Archive for December, 2009

Betsey Johnson brings holiday joy

December 23rd, 2009

betsey staff

Nadine Kam photos
Designer Betsey Johnson, in her yellow Madonna top and shimmery blue cutoffs, is flanked by staffers and well-wishers at her Ala Moana boutique. She said she cuts off the bottoms of all her jeans, otherwise, she said it feels too restrictive and inhibiting.

Designer Betsey Johnson was in Maui last week and dropped by her Ala Moana Center boutique Dec. 21 to visit with fans and spread her message of living a life of joy and gratitude.

She is so remarkable, showing the same exuberance, bouyant spirit and quirky charm that fill her designs. In her late ’60s, she’s an inspiration, still so humble and warm and seemingly unstoppable, even after a bout with breast cancer, which she briefly talked about. She recently wrote the forward to the book, “Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls,” by Marybeth Maida and Debbie Kiederer. The book offers fashion, hair, makeup and skincare tips to those battling cancer.

Betsey was generous with her time for all those who came up to speak to her, have items autographed by her, and photos taken with her, including a stage mom sic’ing her children on the designer, headshots in hand. Betsey did say she would love to start a children’s line, as well as a bridal line that she’s had many requests for, but there’s only so much she can do. Hers is still a boutique company, supported by fans.

Although part of the reason for her trip was to escape the New York winter, Betsey easily brought sunshine into the boutique during the two-and-a-half hours she was there. Writing can only convey so much. You can watch the video (if you’re on iPhone click here for Betsey) (click here for hula) for a better sense of her genuine warmth as she walks through a room. She’s also in great shape, as wiry as a rock star, perhaps in keeping with her early days as a cheerleader with stage dreams of kicking up her heels as a Rockette.

betsey & marilee

Betsey shows her love for Hawaii area manager Marilee Mattson, who brought the boutique here 2005. Before that, whereever I traveled, I had to stop into the neighborhood Betsey Johnson, from Seattle, to Vegas and New York.

michelle heel

Tea at 1024′s Michele Henry kicks up a gold glittery heel freshly signed by Betsey with her signature kisses of XX’s and OO’s.


Lucky, with Nellie Nguyen, came dressed in Betsey’s signature color and girly bow.


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Kathy Ireland drops in for a visit

December 23rd, 2009

Kathy Ireland
Nadine Kam photos
In addition to speaking about her work with nonprofits, Kathy Ireland shared some tips for fooling the camera to making a person appear to be thinner, which would come in handy after brunch.

The pres is not our only famous visitor to Hawaii this time of year. While many of us want to escape the holiday craziness, mainlanders head our way for the same reason, plus, for some, the promise of sunshine.

Former model and CEO Kathy Ireland, whose Kathy Ireland Worldwide, whose global empire encompasses, home and fashion design, and cosmetics, was among our visitors. But her visit wasn’t all about play. She took time to host a brunch Sept. 20, to speak about some of her charitable work and to invite participation and collaboration in Hawaii.

It’s been about 15 years since the height of her modeling career in the mid-1980s through early ’90s but she still looks great.

People like to joke about “dumb blondes” and “dumb models,” and she said she heard a lot of “shut up and look pretty” during her modeling days, but she was born with entrepreneurial spirit. As a 4-year-old, she found she could sell rocks to her neighbors by painting them! So, she just bided her time, while modeling afforded her a view of the world and her place in it. She’s done well for herself since leaving modeling, building an empire worth $1.4 billion.

beach setting

The event took place at a private oceanfront retreat.

kathy photo

Kathy posed for many photos that day, including here with Seasons of Life Wedding and Event Planning lead coordinator Karine France-Matsumoto, who staged this event.

white flowers

Karine dressed the tables in white. Kahala Caterers provided the food, which included an omelet bar, eggs Benedict, vegetarian lasagna, bacon and Portuguese sausage, and plenty of fresh fruit.