HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawai'i's unofficial uniform is the boardshort-a perfect fit for the birthplace of surfing. This summer Honolulu Museum of Art looks at the art of this utilitarian, sexy article of clothing that has evolved from kapa malo to high-tech constructions, setting fashion trends beyond the beach along the way. Today, the boardshort is an object of desire around the world, whether hanging in a dingy North Shore surf shop or a hypermodern Manhattan boutique.
It's a swell summer at the museum, with additional surf-related programming: The Fifth Annual Honolulu Surf Film Festival, ARTafterDARK: Beat the Heat, and Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: In the Swim.
Sara Oka, the manager of the textile collection, met with surf world legends and surfshort design pioneers, burrowed through archives, and rifled through thrift stores to tell the boardshort story. Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit, chronicles in a fun, entertaining way the fascinating evolution of a single, simple garment that today is a symbol of extreme sports and a sought-after lifestyle.
The modern Hawai'i surf trunk started off in the 1950s as a custom-made item-mom-and-pop businesses such as the H. Miura Store in Hale'iwa and Nii's in Makaha sewed boardshorts to order. Though designed for fit and comfort, those early cotton shorts would be no match for the space-age, stretchy, quick-drying gear used today.
Included in the exhibition are a board and swimwear that belonged to six surf stars, past and present: Eddie Aikau, Lisa Anderson, Gerry Lopez, Carissa Moore, Kelly Slater, and Rell Sunn.
The multimedia exhibition, with video of vintage and contemporary wave riders providing a sense of place, is a unique experience. Visitors will explore:
Vintage View: Photographs and swimwear from the 1890s to the 1960s set the historical stage.
Women on Waves: Spotlight on the achievements of women surfers and their contribution to the boardshort industry.
Beach Patrol to Safety Officer: A tribute to those who provide world-class lifeguard services.
Design Evolution/Revolution: Parade of shorts illustrating design trends such as solids, stripes, florals and skulls.
The Boardshort Deconstructed: Industry innovations in design, fabrics, and styles-from coconut buttons to Velcro®, cotton to Teflon®-coated polyester.
Industry Innovators: Popular brands and the development of boardshorts from swim trunks to "baggies" to shorts as canvases for contemporary artists.
Nordstrom is the presenting sponsor of the exhibition, with additional support provided by the Atherton Family Foundation and Hard Rock Café Honolulu.
• Fifth Annual Honolulu Surf Film Festival, July 7-31: The best new surf films, along with some vintage favorites. See the full schedule.
ARTafterDARK: Beat the Heat, Aug. 31: The museum's monthly art party focuses on Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit and ocean sports.
• Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: In the Swim, Sept. 19: The museum's monthly free family day puts the spotlight on the exhibition. Art activities include a chance for kids to design their own boardshorts.
For more information, call 808-532-8700 or visit the website!
About the Honolulu Museum of Art:
One of the world's premier art museums presents international caliber special exhibitions and features a collection that includes Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Warhol, as well as traditional Asian and Hawaiian art. Located in two of Honolulu's most beautiful buildings, visitors enjoy two cafés, gardens, and films and concerts at the theater. In 2011, The Contemporary Museum gifted its assets and collection to the Honolulu Academy of Arts and in 2012, the combined museum changed its name to the Honolulu Museum of Art.
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