By: Amanda Stevens Jun 13, 2016
Humble. That’s the word that comes to mind when describing Allison Carol Nanea Chu, the newly crowned Miss Hawaii 2016. I’ve known the 22-year-old since she was in high school. Soon after her discovery as a model she was booking national campaigns and walking the runways of New York Fashion Week. Allie is just as genuine and unaffected by the limelight now as she was then.
Chu graduated summa cum laude from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in psychology. You’ve probably seen her a bit on “Hawaii Five-0,” and she’s been trained as an opera singer since she was 5. That training was a major factor in her win in the talent competition of Saturday night’s Miss Hawaii pageant.
As Miss Hawaii Chu goes on to compete in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City this September. I had a chance to chat with her backstage after the pageant.
What was your earliest memory of Miss America and Miss Hawaii?
For as long as I can remember, I would watch Miss America and Miss Hawaii every year with my mom, but I never dreamed that I would be here, let alone be here with so many incredible women. It’s amazing to be a part of this organization.
What do you hope to accomplish during reign as Miss Hawaii?
My uncle Jim was diagnosed with skin cancer when I was younger. Growing up in Hawaii, being in the sun is such a part of our lives. I want to reach out into the community and promote my platform, Safe in the Sun: prevention and early detection of skin cancer.
I am also going to work hard to represent Hawaii, my family and friends, at the Miss America pageant.
As someone who has accomplished so much at such a young age, what advice would you give Hawaii youth?
I went to Kalani High School, I grew up in the public school system. As long as you are hard-working, you’re determined and you have something that you feel passionately about, you can accomplish anything that you want.
(Left to right) Miss Kaka’ako – Hali’a Parish, Miss Kahala – Chelsea Clement, Miss Hawaii – Allison Chu, Miss Diamond Head – Tesia Melani Worley, and Miss Latina Hawaii – Tiffany Johnson.
Miss Hawaii 2016:
Miss Aloha Latina – Allison Carol Nanea Chu (talent – opera)
Miss Kahala – Chelsea Clement (talent – Tahitian dance)
Miss Diamond Head – Tesia Melani Worley (talent – hula)
Miss Kaka’ako – Hali’a Parish (talent – vocalist)
Miss Latina Hawaii – Tiffany Johnson (talent – lyrical dance)
Pageant photos by Paul Hayashi
By: Amanda Stevens May 23, 2016
Day 3 of the Amazing Hawaii Comic Con crowd was pretty impressive — aisles were buzzing and many attendees stayed until the very end. The Frolic team made it a point to visit as many panel discussions as we could.
It was great to hear behind-the-scenes insider scoops from Hawaii’s own Mat Nastos, creator of Shogun Knight, along with other heavy hitters at the Robot v Kaiju panel. Also very interesting and quite earth-friendly was the Hawaii Indie Filmmaker panel featuring local guy Sam Campos, creator of Kamenaze (think “The Walking Dead” meets “Kamen Rider”). Campos designs and makes the coolest costumes and masks from recycled materials.
Here’s Day 3, followed by my favorite looks from the Cosplay Red Carpet featuring Twisted Cuts on Friday night:
-Photos by Amanda Stevens
(From FrolicHawaii.com 05/06/2016) – Amanda Stevens
UH Manoa’s Fashion Design and Merchandising Program celebrated its 49th year with an impressive senior fashion show at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Prince Kuhio Hotel on Sunday. It began with the theme Axis — the intersection of lines creating a point of origin. Whether because of the creative vision of student director Jeremy Divinagracia or budget constraints, the B-formation floor-level runway was ambitious and a welcome change from the typical raised runway.
The Axis theme guided student designers in expressing their heritage and philosophies in their creations. Here’s a look at some of my favorite runway moments from the seniors.
Legacy by Ayaka Hosomi
Heritage was a strong element in Hosomi’s collection. I loved the surprise elements of a feminine open back paired with the classic structure and construction of her Japanese-inspired designs. The collection definitely conveyed the axis of beauty and tradition.
Mod Nouveau by Gabrielle Sanehira
This collection featured simple lines and was heavily influenced by Sanehira’s background in photography. Her garments incorporate sheets of exposed and processed film.
Jardin De Papillons by Asia Joan Mateo
There’s a definite 1950s romantic, elegant vibe to Mateo’s designs. Her first look was a crowd favorite with little flowers randomly falling from within the dress, trailing the models’ steps. Her design inspiration was a butterfly’s thorax and the contrasting delicacy and strength of its wings.
Mirage by Grace Tsubaki-Noguchi
Of all the collections, Mirage had the strongest sense of whimsy and lightness. Tsubaki-Noguchi’s architectural silhouettes contrasting with feminine prints and fabrics created a softness with an interesting edge.
Adaptation by Li Jin King
Last year I was impressed with King’s stingray-inspired junior design. This year she turned up the design heat with her sultry creations. I love how she incorporated a Roaring 20s flair with fitted Chinese cheongsam silhouettes. I’m also intrigued by the draping and juxtaposing Eastern vibe of her men’s designs.
The 2015 Fashion Production students definitely took the show to the next level. I can’t wait to see what instructor Cynthia Tsark does with her students next year in celebration of the program’s 50th anniversary showcase.
Here are more creations from student designers.
Axis – 2015 UH Manoa fashion show
New Wave – Junior Designer Group Collection.
— Photos by Eric Baranda
(from FrolicHawaii.com 5/3/16 – Amanda Stevens)
The Fashion Design and Merchandising Program celebrated 50 years of UH Manoa’s Senior Fashion Shows on Sunday night at Kennedy Theater. More than 500 attendees viewed collections from two seniors, eight juniors and 11 alumni designers including Matt Bruening of Matt Bruening designs, Terilynn Okimura of Volto Couture based in New York City and Joelle Perry, owner of a custom bridal gown business.
The two senior designers symbolized the wide array of aesthetics that have come through the venerable program.
Moses Gouveia, a graduate of the HCC Fashion Technology program, created a collection that is soft and feminine, inspired by the beauty of Manoa Valley. The rainbow hue swimsuits were his standouts.
Kari Begay channeled her inner adventurer and interest in motorcycles to create her collection. She dreams of building a brand that will provide riders with classic wearable clothing on the open road.
Here are highlights of the evening, shot by photographer Lyle Amine.
Hopefully this 50th anniversary milestone will bring more attendance, attention and funding to the Fashion Design and Merchandising program.
(from FrolicHawaii.com 4/26/16 – Amanda Stevens)
What happens when an adventurous, free-spirited singer-songwriter decides to update her onstage style? And not just any singer-songwriter, but one of Hawaii’s best. Kimie Miner, who’s toured with Barrington Levy and Anuhea, was just nominated for a pair of Na Hoku Hanohano awards for Best Female Vocalist and Best New Album of the Year for the self-titled “Kimie Miner.”
Miner describes her fashion style as “beachy island boho girl meets globe trotter urban dweller.” When I asked about her style influencer, she answered, “Erykah Badu, because her fashion reflects her lifestyle, and I think it’s important for your fashion to reflect who you are and what you believe.”
It was inevitable that she would be introduced to Kailua designer Emily Valdez.
The two are kindred spirits. Both have traveled extensively from a young age, look for ways to give back and are passionate about their respective crafts. In fact it was Valdez’ travels to Indonesia, where she met a girl whose family couldn’t afford to send her to school, that inspired her clothing brand. Valdez’ purchases of the shell necklaces made by the girl helped her raise the money for her education. She named her line Yireh – Hebrew for “Jehovah will provide.”
Here are highlights from Miner’s first style session with Valdez, followed by photos of what the singer wore onstage for her next two performances.
For Miner, philanthropy is part of her music. As a result of the style session, she wore Yireh at two benefit concerts at Makers & Tasters. The first helped a teen and his family offset some of his major medical expenses.
Here’s what Miner wore at Friday’s Mana Mele Festival concert, a benefit for Hawaiian-focused public charter schools.
Miner’s new music video, “Bottom of a Rainbow,” premieres this Friday, April 29. You can check out her music and her upcoming performances May 8 in Iwilei and May 26 in Monterey, California on her website, kimieminer.com.
(from FrolicHawaii.com 4/3/16 – Amanda Stevens)
On Saturday, the Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club was the site for OluKai’s soiree to showcase the launch of their new collection. It definitely was reason to celebrate, their new casual footwear collection is now exclusively sold at Nordstrom Ala Moana Center. A new design of their very popular drop in heel shoe was also on display.
The hotel will open to the public in mid-April and was the perfect location for the exclusive soiree, with its vintage North Shore surf vibe and decor. Kamea Hadar was on hand, etching his art onto OluKai collector tins, and the bar and kitchen were serving up refreshing and tasty drinks and treats.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite soiree pics:
(from FrolicHawaii.com 4/1/16 – Amanda Stevens)
Through their job training programs, Goodwill is known for providing people with employment barriers a hand-up, not a hand-out. Thanks to a hand-up from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the creative input from the 50|50 Agency, the Goodwill store in Kaimuki received an epic makeover to coincide with their rebranding campaign.
With “live mannequins” modeling in the windows, the store’s bright space accented with fresh hues of blue and modern industrial touches was revealed at Thursday’s private reopening for VIPs that included super shoppers, board members and media.
The new design formula will eventually be rolled out to all of Goodwill Hawaii’s program locations, donation centers, and stores on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii island and Kauai.
My fashion-partner-in-crime Rene and I styled the models (he did their hair and makeup) –we’ve both been volunteering our visual merchandising expertise for the past four years.
Goodwill Hawaii will commemorate the redesigned store with a grand re-opening this Friday through Sunday with special offers and prize giveaways for shoppers.
3638 Waialae Ave.
(from FrolicHawaii.com 3/28/16 – Amanda Stevens)
The coolest aspects of architecture, engineering and art inspire jewelry designer M33Ms, aka Emiko Miyazawa. Her Mess Before M33Ms exhibit is a fascinating look at pieces with adjustable chain lengths, puzzle-like pendants and swivel rings that can pair with T-shirt and jeans or an evening ensemble. The exhibit is open today, March 28 and Wednesday, March 30 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Outpost, downstairs from Chinatown’s Hound and Quail.
The exhibit is a third-anniversary celebration for M33Ms third anniversary. Installations feature the inner workings of Miyazawa’s thought process, design inspirations and the intent of her jewelry brand. From wearable art to her early sketches, it’s an inspiring, super personal reflection of her internal map. Try not to miss the Mess.
Mess Before M33Ms
Hound and Quail Outpost
March 28 and 30th 1-6 p.m.
920 Maunakea St.
(from FrolicHawaii.com 3/28/16 – Amanda Stevens & Melissa Chang)
Illusion backs, cascading silk tulle skirts, Italian ivory lace and body-con silhouettes: designer Galia Lahav’s haute couture bridal and evening gowns starred at a preview of Magnolia White, a Tokyo bridal salon opening April 1 at Hokua Tower. If the look is familiar, you may have seen some of Lahav’s creations on the red carpet at the 2016 Academy Awards.
The staircase at 53 by the Sea was the runway. It was a great location for a Friday night fashion show. A posh seated dinner followed, and when Waikiki’s weekly fireworks started, lights were dimmed so the capacity crowd could enjoy the view. The restaurant also has two chapels, a groom’s room, a bride’s room and a fab ocean backdrop for on-site weddings.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
Photos by Melissa Chang and Amanda Stevens
Magnolia White will showcase haute couture and ready-to-wear gowns from international designers exclusive to the Hawaii store including Lahav, Delphine Manive, Rue de Seine, David Fielden, Emmy London and Paris by Debra. The new Hawaii spot is only its second after its flagship in Minami-aoyama, Tokyo.
Magnolia White Hawaii
1288 Ala Moana Blvd.
Weekdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturdays by appointment
(from FrolicHawaii.com 3/21/16 – Amanda Stevens & Eric Baranda)
A sold-out ball with an important message, and fashion show by four “Project Runway” stars: It was a glam finale to a mega week for Susan G. Komen Hawaii, a non-profit that supports local breast cancer education, screening, treatment, survivor services and research for a cure.
As the executive director, I thought the most telling moment came during Friday night’s Pink Tie Ball at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. When honoree Angela Pratt asked people to stand if they or a family member or friend had been affected by breast cancer, more than three-quarters of the 420-plus attendees stood up.
The entertainment highlight was a fashion show by designers Sean Kelly, Alexander Knox, Ari South and Kini Zamora, all alums of the Lifetime TV hit series “Project Runway.” Kelly and Knox are based in New York City, while South and Zamora have brought their talents home to Hawaii. All spent months creating collections for the ball’s Decades fashion show presented by Hawaiian Airlines. Each designer also donated one look for the gala’s live auction.
Moanikeala Nabarro and Billie V. were among other big names who donated their time and talent including; Jeff Rasmussen, Taimane, Greenwood and Kristian Lei.
The kickoff press conference on Thursday brought together the designers, an update on breast health services from Dr. Pratt and TV personality Pamela Young, who shared her survivor story.
Here’s a look at highlights from the sold-out Pink Tie Ball. Photos are by Eric Baranda.
But that wasn’t the end of it: Fans got to meet the “Project Runway” stars at Ala Moana’s Microsoft store, where the four sketched creations in real time.
Finally, a personal note.
After Laura, a dear friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, the two of us and our BFF Cheryl produced a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Hawaii with a fashion show and survivor testimonials. That was in 2010. Three months later, Laura passed away.
That life-altering experience eventually led to my current position as Susan G. Komen Hawaii’s executive director, where I can be in the front line to help raise awareness about the disease. Thank you for all your support.