki boutique. Prices range from $1100-$2500.

WhiteHOT owner Daisy Merto said a sample of every style will be available in the store for brides to try on. Measurements will then be given to Zamora to start the creation process. The typical production time is about 12 weeks, including two to three fittings. Faster production is available for a rush fee.

The first 50 brides attending Saturday’s debut will receive a complimentary swag bag. RSVP to kinizamoraevents@gmail.com to attend.

WhiteHOT Hawaii
Saturday, May 9, 6-8:30 p.m.
3457 Waialae Ave. #201


Student designs: UH Manoa’s fashion show

UH Manoa’s Fashion Design and Merchandising Program celebrated its 49th year with an impressive senior fashion show at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Prince Kuhio Hotel on Sunday. It began with the theme Axis — the intersection of lines creating a point of origin. Whether because of the creative vision of student director Jeremy Divinagracia or budget constraints, the B-formation floor-level runway was ambitious and a welcome change from the typical raised runway.

The Axis theme guided student designers in expressing their heritage and philosophies in their creations. Here’s a look at some of my favorite runway moments from the seniors.

Legacy by Ayaka Hosomi
Heritage was a strong element in Hosomi’s collection. I loved the surprise elements of a feminine open back paired with the classic structure and construction of her Japanese-inspired designs. The collection definitely conveyed the axis of beauty and tradition.

Mod Nouveau by Gabrielle Sanehira
This collection featured simple lines and was heavily influenced by Sanehira’s background in photography. Her garments incorporate sheets of exposed and processed film.

Jardin De Papillons by Asia Joan Mateo
There’s a definite 1950s romantic, elegant vibe to Mateo’s designs. Her first look was a crowd favorite with little flowers randomly falling from within the dress, trailing the models’ steps. Her design inspiration was a butterfly’s thorax and the contrasting delicacy and strength of its wings.

Mirage by Grace Tsubaki-Noguchi
Of all the collections, Mirage had the strongest sense of whimsy and lightness. Tsubaki-Noguchi’s architectural silhouettes contrasting with feminine prints and fabrics created a softness with an interesting edge.

Adaptation by Li Jin King
Last year I was impressed with King’s stingray-inspired junior design. This year she turned up the design heat with her sultry creations. I love how she incorporated a Roaring 20s flair with fitted Chinese cheongsam silhouettes. I’m also intrigued by the draping and juxtaposing Eastern vibe of her men’s designs.

The 2015 Fashion Production students definitely took the show to the next level. I can’t wait to see what instructor Cynthia Tsark does with her students next year in celebration of the program’s 50th anniversary showcase.

Here are more creations from student designers.

Axis - 2015 UH Manoa fashion show

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New Wave - Junior Designer Group Collection.

— Photos by Eric Baranda