Archive for the ‘fighting eel’ Category

Fashionable afternoon with Hui Makaala

October 11th, 2011

Nadine Kam video stills
Models for Sonny Ching by Paradisus walked the runway during the Hui Makaala Scholarship Luncheon and Fashion Show Oct. 2.

Hui Makaala presented its 42nd fashion show Oct. 2 at the Sheraton Waikiki’s Hawaii Ballroom, featuring designs by Fighting Eel, a line of Sonny Ching by Paradisus silver jewelry and Andy South, who featured his Fall/Winter 2011 collection and a small sampling of Spring 2012 designs.

Sonny Ching put on a striking showcase, his models draped in white and his men barechested to show off the silver jewelry. I just love Akemi and Linda Ueda’s work at Paradisus and have many of their smaller, demure pieces. Their website is

I may add a short video clip here later, just to offer a sampling of the pacing and sounds of the show. Otherwise, without a tripod, it was difficult to focus on the jewelry through video, though pieces were bold enough to be seen at a distance by the naked eye.

Fighting Eel’s segment included Hui Makaala scholarship recipients, as well as guest models such as City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, Donna Mercado Kim and Patsy Young, demonstrating that the local line often associated with young women can be suitable for any age. Donna Kim looked especially striking  in a floor-length, black column sheath.

Andy’s finale was also a treat. After staging many a show at his alma mater, Honolulu Community College and at New York Fashion Week as a “Project Runway” Season 8 finalist, he’s a young old pro at this and always brings an element of theater to his showcases, which isn’t often seen in many of these benefit fashion shows.

Nonflash video link

Another of Sonny Ching’s models.

Sonny Ching took his bows after the show.

Sonny Ching by Paradisus bold silver pieces are likely to be conversation starters to wearers. Their Hawaiian motifs range from kapa inspirations to pahu to manifestations of the deity Ku.

Above and below, a trio of looks from Fighting Eel.

Ann Kobayashi in Fighting Eel, and below, Donna Mercado Kim.

Patsy Young in Fighting Eel. Young served as honorary chair for the event.

Policing the red carpet

March 10th, 2010


Watching Joan Rivers dish on the red carpet apparel throughout the awards season has been amusing because, last fall when I spotted her at New York Fashion Week at the Dennis Basso show, I wasn’t thinking of how tell-it-like-it-is direct she could be when assessing the looks. If I had, I may have run in the opposite direction.

Top on my mind was that she had just come off “Celebrity Apprentice” when I decided to trail her and try to get a photo. In spite of all the commotion that pervades the tents, she spotted me in my Fighting Eel dress and Balenciaga bag, and said how she liked the orange of the bag and how it played off the print of the dress, and asked if I wanted to be in the picture with her. Usually I say no, because I don’t need any extra you-were-there sort of validation. Obviously, if I’m writing about it, I was there.

But this time I said OK, because it always helps to promote local designers abroad, with the idea that if these little companies do well and continue to grow, Hawaii’s economy will get a little boost as well.

So then Joan turned to a man who was with her and made him take the photo above.


Getty Images
Sandra Bullock looked like an Oscar herself in this Marchesa gown.

I mostly agree with Joan’s assessments of the red carpet. Of the Oscar looks, I thought Sandra Bullock looked amazing while sitting. I liked the shoulder details of her Marchesa gown, but when she stood and I could take in the whole gown, the embellishment looked matronly, mother-of-the-bride-like to me. But then, she’s no ingenue, so she looked appropriately glamorous in silvery metallic.

Also thought Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams looked great.


Carey Mulligan subverts her sweet, school-girl looks in Prada.

Rivers and her “Fashion Police” posse didn’t like the Prada dress worn by “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan, but the red carpet is typically so boring, I applaud Mulligan’s (and no doubt Miuccia’s) effort to bring some edginess to the mainstream event. With her pixie innocent looks, I thought it was a bold move to contrast her soft, fair appearance with the subversive allure of black embellished with hardware of miniature scissors, bolts and daggers. I thought the dress cleverly captured the essence of her film, about a 16-year-old whose innocence is lost when she meets an older suitor. Only Prada could bring aspects of the screen role, the actress and the red carpet together this way!


Jennifer Lopez, in Armani Privé, for once didn’t look trashy on the red carpet. Marc Anthony must be helping her to dress.


E’s Fashion Police also didn’t like Rachel McAdams gown, saying it was nice but something that could be worn to the beach. Uh, well, we have plenty of beaches here and it’s rare to see anyone in something as beautiful as this Elie Saab gown. I love the draping and that she picked a print. The typical boring, solid-color column gown puts me to sleep, which is why I’ve never talked much about them after the awards shows.

This Oscar season has been different in that many of the actresses have tried to put on something more dramatic and be more fashion-y than Hollywood-y, the latter oriented toward safely pleasing middle America. There’s a big chasm between the two worlds. It hasn’t gone entirely well, with many of them looking as if they were being swallowed up by their gowns (think of the gowns as Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors”).

Zoe Saldana of “Avatar” had one of the most dramatic gowns, from Givenchy, but she doesn’t have the filmic stature or attitude to pull it off. She had trouble walking while on stage (the hem parts in the middle), and it just came across as overworked and fussy. Vera Farmiga did a little better in her red, ruffley Marchesa. Even so, I assume they have paid stylists who should be warning them about the pitfalls associated with their picks when the whole world is looking.

On the other hand, after thinking about it more, Saldana had no public face time in “Avatar,” appearing as a blue animated Na’vi, so if she wanted to get noticed as a possible lead actress, like a new Halle Berry, she did succeed in making an impression. Same with Farmiga, a longtime character actor who got recent big breaks through Scorsese’s “The Departed,” and this year’s nominated “Up in the Air.”


Zoe Saldana had trouble wrangling her skirt on stage, but at least she looked better than her presentation mate, a slouchy Miley Cyrus, whose bustier dress was a size or two too small. I will spare you the evidence.

Because of the fashion-Hollywood disconnect, I resented the appearance of celebs at New York Fashion Week the first time I went. It’s one thing if they honestly care about and understand fashion, but most celebs just approach it as just another photo op. But now, with more shows than ever, I appreciate their presence as a way of breaking up some of the monotony of the standard show format.

And, speaking of celebrity photo ops, here are some photos from the spring 2010 shows just for Pam (you know who you are), who confessed to stalking the former “American Idol” finalist and “Rock of Ages” star Constantine Maroulis on Twitter. Don’t worry, I’m a stalker myself, though my stalks include Christian Siriano, Apolo Ohno (very chatty, funny and upbeat), Johnny Weir (very much the sensitive diva), Santino Rice, guitarists Slash Hudson and Joe Perry, and Yoko Ono.


Nadine Kam photos
Constantine Maroulis, left, before the Max Azria show.


Constantine with an interviewer before the show.


At the tents, Kim Kardashian was also waiting for the Max Azria show to start.