Archive for the ‘Vintage’ Category

MiSH MaSH finds home downtown

August 10th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

At MiSH MaSH, Nicole Franco, left, rings up a sale for vintage fan Devon Hughes, who had to rush back to Chaplain Lane where she had a booth at the Shop & Bop event.

Etown is no longer at 1164 Smith St., but vintage fans can still get their fashion fix now that that Nicole Franco has moved in, finding a permanent spot for her previously mobile MiSH MaSH vintage boutique.

The co-founder and producer of Art and Flea, which takes place every fourth Thursday at Fresh Cafe, has a really good eye that’s obvious in the small space where every piece is a hand-picked gem.

Before dropping in on her opening night First Friday, Aug. 5., I had been at Pacific Gateway Center’s Lemon Grass Cafe for its celebration of Andy South’s accomplishments. While there, I ran into stylist Tiare Thomas, fresh from the recent launch of her new website,, and we walked over to MiSH MaSH with photographer Travis Okimoto.

They thought it would be safer for me to walk with them, but I had to laugh. I’m way tougher than I look, having grown up pushing my way onto the school bus with Waipahu boys three times my size, vacationed in New York in the early ’80s when Times Square was still sleazy and Central Park muggings were a norm, and famously walking home solo from concerts (subways stopped running before they ended about 2 a.m.) in downtown Washington, D.C., when it was known as the murder capital of the nation. Throw in times I’ve caught rides with strangers while traveling solo in the Southwest, and there are times I now think I could have easily been killed. After that, downtown Honolulu is so NOT dangerous.

While we were at MiSH MaSH, I noticed there were a lot of men taking a look, and Nicole has plenty of vintage aloha shirts for them, as well as jackets, vests and ties for those who enjoy getting dressed.

It’s amazing that in such a small space, she really has something for everyone, including jewelry and accessories, of course, but also some ceramic and glassware, toys, books, records, vintage cameras and radios, and more.

Tentative hours are noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. Fridays, and Saturdays and Sundays by appointment by emailing For more details, keep up with MishMashHawaii on Facebook.

Tiare Thomas tried on this hat but went home with a glamorous one-piece vintage swimsuit to add to her collection.

Among the items in the shop is a poster of Frank Sinatra’s 1938 police mug shot, when he was charged with seduction and adultery by a woman who worried about her married status only after the fact. The complaint was dismissed less than a month later. There would be a lot of people in jail if those kinds of charges held up today! On the other hand, it would be a huge money maker for law enforcement in these times of need. These days, the city is kept afloat by the parking tickets I’m racking up.

Travis Okimoto admires the vintage cameras.

A selection of bow ties.

A shelf below a rack of aloha shirts houses glass and house wares.

Proenza Schouler duo drop into Catherine’s Closet

April 8th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Capes will be big come fall, and Catherine Fong of Catherine’s Closet wears a vintage piece while showing a 1970s suede version.

Catherine Fong of Catherine’s Closet hosted a 1970s celebration April 1 at her new location at 125 Merchant St.

The 1970s theme was inspired by Barneys Japan’s premiere of the Catherine’s Closet Collection, a popup shop within the Tokyo store, which will open April 23 and continue for approximately three weeks.

After a feature on the vintage boutique appeared on Japanese television, Barney’s Tokyo executives flew a buyer out to Catherine’s to seek out pieces worthy of the high-end retailer. The buyer was particularly smitten by 1970s pieces and bought several dozen maxi dresses, feather hats and 30 Panama hats for resale in the popup boutique, as well as a red cape for her own use.

The boutique also had another brush with fame when a friend of Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez—together known as the designers behind Proenza Schouler—contacted me via Facebook regarding the best places for vintage shopping in Hawaii. There’s not many with the quality vintage enthusiasts expect, but I was able to share a short list that included Catherine’s Closet.

The designers were apparently thrilled and went home with 1960s and 1970s pieces, including a maxi dress, a purse and three short dresses. They were especially happy to find something Catherine could only describe as a “hair dress.” She didn’t get the term they used. But, could it be safe to guess we may find a bit of vintage Hawaii inspiration on their next runway?

Catherine’s Closet will celebrate it’s birthday on April 29, and 10 percent of sales at the boutique throughout this month will go toward Japan relief efforts.

The boutique is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 521-0772.

Kimberly Mitsuoka wears a 1970s jumpsuit next to a Catherine’s Closet display of more ’70s apparel.

Greta Gallardo spotted this vintage dress, tried it on and bought it on the spot. She has a great figure for vintage clothes, made at times when people were skinny and a 22-inch waist for women wasn’t considered drug- or anorexia-related.

Another dress Greta tried on.

Catherine’s Closet is known for its selection of vintage hats. She has a lot of white styles in stock, as well as feathered pieces, noting that Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding is coming up, and contemporary as she is, Kate tends to favor smaller feather pieces in lieu of hats. Below, Catherine wears a feathered clip by local “seamster” Sandra Ipo Bunnell.

Kellie Phyu already has a couple of vintage gold Whiting & Davis mesh purses, but was trying to decide which of these two to pick up next.