Fresh Picks: 7 Local Boutiques You Must Visit This Month
The season change from chilly winter to bright, cheery spring inspires a style refresh—perfect timing, since a new crop of O‘ahu boutiques recently popped up. Here are a handful of our favorites, plus a few uprooted shops that are thriving in their new plots.
Curiouser and Curiouser
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
Let’s be honest, in the past, going to Hound and Quail was a mix of sweet and sour. On one hand, combing through all of its peculiar and extraordinary curiosities was like embarking on a treasure hunt, with taxidermy heads, antique typewriters and rare books, all museum-worthy loot. The downer? Its tight, 400-square-foot studio space on Kapi‘olani Boulevard was barely larger than a walk-in closet, which meant you had to leave your friends at home. Fortunately, the boutique’s new Chinatown location is spacious enough to comfortably fit claustrophobes and collectors alike, with room to spare.
Now in a large space adjacent to Honolulu Harbor, Hound and Quail is still reliable for quirky oddities and one-of-a-kinders—and now there’s more to love. The drama of high ceilings and a 14-foot-tall bookshelf housing a number of cool eccentricities surprise passersby, drawing them in. And the shop’s open layout allowed owners Mark Pei and Travis Flazer to create mini vignettes with similar objects, making it easier for shoppers to navigate. There’s even room to showcase larger pieces of mid-century furniture, which gives the shop a stylish living-room aesthetic. “We tried to create a space unlike a normal retail shop,” says Pei.
There’s more to explore downstairs in the basement gallery, which features the works of local artists. “We look forward to hosting wine tastings, performances, sketch classes and anything else we can come up with,” says Flazer.
Hound and Quail, 920 Maunakea St., 779-8436
Lines In the Sand
1. JADEtribe bag, $183. 2. Artesano handmade hat, $210. 3. Acacia girls’ bikini top, $80, bikini bottom, $78.
Photos: Odeelo Dayondon
H&M and Urban Outfitters may be the bait luring locals into Waikīkī as of late, but the real prize at the end of the line is the handful of small local boutiques that’s popped up in the last few years. The most recent addition is Pink Sand, a little oasis of locally designed finds in the heart of Waikīkī.
Warm wood floors and coral-pink tiled walls put out an immediate beach-chic vibe. Visually, there’s a lot going on. Or, rather, there are a lot of straw beach bags going on, particularly the kind from New York label JADEtribe, decorated with multicolored pom-poms and tassel strands.
The bags line the tops of racks holding the latest swimwear styles from Issa de’ Mar, Tori Praver and Acacia. They gaze up from the floor beneath racks of adorable keiki swimsuits from Luli Luli, Salina, and Kimi and Li. They round out tabletops loaded with locally made goodies, including My Mānoa handmade soaps and tropical-print clutches from Jana Lam.
The shop’s jewelry case is chock-full of hard-to-find Maui and Big Island labels. You’ll find edgy ring sets from the ladies of Wings Hawai‘i, Keani Jewelry hoop earrings strung with manta ray charms, and Tahitian pearl necklaces from Amy Grace Jewelry.
Flowy cover-ups and maxis are staples, along with coordinating mom-and-daughter rompers and sundresses from Tiare Hawai‘i. The North Shore brand created an exclusive collection of dreamy, tie-dye styles just for the store.
Pink Sand, Royal Hawaiian Center, 922-4888
Big in Japan
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
Quality over quantity—it’s a simple adage for a simple brand. Explaining the backstory behind James After Beach Club, Monsarrat’s newest clothing boutique, now that’s a little more complicated.
In 1999, owner and Japan-based designer Masayoshi Shioya launched Studio Oribe, a unisex clothing line focused on classic, everyday fashions. Delicious, a second line, followed, along with two stores, James in Niigata and James and Co. in Kamakura. Ten years in, however, disenchanted with the constant churn of new collections, Shioya decided to hone in on his best pieces and only release fresh collections every two to three years.
James After Beach Club is the brand’s first U.S. shop. Its close proximity to both Diamond Head and Waikīkī is directly inspired by Shioya’s affinity for Hawai‘i and the local surf culture.
The shop stocks the latest incarnation of Studio Oribe, pared down to four pant styles and one jacket style. The palette is neutral, but there are thoughtful, utilitarian details—an elasticized waist here, a D-ring belt loop there, cargo and flap pockets everywhere.
Also on shelves is the most recent Delicious collection, which offers a more playful take on Oribe’s basics concept. Think plaid and chambray shirts, striped slouchy tees and easy tank dresses. JABC’s array of non-fashion Delicious brand items includes retro-inspired wood surfboards handcrafted by O‘ahu shaper Todd Pinder and packets of Ookami-style coffee from Fukuoka.
Great little gift items are sprinkled throughout, including lovely bar soaps from Los Poblanos, an organic farm in New Mexico, and beach-ready nylon Baggu totes. And thrift-store collectibles round out the shop’s rustic aesthetic—grab yourself a board and a vintage Mini Igloo cooler and you’re good to go.
James After Beach Club, 3045 Monsarrat Ave., Unit 8, 737-8982
Right Around the Bend
Photo: David Croxford
Lily Lotus fits in perfectly with its new Kaimukī neighbors—spots that cater to foodies and yoginis who like to om before they nom.
On the corner of Wai‘alae and Harding avenues, the sunny space is double the size of the old location down the street. That means more room to stock the brand’s distinct yoga wear and its latest addition of boho-chic accessories. “Right now we have a collection of tie-dye pieces in our Spring 2015 Horizon washes—we’re introducing a V-neck active camisole and Manifesto T-shirts,” says owner and designer Momi Chee. “We’re also launching our own line of flash tattoos, totes and zipper bags.”
Upon entering, your (third) eye may be pulled to the new addition of vibrant girls’ apparel and home accessories. To match, the rest of the décor reads fresh, modern and happy. “The new, airy space also provides shoppers with a sense of calmness,” says Chee. “I want them to feel at ease and comfortable.”
Lily Lotus, 3632 Wai‘alae Ave., 277-1724
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
There’s a new little North Shore secret nestled in the rustic warehouse neighborhood of Waialua. V Boutique, the right-brainchild of longtime jewelry designer Vanessa Pack, is a wee little gem of a shop stuffed with ocean-inspired accessories, spring- and summer-ready apparel and local art. The intimate space is a teeny—albeit beautifully renovated—little nook of retail heaven.
Pack, who grew up in Utah, traveled the globe as a flight attendent for a decade before settling with her husband on the North Shore.
Setting up a small studio next door to the Waialua Sugar Mill, Pack focused on her passion: jewelry. Her pieces feature images of gracefully sloping waves, playful dolphin tails and spindly coral branches.
This past November, after months of building and designing, V Boutique was born.
It’s a cozy, light-filled space, with lit jewelry nooks and handmade shelves. The boutique hosts a collection of Pack’s personal “must-haves” for Island living, creations from artists she loves and products from fellow Island designers. On the local end, there are art prints from Carlos Mozo and reversible swimsuits from Nai‘a Bikinis. You’ll also find vibrant Nena and Co. bags and AG Jeans.
V Boutique, 67-106 Kealohanui St., 315-5961
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
If Molly Ringwald had a dream closet, this would be it. With lively cobalt walls, rows of gorgeously color-blocked clothing and old-school décor, Hana Hou Vintage has the feel of an eclectic boudoir.
The racks are filled with pieces that owner Deb Mascia has been collecting over 30 years of international travel. Step inside and you’re instantly transported back in time. Louis Armstrong croons over the stereo. Black-and-white snaps of screen siren Jane Russell peer out from ornate gold frames.
Currently, Hana Hou’s stock is primarily women’s. Dresses start at $25 and top out at a little over $100. Almost every decade from the ’20s on is represented. We found swingy beaded flapper dresses, a kimono jacket adorned with hand-painted phoenixes and a pair of tangerine-hued bell bottoms.
If you’re looking for local finds, we spotted a few Alfred Shaheen numbers, including a gorgeous shirtdress for $50, a rare treasure indeed. What’s even rarer is that every piece in the store appears to be in stellar condition, with nary an age spot in sight.
The collectibles throughout the store are also for sale, everything from Asian paper umbrellas to sequin pillbox hats (fantastic costume pieces). According to manager Mary McNeill, customers often hunt for outfits for theme parties. Most recently, a client scooped up an ensemble for a Downton Abbey fête.
Hana Hou Vintage, 35 Kainehe St., 261-2100
The Guava Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree
Pon Pon Makai shibori dress, $108.
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
Sleepy Hale‘iwa just got a sleek retail facelift with the new Hale‘iwa Store Lots near Matsumoto Shave Ice. The strip includes stores carrying surf wear to artwork, and front and center is Guava Shop, right on Kamehameha Highway.
Owners Kai Cost and Liz Lerner originally opened their boutique in 2008, but moved locations this past winter, expanding its offerings in the process. That means you can now stock up on items that include handmade soaps from My Mānoa, darling Mikoh bikinis and special Guava-exclusive pieces from Hawai‘i designers, including bright baubles from CSmith Jewelry and sassy, tropical pouches from Samudra.
The biggest news: the launch of the Guava team’s very own clothing label, Pon Pon. Blending urban and beach chic, the ladies went a colorful, resort-wear route with dyes applied using a kaleidoscopic shibori technique. Tunics in effortless cuts, flowing sundresses born for the beach and jumpsuits perfect for springtime romping pop in vibrant shades of chartreuse, hot pink and balmy blue.
Guava Shop, 66-111 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 204, 637-9670