Exclusive: Designer sketches for Fashion as Art at the HiSAM

Night on the Gown

Fashion as Art at the HiSAM
Photos: Aaron Hess for Hawaii Fashion Month

Cinderella had it good: A fairy godmother. Gorgeous glass slippers. A poofy gown that somehow made her look even skinnier than she already was. Yeah, we were totally jealous… until we discovered a fairy godmother moment of our own.

Okay, so the 15 local designers taking part in tonight's Fashion as Art don't exactly wave magic wands. And we can't actually wear the dreamy confections they call evening gowns, which will be showcased against the stunning backdrop of the Hawaii State Art Museum's sculpture garden. But there's no denying: their work is pure magic.

The gowns designed especially for tonight are top secret until the actual event, but we managed to wrestle away a few sketches. Below, a sneak peek of the looks: rich blends of fabrics, textures and embellishments, such as feathers, shells, even butterflies.

Who needs prints charming?

Fashion as Art at the HiSAM

Bernard Foong
Years of design experience: Close to 50
Inspiration: Foong's worldly travels (the designer was born in Malaysia, went to boarding school in England and lived in the Middle East before moving to Hawaii)
Dress details: The dress is titled Moana or ocean. Shells and motifs reflect the curves of the waves with a hijab that camouflages part of the face. A combination of duchess satin and heavyweight satin gives the dress a contrasting glossy and matte effect.

Randy Leano
Years of design experience: 15+
Inspiration: A feather lamp spotted at Ala Moana Center
Dress details: This bridal gown is all about structure and silhouette with satin manipulated to look like feathers.

Fashion as Art at the HiSAM

Ryan Hanaoka
Years of design experience: 1
Inspiration: A dress that's chic, stylish and not normally found in Hawaii
Dress details: A coat dress made entirely of faux leather for a sexy, sleek look.

Michele Matsuo and daughter/lead designer Allegra Matsuo Mossman
Years of design experience: 44+ (the "+" is for Allegra, who started designing avidly at age 5)
Inspiration: The ephemeral beauty of a lek, or gathering, of butterflies
Dress details: Velvety stretch woven fabric and satin backing with a matching peekaboo bodice. The butterflies create a sumptuous layer, yet are removable so the gown can be packed and washed with ease.

Fashion as Art takes place tonight, 7-9 p.m., at the Hawaii State Art Museum Sculpture Garden. Admission is free. You can also view The Way We Wear, a historical clothing exhibit featuring pieces from the Art in Public Places Collection and University of Hawaii at Manoa's Historic Costume Museum. Click here for more information.