Designer Manaola Yap contacted me with the opportunity to create some shoes for his transcending Hawaiian fashion brand Manaola Hawaii. Manaola, is the first ever native Hawaiian fashion designer invited to show his collection at New York Fashion Week. Humbled that he would give me full creative freedom on my shoes to be displayed on a stage of that magnitude. The future of Hawaiian fashion is in very good hands.(www.manaolahawaii.com)
KŌLANI Collection: Designer Manaola Yap reimagines Hawaiian luxury with this exclusive new collection, Kōlani, a preview of what is to come from Yapʻs elegant fashion label, MANAOLA. Kōlani means “belonging to the heavenly ones,” or “belonging to royalty.” Kōlani refers to the traditional seated dance, hula kōlani, where dancers performed these hula noho to honor Hawaiian monarchs. This collection was humbly born as a vision of how modern-day ali’i would adorn themselves in Hawai’i and throughout the world. Kōlani notes the multicultural influences of ali’i through their worldly travels into a collection that would distinguish Hawaiian royals for their international fashion savvy on a global stage. The designer showcases contemporary silhouettes in luxurious fabrics and his signature, hand-carved ‘ohe kāpala prints as well as the debut of his first graphic print, Peʻahi Niu, in trending metallic hues to evoke cultural opulence worthy of high born chiefs.
PEʻAHI NIU: The Peahi Niu is a primitive print honoring the crescent-shaped fans reserved for Hawaiian royalty. Made of intricately woven coconut and pandanus leaves, these fans are often depicted in lithographs by high-ranking monarchs for both practical and ornamental use. Denoted by the sophisticated twisting and braiding of leaves and fibers such as human hair, Peahi Niu showcased the finest weaving skills of Hawaiian artisans. These native artifacts are highly revered for their royal association and preserved in the likes of Hawai'i's Bishop Museum as well as a special collection in the British Museum. The crescent shape of these woven fans are recognized as a icon in various Polynesian cultures and often represented in native tattooing throughout Hawai’i, New Zealand, Samoa and throughout the South Pacific. Within these cultures, tattoos inked the genealogy and life experiences of the individual upon the skin, thus the Peahi Niu was utilized as a mark of distinction for high ranking chiefs to wear this symbol with pride. MANAOLA pays homage to these heirlooms and the many cultures who share in this profound respect for this ethnographic print.
*This low top sneaker pair was inspired by "Mano-ka-lani-põ" son of Kukona who ruled the kingdom of Kaua'i in the late 13th century. He was noted for the energy and wisdom with which he encouraged agriculture and industry, executed long and difficult works of irrigation, and thus brought fields of wilderness under cultivation. No foreign wars disturbed his reign, and it is remembered in the legends as the golden age of the island of Kaua'i. (Source: Abraham Fornander - "An Account of Polynesian Race")
*This genderless smoking slipper was inspired by the "moi" or Pacific Threadfin fish
that was once reserved only for men of Hawaiian royalty. The "moi" was "kapu" or forbidden to be caught and eaten in ancient times if you were not of royal blood.
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