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10-04-2012
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Tropical/Hawaiian Prints S/S 2012
There are two images that spring to mind when you think of the Hawaiian shirt.
One is Elvis Presley, airbrushed to matinee-idol perfection on the LP cover of – appropriately enough – Blue Hawaii. The other is the archetype of the American abroad, as brash and overblown as, well, the Hawaiian shirt across his back. Think of the pop artist Duane Hanson's hyper-real Tourists. Could the American everyman wear anything other than a Hawaiian shirt? That's the tussle in considering this oft-maligned, mostly reviled garment. In fashion terms, the Hawaiian shirt is less Wallis Simpson, more Homer Simpson. It's mass, crass and terribly bad taste. And for spring, it's just about everywhere.
There's no single place to pinpoint the upsurge in interest in the Hawaiian shirt – but, when you examine its composite parts, it's simple to see how it slots into fashion's current obsessions. It ticks the eye-popping print box first – and, loud though it may be, that's perhaps the easiest part to understand. Lush desert-island foliage is a small leap from standard florals, and an effortless way to zing up a T-shirt or basic shift dress.
"You felt it starting in people's pre-collections," Kate Phelan, creative director of Topshop, says. "Stella McCartney's pre-summer started with that tropical feeling, as did Givenchy. There was an exoticism I think that was coming through." McCartney and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci both succumbed to jungle fever, splashing hibiscus prints and suspiciously idyllic sunsets across cotton T-shirts, sleek pencil-skirts and buttoned-up blouses. After all, the Americans call those collections Cruise – the perfect excuse for a Palm Springs-ready palm-frond screen print, a mood picked up by Altuzarra and Proenza Schouler in New York's spring collections. By the time of London Fashion Week, the jalapeño-hot hues of Peter Pilotto's prints and newcomer Maarten van der Horst's out-and-out ode to Kid Creole were less jarring and more intriguing. The decidedly wrong Hawaiian shirt had started to look right.
Before we go any further, there are a few things we should clear up. Firstly, the name – it's really an shirt, although when they began to be exported in the 1950s they acquired their region-specific moniker. Most high-fashion "Hawaiian" shirts over the past two years have come from Milan, courtesy of Miuccia Prada. Her September 2010 womenswear collection was awash with Hawaiian shirts, splodged with prints of sketchy monkeys clutching pineapples. The latter, alongside bold humbug stripes, came closest to a Hawaiian print true, but the boxy, simplistic shape in classic cotton poplin was bang-on. She revived it for her spring 2012 men's collection, splashed this time with Lily Pulitzer-inspired florals – last summer, it even ended up manufacturing those banana and baboon-emblazoned shirts for men.
Mention that "Chiquita Banana" spring 2011 Prada collection to the stand-out Fashion East star Van Der Horst and his eyes close painfully in a flashback to designing his MA collection: "It was horrible – I was working with the Hawaiian shirts and then Prada did the Hawaiian shirt!" Central Saint Martins MA head Professor Louise Wilson pushed him to carry on (via an expletive-laded speech) and in February 2011 Van Der Horst's collection leapt off the MA catwalk.
"Perfectly tailored separates, those deliciously lush tropical prints, topped off with enough absurd frills to put a big smile on my face," is how Fashion East's Lulu Kennedy summarises Van Der Horst's graduation show, hibiscus-prints hula-ing their way across boxy, frill-packed separates that seemed to cross-breed the Hawaiian shirt with petticoat nylon. Or maybe that should be Polyester – not the fabric, but the John Waters movie that Van Der Horst could well be recostuming. "The Hawaiian shirt... it's not John Waters, but it's so John Waters!" Van Der Horst says.
That's part of its appeal. Over the past five or so years the shirt has been subject to many an ironic revival, vintage shirts splashed with lurid prints snapped up for a song. The Hawaiian shirt is the very nadir of naff, which for many immediately rendered it credible. In layman's terms, it's so uncool it's cool – the key to all the best fashion moments. But this summer, designers' Hawaiian moments are set to go mainstream, not just in the inevitable high-street "homages"to the designer prints, but in full-blown collaborations. Van Der Horst's graduation show not only caught the attention of Kennedy and just about every fashion editor in the Western hemisphere, it also attracted Topshop, which put its money where its mouth was and enlisted Van Der Horst to created a collaborative collection. "Maarten's choice of the tropicals is totally on-trend with how everybody is thinking," says Kate Phelan of Van Der Horst's seven-piece high-summer Topshop collection, which is launching in-store and online on 19 April. "The clever thing he's done is making the Hawaiian shirt a jacket and a Bermuda short, making it into a cool boy-girl feeling... it's very easy, it's very lo-fi design. It's based on the principles of quite a simple idea, but the print is what makes it feel special and right for this season."
Van Der Horst's printed blooms have been specially designed for his Topshop pieces, but for his own-label spring 2012 collection, he looked closer to the home of the shirt. "We found a souvenir shop in Hawaii – and we just bought everything!" Van Der Horst says, explaining that he bulk-buys his cottons in Waikiki. "I thought we would find a factory that could make it, but no. We bought everything from a souvenir shop – the owner had no idea what happened to her!" Couple that with Van Der Horst's designs, true-to-classic shirt shape with turn-down V-collar, a loose-fit and transparent buttons, this is an authentic ode to that so-wrong-it's-right shirt.
Van Der Horst's clothes may share an aesthetic heritage with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez's spring collection for Proenza Schouler, but the approach is different. Rather than true Hawaii, Proenza Schouler looked to middle-American Tikki culture in their raffia-embroidered skirts, eel-skin leathers and burnt orange and chartreuse Polynesian prints halfway between an shirt and beach-motel wallpaper. "It was the idea of these land-locked people re-imagining primitive life," Hernandez says. "Artifice, total fantasy." Bang – escape. That's what fashion's always searching for.
"It's so 'Disney', isn't it?" Kennedy says. "An unrealistically brighter, cuter, less-messy version of reality." Oddly enough, that's what the shirt represented way back when – exoticism, fantasy and escape. To less-sophisticated eyes, this garment was an indicator of world travel, a jet-set souvenir, a true slice of island life. And today? It's still symbolic of escape, albeit into a kitsch fantasy of Americana past. "I love the escapism of the references," Kennedy says. "How it takes you someplace else, a happier place." Tasteful or not, isn't that what fashion should be all about? (alex fury/theindependent.co.uk)


photos: van der horst's runway and topshop look.
Attached Images
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18-04-2012
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Personally I love hawaiian prints but I know there will be haters but why? This trend hasn't been over-milked, Its fun and colours and unique!

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18-04-2012
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i think when the prints are done right they can look really great...

the cuts of the clothes are what make the garments more modern too...

no one wants to look like a tourist back from hawaii with a boxy buttondown in garish colors...

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24-04-2012
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I love these heels from Altuzarra

xoxo-kiss.com

So summery and gorgeous.

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28-04-2012
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I've never really liked Hawaiian prints that much, especially the men's shirts.

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30-04-2012
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I LOVE this trend! i wear a vintage thrifted Hawaiin print t that i adore and is a wardrobe staple. It's quite the conversation starter. i get compliments on it every time i wear it. even Hawaiin co-workers and customers at work greet me with an 'Aloha' when i wear it :p there's a real art and history to this beyond just the kitsch factor that's fascinating.

A few years ago I fell in love with this beautifully done book...lo and behold i was walking past the LUCKY brand jeans store a few weeks ago and it was prominently on display in their window!

I remember in the mid 90s there being a resurgence of Hawaiin inspired fashion. I loved it then too.

amazon

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30-04-2012
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Here's a great vintage US VOGUE ed styled by Camilla Nickerson which showcased this trend with a retro, glam twist


Tropical Punch
US VOGUE May 1995
Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth
Fashion Editor: Camilla Nickerson
Model: Valerie Celis
Hair: Ward
Make-up: Fulvia Farolfi




ellastica scans

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30-04-2012
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Quote:
When you hear the mere mention of Hawaii . . . you can’t help but envision beautiful sandy beaches, hula girls and Aloha shirts. More so, the 50th State of ours is rich in a culture so diverse yet unified by the embracing spirit found in it’s people. Lucky Brand set out to bring you a little piece of this paradise — and knew in order to do so, we would have to go straight to the source.

In collaboration with Dale Hope, renowned textile designer and author of The Aloha Shirt, the Summer 2012 collection is full of graphic prints, tropical hues and an ease only to be found while in the islands. We caught up with Dale to ‘talk story’ and learn more about his life and inspiration in Honolulu.

-----

What do you hold most dear about being born and raised in the islands?

To me it’s our casual lifestyle that is so special and so endearing. We went to school barefoot until 6th grade and then we had to wear shoes. It is such an interesting melting pot of cultures and sensibilities here. And of course our weather and climate. The ocean is a huge draw for me, it is such a special thing to be able to go to the ocean and swim, surf, paddle, fish, etc. It renews you and gives you a skip in your step that makes you feel so good. When I used to own my company, I felt as if anything they threw at me throughout the day, I was able to handle, because I had been out in the a.m. previously spending special time on the water.


Growing up in the Hawaii garment industry – was it always a desire to go into the family business?

No. It was just never that appealing to me. I really did grow up in my mom and dad’s factory and it didn’t excite me due to the constant familiarity. I played in boxes in lieu of nannies and went on all my dad’s deliveries from a young age. By the time I was a teenager, I was working in the factory. I didn’t really identify with the business because although my dad made shirts, they were more for ladies – misses. I didn’t want to sell to blue haired ladies who didn’t know if they needed this product or not. I was interested in men’s shirts and my dad was not. By the time he passed away at 60, I had to take a crash course in how to take over as a very young and fairly uneducated businessman. But, because of the few guys I knew that were making shirts and developing art, I was inspired to join in on the new design sense that was appealing to us. Had it not been for those guys, it probably never would have been interesting to me. They exemplified the fact that it could be done differently, and aided me in carving a path that allowed me to execute prints in a different fashion.


Do you find it to be a welcome challenge when finding new ways to elevate a classic? Yes, you’re only as good as your last print. I’ve always wanted to be a really good shirt maker. So, I’ve spent my career seeking out interesting stories and extremely talented artists with the hope that our work will find it’s way into people’s hearts and touch them on an emotional level.


The history of the Aloha shirt very much depicts the story of Hawaii during each era- how does it feel knowing you’ve made such an impact?

It’s very rewarding to be driving around the island and see people of every generation wearing shirts that I steered the design of. (We actually drove by a young man riding his bicycle who was wearing one of Dale’s shirts during our tour.) In addition, when idols and heroes of mine have worn my shirts…that’s really special. I am so inspired by the stories that go into developing these prints, so I’m really delighted when another person connects to the concept as well.


Looking back in time, what era of the Aloha shirt do you find most captivating?

Probably the 50’s and late late 40’s were the most amazing. Some of the shirts from back then are now selling for $10K. The fabric was actually a cheap lingerie rayon, but it was very drapy and silky; soft to the touch and very luxurious to wear. The colorations were also insane with the lime greens and purples of the day that weren’t too hot. The artists back then weren’t watching TV for inspiration. They were drawing on the nature around us. Such authentic interpretations and the artists were memorializing everything that was special about the Island. They did it without a computer or over stimulation. They captured the innocence, charm and naiveté of the environment and the time as well. The ukulele, getting back rubs on a surfboard off the beach of Waikiki, Hawaiian music and luaus were all reflected within the art.That’s the heroic period for me – the Golden Era.

Why Lucky Brand? What made it the perfect collaboration? I’ve always been a fan of Lucky Brand. My entire family is actually. My wife, daughter and I all love and wear Lucky denim. It’s such a great collaboration because Lucky can really elevate the essence and idea of the Hawaiian shirt. Prints are also so on-trend right now, and I don’t foresee that changing anytime in the near future. So, it’s such a great time to introduce these Hawaiian prints for men and especially for women in dresses, pants, shorts, tops, etc. in a way that they’ve never been done before.

In one word, describe Hawaii? Aloha!

In an extensive personal collection of Aloha Shirts, some of Dale’s favorites have been memorialized this year on the U.S. Postcard Stamps available nationwide. Send a little Aloha in the mail!


source: blog.luckybrand.com

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13-05-2012
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i still have hawaii print shirts from the late 90s/early 00s, but they're silk and loose

i wished i could get that silk fused with cotton canvas and remade into a more structured shirt...

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14-05-2012
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I love this trend. Sure, it can easily look cliche but when done right it's fantastic.

I've noticed a lot of tropical print pants lately, it looks so good when paired with a clean looking top.

ellastica - I would love to see a picture of that tee, sounds nice


Last edited by saann; 14-05-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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14-05-2012
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I'm a big fan of this trend and I wish I could have all the Stella McCartney Resort 2012 collection.

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16-05-2012
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I like this trend done in a vintage 50's motel kind of look

I bought some vintage shirts last week in a tropical print..cropped and baggy and to be honnest impulse purchase and now im stuck on ideas for styling them..so any ideas or pictures would be great for inspiration thanks

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16-05-2012
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^I think the easiest way to style them is to pair them up with something in a clean and solid color. Since the print is so busy (usually that's the case with tropical prints) it can be good to balance it with something less busy. It will also put all focus on the shirt.

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16-05-2012
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saann, here's the aforementioned hawaiin print shirt. thrifted c. 2007 but the fit is very 90s, cropped but has a slight flare to it so it's not skin tight. i'm wearing my high waisted GAP jeans; nothing terribly exciting styling-wise. i keep things pretty paired down and unfussy most times.

hi1.JPG hi2.JPG

hi3.JPG
my pics

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17-05-2012
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^oooh that's nice! I love the neckline, it's not a stereotypical tee. And I love the red base, really nice. Regarding the styling, I think the tee is enough action going on and benefits from unfussy styling. Have you ever tried tucking it in under the pants or a skirt?

Thanks for posting!

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