Archive for September, 2010

Hawaii Jewelers Association winners named

September 29th, 2010
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Jason Dow’s Amulet.

The space limitation of print doesn’t exist online, so all the winning pieces from the Hawaii Jewelers Association’s 2010 Jewelry Design Competition are pictured here.

To recap the print story running Sept. 30, Jason Dow was named Designer of the Year during the competition’s awards ceremony Sept. 24.

Dow’s Amulet, a circular pendant featuring a suite of rainbow moonstones and diamonds in 14K rose gold, won the “Jewelry over $3,500” category and earned the most points in the competition to win him the Designer of the Year award. Dow’s Mandala ring won top honors in the “Jewelry under $3,500” challenge. The 18K gold ring was inspired by the drawings of Buddhist monks, used for contemplation. The palace-like design features a melee of diamonds on vertical supports, with a domed top and centerpiece diamond.

There were 28 designs submitted in the competition’s three categories. Here are the winners:

Jason Dow’s Mandala ring.

>> Jewelry under $3,500
First place: Mandala Ring by Jason Dow, Jason Dow, Inc.

Denny Wong’s Hawaiian Quilt earrings.

Second place: “Hawaiian Quilt” earrings by Denny Wong, Denny Wong Designs; 18K yellow and white gold with a patchwork of pink tourmaline, tanzanite, pink spinel and diamonds.

James Angel’s Dragon Sun ring.

Third place: “Dragon Sun” ring by James Angel of Royal Pacific Jewels; a carved dragon eating the sun motif man’s ring in sterling argentium silver accented with ruby eyes and diamond mouth.

Mabel Lau’s Freedom of Life pendant.

People’s Choice: “Freedom of Life” pendant by Mabel Lau of Excellent Gems; carved jadeite with a bubbly outline of diamonds that complement the carving of a fish blowing bubbles.

>> Jewelry over $3,500
First place: Amulet by Jason Dow, Jason Dow, Inc.

Second place: “Celebration” ring by Denny Wong, Denny Wong Designs; 18K yellow, white and pink gold set with seven large colorless baguette diamonds contrasted with six natural yellow diamonds.

James Angel’s Plumeria Haku pendant.

Third place: “Plumeria Haku” pendant by James Angel of Royal Pacific Jewels; plumeria flowers with diamond centers surrounding a black pearl in a 14K gold pendant.

People’s Choice: “Celebration” by Denny Wong


>> Hawaiian Theme Jewelry
First place: “Loihi” by Paul Trustman, Holiday Jewelers; a book-matched pair of picture black opals set in gold with diamonds depict Loihi, Hawaii’s sea mount volcano. It was inspired in part by thermal imagery of the birth of an island, like the image below, courtesy of Tom Wheeler.

Tom Wheeler’s Tropical Royalty ring.

Second place: “Tropical Royalty” by Tom Wheeler, Opal Fields; a boulder black opal ring set in 18K gold and diamonds with Victorian influences reminiscent of Hawaii’s royal era.

Brian Thomsen’s Queen’s Pond pendant.

Third place: “Queen’s Pond” by Brian Thomsen; an 18K gold and black opal pendant with a cascade of channel-set diamonds, inspired by Maui’s Queen’s Pond with its waterfalls and colorful reflections.

People’s Choice: “Royal Hawaiian” by Denny Wong; an 18K gold pendant holds a rough-cut amethyst depicting the shimmering ocean around the landmark Pink Palace, sculpted in pink gold with diamond windows, surrounded by gold palm trees.

Project Runway: Ivy out in Episode 9

September 24th, 2010
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Lifetime photos

Ivy Higa defends her creations on the runway.

Tracking the progress of Hawaii’s Ivy Higa and Andy South:

Episode 9’s challenge was the sort designers dream about, letting their imaginations run wild to create a high-fashion look suitable for a Paris runway, to be used in a L’Oreal advertorial in Marie Claire magazine. The only control factor was that the head-to-toe look take their inspiration from L’Oreal’s Studio Secret eyeshadow duos and their various finishes: bright, metallic, matte and crystal.

A win would also lead to a prize of $20,000, a fair cost of labor for a national or perhaps international ad campaign, not to mention all the press associated with the competition.

Naturally, the designers were excited, and Tim Gunn said, “Ivy, you look stricken.”

She said she wanted to cry because it’s been a struggle to simply live and work in New York, forgoing guaranteed income to fulfill her dream.

Of course I worried over her camera time, which I’ve said before, is not always a good thing.

She chose to go with the L’Oreal bright eyeshadows, the same as Mondo Guerra, who nearly always chooses to work with bright colors. Ivy has tended to work with pastels in the competition, so she thought choosing brights would show another aspect to her work. The electric blues she chose to work with were inspired by Hawaii’s ocean waves, reflected in strips of fabric. In his early critique, Tim worried she was working too literally.

The designers felt this would be a defining competition, that would reveal the breadth and limitations of their capabilities once and for all, and color the judges perceptions of them to the finish. The episode’s title is “Race to the Finish.”

Andy fits his model for a warrior’s helmet.

Of course there’s always a secondary aspect to these competitions, and a lot of the designers had been lulled into complacency after having been given two days for the initial challenge. Only Michael Costello seemed to anticipate a second challenge, so he created his couture gown as quickly as possible, which left him prepared to easily complete the second ready-to-wear look as a mainstream garment inspsired by their couture creations.

For Andy, who was at the bottom last week, and whose work had been deemed a “trainwreck,” the competition was about redemption and he chose L’Oreal’s metallic finish eyeshadows for the inspiration behind his woman warrior ensemble, with pleated fabric that looked like armore. I  thought he should have won. … Except, while all the other judges praised his work, Heidi Klum provided a dissenting voice, and as we’ve seen time and again on the show, what Heidi wants, Heidi gets.

While Andy ended up on the top, Ivy ended up in the bottom with Valerie Mayen, who could not complete her original design, and whose ready-to-wear dress had no design. It didn’t help that the second model assigned to Ivy was bigger than her alleged measurements (I’ve come across those on assignments, size 6s who claim they’re 2s or 4s!), so she had to let out the dress and on the runway it still looked too small.

I thought Ivy might pull through because she at least had a clear concept. But the question the judges considered was whether simpler is mo’ betta than overworking, overthinking a piece, and simple won. The funny thing is I’ve been trashing Valerie nearly every week, but she had a great showing (who knew?) during New York Fashion Week and for all I know, won the competition! Go figure! LOL!

As for the competition’s winner, it was Mondo the second week in a row, this time for his kaleidoscope inspired gown, which revealed another judging inconsistency. While they always attack dresses “pooping fabric,” Mondo got away with it on this one. His creation was colorful, but it seemed stiff and didn’t think it fit well in the bodice. I think what clinched his win was his ready-to-wear dress, which was simple in its silhouette but was detailed and eye-catching in its slimming chevron design.

Andy’s couture look, and ready-to-wear look, below.

Mondo’s winning couture look, and ready-to-wear look, below.

Valerie’s “pageant” gown and ill-fitting, throwaway ready-to-wear dress.