Best of Lei Chic 2012: Art and Soul

(Rewind) La Muse boutique opens in Chinatown

Lei Chic As we ring in 2013, Lei Chic is taking a look back into our archives and bringing you some of the best stories we published during 2012. Happy New Year!

Originally published on January 30, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to MoMA, The Museum of Must-Have Apparel. I am your guide, Lei. Let's get Van Goghing.

On the left, note the colorful collection of Owens & Co. Straight ahead, the ever-changing exhibit of The Human Imagination. But today, turn your attention to the right for an exciting, contemporary up-and-comer – La Muse.

At 8:58 this morning, the doors opened to reveal an artistic display of luxurious fabrics, edgy metal work, and handcrafted pieces never before seen in the islands.

Lei Chic Matisse yourself with couture swimwear and cover ups such as the sleek, modern Shan out of Canada, playful, feminine looks from Denmark's Hanne Bloch (a former Missoni designer), and vibrant, embellished bikinis by Italy's Emamo and Masquenada. Sneak a Picasso at quirky, draped shirts by Love Nail Tree and adorable bunnies and dolls handmade in Israel.

And we guarantee you'll want to Gaugain and again to see the jewelry including full-finger armor rings, edgy Bj by Jules nail rings, Zina Kao's hand-formed brushed silver, Sibilia's patinaed copper, and delicate chain-and-bead necklaces.

Please look and feel free to touch everything. If you finish before the rest of the group, La Muse creator Julia Chu suggests sitting down with a book and enjoying the French music. Or if you're suddenly inspired to create, Chu (who designs everything from bags to leather jackets) can alter any look with Swarovski crystals. She even plans to welcome musicians and other artists soon.

So you have nothing Toulouse.

And every reason to Dali.

La Muse is located at 1156 Nuuanu Ave., (808) 536-0818. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday by appointment.