Style & Substance
These successful women are known as some of the most fashionable in Honolulu. But it’s not the clothes that set them apart—it’s their understanding that style is a way to express themselves, both professionally and creatively.
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SIGNATURE STYLE: Wearable art, influenced by a love of travel that began early. Her father’s job took the family all over the world. “I love experiencing new cultures and ideas, to go places I have never been to before.” She was recently in Shanghai, Rome and Minneapolis, and this month, she’ll explore Bali.
DRESSING THE PART: Her position as president of Communications Pacific means she often has to transition—there’s day and evening; clients and community groups; influential leaders and social and cultural organizations. “I always think, “Am I being respectful for the occasion? I care enough about them and their issue to dress properly for it.”
WARDROBE RITUAL: “Getting dressed sets the tone for the day and addresses my artist self. It’s a canvas, influenced by mood and the elements. I get up very, very early. What is the wind doing? Which planet and stars are out? Then I meditate and make excellent coffee.”
MANAGES HER COLLECTION: Uses Chinese document boxes or cutlery trays to organize her jewelry by color. “It’s like a palette of paint,” she says.
WHERE SHE SHOPS: While traveling, she often picks up art or jewelry from the culture she is visiting. “I like to remember the experience and the gifts that the place gave me.” Often, her purchases are gifts for others. In Hawai‘i, she says, she finds Ethiopian, Nepalese and Tibetan pieces in, of all places, Hilo. “I like unusual things. I’ll stop in at a florist, I’ll check out a craft fair. I’m like a Bedouin that way.” She also likes the brands MaxMara and Sig Zane, and pokes through little boutiques in Rome, as well as in consignment and thrift shops. And, “I like what Shanghai Tang does. A cheongsam in leather is divine—the juxtaposition.”
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: She is learning to box.
FASHION ADVICE: “Experiment, take a risk. You don’t need to worry about others. One shouldn’t confuse dressing well with ego. It’s about celebrating yourself, who you are and your thoughts.”
Hair and makeup by Juliana Chaize. For Valerie Ragaza-Miao, hair and makeup by E'jay Maldonado of Body & Soul.