Best of Honolulu 2015: Shopping
The 22 editorial and reader picks for the chic-est shopping in the city.
Best of Shopping Editor’s Pick
Best Swimwear for Kids
On Leilani: Austral one-piece suit, $60, and hoodie, $30. On Kekoa: Kids’ tank top, $26, and kids’ retro surf trunks, $45
Photos: Odeelo Dayondon
North Shore-based Luli Luli Bikinis is into its second year producing aww-inspiring swimsuits for girls up to 14 years old. These sweet suits boast fun details, like fringe tops and ruffles in all the right places, and a mix of girly prints, such as soft floral bodies and contrasting leopard straps. Choose from a range of styles, including triangle bikinis, sassy bandeaus, no-nonsense one-pieces and rash guards in light, quick-dry Lycra with 50 ultraviolet protection factor. Plus, since spring, when the brand released its new boys’ line of fun and functional swimwear, boys have been able to get in on the party, too, with trunks in patterns such as frisky vines or jolly VW vans.
Available at Pink Sand, Royal Hawaiian Center, lulilulibikinis.com
Best Family-Friendly Shore Finds
Peeking into Of One Sea’s online shop is like entering a sea-inspired, family-friendly wonderland. The collection of apparel and accessories for men, women and children has a fun nature theme, with depictions of the currents gracing daddy-and-me trunks, paintings of waves dripping down tanks and cheerful sketches of leaves adorning leggings. North Shore-based owner Maryam Fortuna has a real eye for design and quality, and stocks her shop with a mixture of totes, tees and clothes she creates herself—often from her own sketches—and items she sources from brands she loves, including kids’ bikinis and soft Turkish towels. Fortuna even has a fun collection of outdoor items, including a teepee with the Of One Sea logo and handcrafted skateboards and paddleball sets.
Best Place for a Wardrobe Refresh
We love shave ice. We love shopping. We love shave ice while we’re shopping, and now we—and you—can do that! Aloha Sunday Supply owner Kahana Kalama is known for great taste in fashion. Now, his ever-so-cool aesthetic is reaching even further with flavorful, refreshing sips at the Aloha Sunday Kailua space.
The Local Hawai‘i (shave ice) counter sits at the entrance of the shop, with a wall separating it from AS apparel and home goods. An exposed prep area allows post-beachgoers to chill out and watch as their custom-made snowballs come to shape and receive a swirling pour of all-natural syrups made from local fruits. One hundred percent preservative- and food coloring-free, the enticing extracts bring in the bold sweetness of mountain apples from Ha‘ikū, liliko‘i from Waimānalo and Meyer lemons from the North Shore, which are used to make a crack-seed lemon-peel syrup. You can just feel your mouth starting to water.
For more of a bubbly buzz, The Local can turn any flavor into a soda or soda float. And if you’re craving some liquid energy, the new cold-brew coffee sourced from coffee beans grown on Kaua‘i is another buzz-worthy refresher to try.
131 Hekili St.
Best Click to Brick Arrivals
Photo: Courtesy of Anthropologie
At long last sister stores Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters have finally landed in Honolulu. We’re designating Anthropologie as the sartorial older sibling here, thanks in part to its covetable selection of retro-modern fashions from brands including Greylin, Sanctuary and Zimmerman, as perfect for the office as it is for brunch with the girls. And then, of course, there are the homewares—it’s hard to imagine whipping up anything less than fantastic with those paisley-print rolling pins, scalloped mixing bowls and measuring cups shaped like whales.
Anthropologie, Ala Moana Center, 946-6302,
1. Adidas Farm Xilofloresta cropped tank, $34. 2. Birkenstock Rio Quarter Strap sandals, $90. 3. Geo 18K-gold-plated earrings, $20. 4. Silence and Noise bralette, $39. 5. Without Walls leggings, $68. 6. Komono Clement sunglasses, $60. 7. Three Potato Four cap, $36. 8. Obey Floral Maven bomber jacket, $108, Urban Outfitters.
Photo: David Croxford
As for little sis Urban Outfitters, 20-somethings will go gaga over its airy, festival-inspired fashions, but we’re partial to the boutique’s mix of minimalist totes and sandals, punchy takes on sportswear-inspired styles and its endless array of perfectly worn-in slouchy tees. Its music area also deserves a nod—as record shops become scarcer on island, it’s great to be able to score a few off-duty outfits and then flip through a fresh stack of vinyl, all in one fell swoop.
Urban Outfitters, 2424 Kalākaua Ave., 922-7970
Best Wrap Artist
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
Generic is, well, generic. Especially when it comes to wrapping paper. Instead of buying the overplayed chevron and polka-dotted rolls from drugstores, we suggest you spruce up your special gift with locally made Wrappily’s wrap sheet.
In its second year, Wrappily paper has gained a reputation for being beautiful, reversible and environmentally friendly. It’s made from 100-percent recyclable and compostable newsprint using neighborhood newspaper presses. As impressive as all that sounds, the appeal of pretty wrapping paper is undeniably what lures gift makers to buy. Owner and designer Sara Smith (who was a wrapping paper saver before she started this) covers this corner by collaborating with local artists and designers, including the talented Andrew Mau and Jana Lam, to create covetable, one-of-a-kind patterns.
Available at Owens and Co., 1152 Nu‘uanu Ave., 531-4300, Sugarcane Shop, 137 11th Ave. Ste. 101, 739-2263, wrappily.com
Best Art in An Envelope
Mau House Bubble Print Cards, $8 each.
Photo: David Croxford
Artist Andrew Mau has a knack for showcasing the beauty in simplicity. Case in point, his award-winning furniture—unfussy chairs, benches and mirrors replete with clean lines and plays on geometric shapes. On a smaller scale, the Nu‘uanu native has been translating that knack into a charming range of stationery, blank paper cards topped with hand-stamped designs, perfect for those looking to enjoy local art in an everyday kind of way. “I’ve always been interested in pattern,” says Mau. “Stationery was my way to observe my design evolution without committing to anything too precious.” For his latest, the Bubble Print, Mau manipulated ink and actual bubbles to create beautifully expressive, often mesmerizing patterns, each uniquely one of a kind. “The organic shapes and thin line-weight created by surface tension are what I find particularly fascinating,” he says. We have to agree.
Available at Fishcake, 307 Kamani St., 593-1231
Best Saturday Sale
Allison Izu Fall 2015
Photo: Courtesy of the cut collective
Bargain shoppers take note: The Cut Collective slashes prices every last Saturday of the month. Owners Allison Izu Song of Allison Izu and Summer Shiigi of Ten Tomorrow, along with designer Rumi Murakami, trim dollars off of their past and current lines of petite denims, contemporary casuals and clean-lined basics. The sales run from 10 to 30 percent off, which is a big deal since each piece is quality made right here on Island.
To sweeten the shopping experience, the Cut crew also reveals their newest collections, sometimes giving a percentage off those as well—a real godsend for your wallet and closet. Light refreshments, a chance to hang with the colorful group of designing women (trust us, they’re a hoot), and get their valuable fit and style advice free of charge—boom. Your Saturday plans are made.
2800 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 192, (877) 498-4981
Best Local Prints
Tofino Paperbag dress, $362
Photo: Courtesy of Language of the Birds
Hawai‘i resident Tsia Carson moved to the Islands from New York last year, and her beautiful, contemporary line of resortwear, Language of the Birds, is a perfect, sophisticated blend of the aesthetics of the two places. Think eye-catching prints in an East Coast-style with loose and open cuts ideal for the tropics. Carson, who has a background in user-experience design and brand planning, made the move to fashion design last year, crafting the sleek, modern silhouettes herself, and teaming up with New York-based textile designer Gina Gregario for the standout patterns, which include bright firecracker and rustic village-inspired prints. Plus, Language of the Birds pieces are ethically produced, without the use of foreign sweatshops: The pieces are cut and sewn in New York, and the fabrics are hand silk-screened in Rhode Island.
Available at La Muse, 1156 Nu‘uanu Ave., ofthebirds.com
Best New Beach Lineup
Ponpon Shorts, $48
Photo: David Croxford
Meet Guava Shop’s new beach apparel collection, Pon Pon. Reason one why we love it so much: It’s light as the wind, soft as a baby’s bum and its fresh colors are simply yummy. Ok, maybe that’s more than one. But we dream of wearing these perennial sellers 24 hours a day. Of course, we know it’s not groundbreaking that someone in Hawai‘i creates beach attire, but Guava owners Liz House and Kai Cost live the coastal lifestyle on O‘ahu’s North Shore and understand what styles, materials and colors really bring home the happy post-beach vibe. They have always wanted something fun and sexy that could take them from the sand to a stool at their favorite pau hana stop.
By using a shibori tie-dye treatment, which brings in texture and colorful noise to each piece, flowy maxi dresses, mini shorts, summery frocks and relaxed rompers get splashed with vibrant watercolor patterns in ocean blue, key-lime green, and, of course, guava pink.
Hale‘iwa Store Lots, 637-9670
Best Photogenic Accessory
Photos: David Croxford
Considering the fashion industry’s current obsession with all things tropical, it’s no wonder that Samudra’s dreamy, photo-printed pouches have become one of the season’s must-have accessories. The lightweight, zip-top canvas clutches showcase Honolulu designer Jennifer Binney’s snaps of sparkling ocean scenes, shave-ice-hued sunsets and balmy palm trees, captured at home and on travels to exotic locales, such as Tulum and Tahiti. Along with fresh flower and wave designs, Binney also recently introduced a few graphic, black-and-white prints, teaming up with Australian artist Jai Vasicek, known for his hand-painted tiles, on the Pineapple Diamond Skin Pouch, which features a playful illustration of the diamond-shaped markings on a pineapple’s side, and working with popular lifestyle blog Bikini Bird to create the Bite Me Pouch, covered on one side with shark jaws. Binney’s got even more goodies in the works—keep an eye out for her new beach accessories, blankets and towels.
Fighting Eel, Kāhala Mall, 738-4912 and samudra11.com
Best Neighborhood Nod
Green Tea Soap, $6 for 2-oz. bar
My Mānoa owners Wendy and Mike Hee created this soap line only a couple of years ago in the spirit of their beloved neighborhood: a little rustic and a bit old-fashioned, with a focus on the environment. Now, the duo has a full line of environmentally friendly, all-natural products (even laundry detergent and surf wax) made with everything from coffee to detoxifying charcoal. Though the Hees works on My Mānoa in addition to their full-time jobs, business has been booming. You can now find their products in boutiques across the Island, including Pink Sand in Waikīkī, Green Mountain in Mānoa and Guava Shop in Hale‘iwa. The scents are fresh and delicious, but what will really steal your heart is the brand’s creative packaging. The green tea soap comes in a cute muslin tea bag, while the coffee soap comes in a teeny coffee sack.
Best Place to Buy Art
Photos: David Croxford
Brimming with original paintings and prints, turned-wood pieces, handcrafted jewelry and furniture, fused glass wares and office and housewarming gifts, Nohea Gallery is a veritable treasure trove of local art, a go-to for folks looking to pick up that next statement piece. Owners and mother-daughter duo Gail and Laurie Baron curate its collection with an exacting eye. “I look for originality and quality in design and execution,” says Laurie, an artist herself. The pair opened the gallery-boutique in 1990, inspired by the family’s matriarchs one generation back—Gail’s mother, a lifelong artist, passed down an appreciation for painting and ikebana, and Laurie’s paternal grandmother, who had worked at the Bishop Museum, spurred their love of the Islands. This summer, the Barons will be mixing things up a bit, adding a few new artists to their roster. “Roger Whitlock and Mark Norseth of the former Gallery at Ward Center are joining our painters Brenda Cablayan, Diana Lehr, Russell Lowrey, Fabienne Blanc, Cindy Conklin, Susie Anderson and gyotaku artist Naoki Hayashi,” says Laurie.
1050 Ala Moana Blvd., 596-0074
Best Aloha Attire
The Mainland may still be crowing about the novelty of aloha wear, but, here in the Islands, our attitudes have gotten a little ho-hum to this almost-cliché classic. Thank goodness for the breath of fresh air that is Manuheali‘i, a cool, contemporary take on a print tradition that’s still near and dear to our hearts. Owners Danene and Pono Lunn’s inspired infusion of Hawaiian spirit into a contemporary aesthetic has caused more than a few locals’ heads to turn, winning them a gaggle of fashionable enthusiasts. People can’t get enough of the brand’s menswear and women’s wear, in which well-loved Island flora get punched up in stylized prints, bold colored textiles and cuts that range from tight and edgy, to flowing and romantic. With two locations spanning either side of the Ko‘olau Range, shoppers can snag this stylish aloha spirit no matter which coast they call home.
Multiple locations, manuhealii.com
Best Jewelry Store
Yellow gold Maile leaf earrings, $359
Nowadays, its easy to throw on a trendy department store necklace or bracelet, but donning a Nā Hōkū jewelry piece, with 90-plus years of standout craftsmanship, expertise and history behind it, well, that’s an honor. At least, that’s how people describe it.
What we especially love is that all the breathtaking sparklers in Nā Hōkū showcases are classic, lifelong accessories created from premium gold and exquisite, flawless gems. They’re not six-month wear accessories, they have staying power, or more fittingly, star power.
Tahitian pearl necklaces, mosaic red ginger earrings, cascading waterfall pendants that resemble drops of liquid ice are a few radiant eye-catchers that attract daughters, mothers and grandmothers alike. And with new, Island-inspired pieces appearing from season to season, in Nā Hōkū’s signature romantic sculptural shapes and vibrant color ways, it’s time for women of all ages to play dress up.
Available at multiple Nā Hōkū locations, nahoku.com
Best Antique Shop
732 Kapahulu Ave., 737-3297
Best Beauty Department
Multiple locations, sephora.com
Best Furniture Store
Multiple locations, inspirationinteriors.com
Best Hardware Store
City Mill Co. Ltd
Multiple locations, citymill.com
Best Place for Home Accessories
Pier 1 Imports
Multiple locations, pier1.com
Best Place for Kitchenware
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 2220, 951-0088
Best Place to Go Shoe Shopping
1519 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Store #706, 953-6100