A New Local Clothing Line is Bringing Sexy Back

Refined Vanity launches with a fresh take on easy glamour.
Refined Vanity launches with a fresh take on easy glamour.
Photo: courtesy of COURTNEY MAU

Wallflowers, take note. New local clothing line Refined Vanity’s styles aren’t made for flying under the radar. They’re head turners. “I want people to notice her when she walks into a room,” says Honolulu-based designer Jessica Ho of her customer. “I want them to think, wow.” 


The line debuted this spring with a small collection of minimal dresses and separates, fluid in nature with a sultry touch. “This first collection is all about the drape,” says Ho. Although her background is in woven fabrics—Ho honed her skills in HCC’s fashion design program—she recently fell in love with knitwear’s organic, malleable nature. Nearly all of the pieces are made from a buttery soft, four-way-stretch rayon-spandex fabric that moves effortlessly with the body. 


It’s the drape that gives the pieces their daring silhouettes, flowing here and curving there to reveal flashes of décolletage and hints of back, showing just enough without giving away too much. “It’s a fine line, I know,” says Ho. “I push it, but not too far.” 


The range includes two midi dresses, the Carri, a cowl-front halter style with a lower cowl in back, and the Sandy, with a knotted back, and two minis featuring keyhole and criss-cross strap details.


The collection’s cropped, asymmetrical cami and knee-length pencil skirt are sold as a set. And, its centerpiece, the Isabelle maxi, features an ultra-dramatic T-strap with a deep-swooping back. 


To balance the attention-grabbing cuts, Ho opted for rich-but-subtle hues, including a soft sand, navy and classic black. She also offers a matching bandeau for the Isabelle—a sexy-smart option for those who aren’t quite ready to take the full plunge, but still want a bit of a dip.  


Right: Isabelle maxi dress and bandeau sets, $260 each. View the full collection at refinedvanity.com.