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Despite the economy, there are reassuring signs of life: small boutiques opening up. Some of these business owners have, in fact, been able to hang their shingle because of the opportunities they found during the downturn, such as less expensive rents and available real estate. The resulting boutiques are small gems, offering big-city style.
This chic boutique is beautifully decorated by owner Micah Iaukea (photo at right), and designed to appeal to two markets. “My theory is to do vintage in a boutique setting so that someone who normally isn’t into vintage will be more open to it. Yet for vintage lovers, they can still find what they want,” she explains. She has a background in fashion design but chose vintage because, she says, “I’ve always enjoyed treasure hunting.” After living in Los Angeles, Iaukea returned home to open her dream shop.
Cloth offers one-of-a-kind pieces for men and women, as well as accessories and home décor items. Most are from the 1960s and 1970s, though clothing from the 1930s to 1950s has been spotted. Iaukea warns, “Those don’t stay in the store for long!”
“Some of the clothes are statement-makers, others are more wearable today,” she says. Iaukea has also reconstructed some of the clothing to tailor it to contemporary tastes, and offers complimentary in-store alterations. “I have my machine right in the store,” she notes, and can usually have things ready for their new owner by the next day.
Prices run from about $20 for a men’s shirt or women’s skirt to about $120 for a dress.
“I hope people feel like they can play,” says Iaukea. “Vintage isn’t necessarily meant to be taken seriously.”
909 Kapiolani Blvd., 597-9006. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park on the ground floor level.
While you’re in the neighborhood:
Shop for Roberto Coin jewelry in 18K, yellow, white and rose gold at Elle Couture Jewellers. This boutique has a private-shopping feel to it, and you can make appointments for just that. Lance Ishibashi, creative director, notes that Roberto Coin jewelry is known for its intricate, feminine pieces. Prices are $1,000 and up, though you can find simple pendants for $150. 909 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite A, 591-8080. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The former occupant, Cupcake Boutique, has moved to a larger store; hopefully this space will have the same positive growth vibes for Dolce. Owner Christie Yang (photo above) opened Dolce in November of 2008. It’s her first store, but she’s been in retail for 16 years—half her life. She was employed for many years at Ralph Lauren, and even worked with the man himself at his East Hampton, N.Y. store.
At Dolce, Yang offers clothing for women, focusing on brands that are exclusive to her store. The styles are mostly from New York designers, plus a few from Los Angeles, and the aesthetic is airy, flattering and simple. For example, the vivid colors and light fabric of the Calypso silk dresses (around $275) would fit right in at special Island occasions. Also hot sellers: handcrafted, gold-vermeil bangle bracelets.
A word to serious shoppers: Check out the store’s press book to see what’s coming, so that you can get yourself on the wait list Yang maintains for her clients.
Ward Centre, 596-9436. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., www.dolcehonolulu.com.
While you’re in the neighborhood:
Fans of women’s boutique Misfortune will be happy to see that the store has reopened in its old location, under new management. Ward Centre, 593-7886. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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