HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The ground-breaking aloha wear designs of Alfred Shaheen are returning to their birthplace of Honolulu for an exhibit at Bishop Museum, Nov. 10, 2012 through Feb. 4, 2013. HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen tells the story of how a Honolulu-based designer elevated the aloha shirt to the world of high fashion and made aloha wear a clothing trend that is here to stay.
Bishop Museum's HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen will be the largest collection of Shaheen designs ever shown. The extraordinary display of more than 200 pieces, including aloha shirts and the famous Hawaiian Bombshell Dress, represents Shaheen's work over a 40-year period. The exhibit also features archival photos and ads that recall how his textiles were designed, manufactured and marketed. The collection comes from Shaheen's daughter, Camille Shaheen, and her husband, WilliamTunberg, who have been collecting Shaheen's designer wear since the late 90's as a way to document family history.
Made in Hawai'i since the 1930s, the aloha shirt became the perfect souvenir to bring back to friends and family on the mainland. Shaheen's unique, trendsetting designs soon became high fashion with high-grade materials, quality construction and artistic prints inspired by the Hawaiian Islands and their multicultural influences from Polynesia and Asia.
Of Lebanese descent, Shaheen and his parents settled in Honolulu in 1938, establishing a custom dress shop. Wanting to branch out into ready-to-wear fashion, Shaheen opened his factory in Honolulu in 1948. In the early days of the Hawai'i garment industry, the isolation of the islands restricted the growth of business. Clothing manufacturers had to store a year's worth of fabric to guard against frequent shipping delays, and their designs were constrained to whatever the textile mills sent to them. Shaheen eliminated the middle man by pioneering his own silk screening method. He developed his own machines, trained a team of craftsmen and started his silk screen printing plant Surf 'n' Sand Hand Prints in 1952. His designs were inspired by Polynesian and Asian cultures, and he hired artists that shared his passion.
Shaheen built the most comprehensive textile printing, garment manufacturing, and retailcompany Hawai'i would ever see. By 1959, Shaheen employed 400 workers and grossed more than $4 million annually, dominating the local garment industry. His designs were carried in his own chain stores, as well as Liberty House, Andrades, and McInerny. Shaheen's designs were also featured in national stores such as Bullock's, Macy's and Bergdorf Goodman. After 40 years of innovation, Shaheen retired in 1988. In 2006, two years before his passing, Honolulu Advertiser recognized him as one of the 150 most important influences on the State of Hawai'i. HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen is a celebration of his career and provides a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the man, his profound impact, and how his influence resonates today. The exhibition opens to the public on November 10, and is followed a week later with a premiere evening fashion show featuring vintage wear by Shaheen as well as local "Shaheen-inspired" designers, including Andy South. Both events coincide with the biennial International Textile and Apparel Association Conference. The Museum will also host a series of lectures and presentations exploring Shaheen's legacy, his cultural influences, the emergence and propagation of multi-ethnic identities within the fashion industry, and how his approach to design and business forged a new model reflecting ethnic integration. The exhibition will remain open until Feb. 4, 2013.
Admission into Bishop Museum: Adults - $17.95; Youth (4-12) and Seniors (65+) - $14.95; Hawaii residents and Military with ID - Adults $10.95; Youth (4-12) and Seniors (65+) $8.95; (non-resident adult visitors accompanied by Military or a Hawaii resident with ID - $14.95); members and children age three and younger are always free. Children age 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Admission for Bishop Museum members is free. Bishop Museum is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed on Tuesdays and Dec. 25.
For more information about the Bishop Museum, click HERE or call (808) 847-3511.
What: 'An Evening of HI Fashion'
When: 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17
Where: Bishop Museum
Tickets: Can be purchased online HERE or by calling (808) 847-8296
The public is invited to revel in the music, food and fashion of the 1950s and 60s. Experience a fashion show beneath the stars with Bishop Museum's grand Hawaiian Hall as the backdrop. The fashion show will feature rare vintage aloha wear by Alfred Shaheen and contemporary collections by Project Runway's Andy South and Reyn Spooner. The evening will include musical entertainment, era-inspired cocktails, food tastings by Hale 'Aina and Café Pulama, and a silent auction of Shaheen originals. Finish off the night with a stroll through Bishop Museum's newest exhibit "HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen," featuring over 200 of the master printer's most famous creations. Join in the glam by wearing your own vintage Shaheen or Shaheen-inspired attire!
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