Archive for the ‘Closets’ Category

Wrestle closet to wrest life from chaos

January 6th, 2011

Photos courtesy
To quickly find pieces in your closet, arrange items by color, left to right. The order will make going to your closet every morning feel more appealing, and may put an end to the feeling of not having a full closet but nothing to wear.

Closet purging gets a lot of ink this time of year, because the new year always seems to be the right time to make a break from the past and make good on our theoretical intentions.

These stories have resonance because the closet is a metaphor for all our hangups and excess baggage, and certain things we’d rather not see.

I started to get feedback on my closet organization story before it hit the public from co-workers who shared their own tales of keeping clothes long beyond their usefulness, or as a marker of a goal to lose weight, while realizing by the time that happens, the piece would be out of style.

One person said she keeps a blue wool suit in her closet, dating to the start of her career, and only now is willing to face the fact that it’s not only dated, inappropriate to the way she lives today, and that she is not likely to ever have a reason to wear a wool suit again. And that goes double for the 1970s boho gypsy skirts and peasant blouses she was keeping.

I keep thinking about the 100 Things Movement, in which people try to pare down the things they own to 100 essentials. Whew! If I could just pare my closet down to 100 things, it would be a miracle, but I think it’s worth trying.

Read this article in Time.

Denise Richards’ closet, with all her shoes neatly arranged in Closet Fetish boxes.

Star-Advertiser photo
A simple idea struck gold for Closet Fetish mastermind Sommer Meyer, who started her business as an extension of a Hawaii Pacific University class project, and whose samples caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey and celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, who Sommer says has about 150 of her boxes.

Chanel shoes and peek into a dream closet

November 18th, 2010

Nadine Kam photos
Designs from Chanel’s fall footwear collection were showcased in celebration of the brand’s biggest Hawaii fan. A peek into her closet proves the point.

It was all about Chanel footwear yesterday, Nov. 17, when Tiana Torii opened her home to Chanel and about a dozen fellow afficionados for a private showcase of fall designs not carried by the boutiques here.

Joseph Cruz, national sales director for shoes, retail division, was in town from New York to help fit and match guests with shoes that best suit their personalities.

I gravitated to the pearl boot below, and Princess Dialta Alliata de Montereale humorously advised, “Never ask the price. In cases like this, you just close your eyes and give them your credit card.”

I don’t know if it’s more a function of being a journo or economically challenged, but I always have to know every detail, and the main detail is that the boot is $1,525. Sigh. It was hard to take them off.  Can you imagine these with the right outfit?!

Chanel’s Joseph Cruz with a Shanghai-inspired boot with lantern embossing and a silver lantern on the heel.

Tiana, second from left, with her friends Kim Yoshino, Kristi Komeya and Tessie Schmisseur.

Oh, but heart be still! The real piece de resistance was a trek through Tiana’s dream closet, with Chanel’s pretty tweed suits, shoes and handbags lined up in a row. It was amazing to behold, but the impact of it all really didn’t hit me until later, when I woke up in the middle of the night, started thinking about it and couldn’t go back to sleep.

My first thought was of a black tank top introduced a couple years back, embellished with five pieces of applique, that I know she owns and wished I could see again.

Then I thought of how there are so many words associated with the brand, like “iconic, classic, timeless,” that I can spew them out without much thought. They are a shorthand for getting an idea across. But as I looked at the pieces in Tiana’s closet, I realized how any of those pieces, no matter which season or which year, could be worn with any of the other pieces, and look just as current now as a decade ago, and always be recognized as Chanel. It’s the reason she said she has trouble parting with any of her Chanel pieces. They can be worn forever. She also has an eye for the most iconic pieces of any collection, making them instantly collectible.

That shows how strong the brand, its vision and aesthetics are, and it’s quite a feat. I can’t think of many other brands that can sustain that instant recognition over decades. Certainly in terms of accessories, there is Hermes, Dior and Louis Vuitton, but in clothing?

My introduction to couture was through Chanel, one of the first luxury brands to have arrived in Hawaii in the 1980s. I wish I had the kind of personal technology available today to capture the fantastic runway shows produced at that time, along with the initial French Festival shows that brought the haute couture to Hawaii. They are now relegated strictly to memory, but the Chanel, Dior and Sonia Rykiel shows were fantastic.

Far from being stuffy, the same ethos that led Chanel to buy and preserve the work of such Maisons d’Art as Lemarié (feathers), Lesage (embroidery) Desrues (metalwork), Goossens (goldsmith) and Guillet (flowers), made them eager to share the handwork of its haute couture garments, and demonstrate to those who cannot fathom the expense of such garments, what separates their work from what we usually wear. They represent the highest achievement in fashion, as well as a connection to the past.

Tiana shows one of her favorites from the fall collection, a bootie dressed with a row of camellias, with, clockwise from left, Chanel’s Tia Gaurani, Joseph Cruz, Tiana’s husband Nobuhide Torii and Chanel’s Joshua Evans. Below, Catherine Lin shows what it looks like when worn.

Tiana and Chanel also played host to, left, Wanloe Shock, and center, Erika Kauffman.

A glimpse of the dream closet, with some of Tiana’s Chanel purses.

Then there’s her shoe collection.