Manaola, a culturally conscious Hawaiian luxury brand, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2018 with an opening number that promised the audience a show they had never experienced before. Manaola opened their show with a cultural protocol in Hawai’i, known as an ‘oli’ and a traditional hula kahiko which left the audience captivated and intrigued.
With an opening celebrating Hawaiian culture and the beauty of cultural connection, Manaola delivered a collection that showcased the beauty of Hawaiian storytelling through patterns and modern cuts which flowed seamlessly from one design to the next. Kōlani, the name of the collection meaning, “belonging to the heavenly ones”, was specifically designed for what designer Manaola Yap felt the modern monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawai’i would have been adorned in when traveling the globe or out on daily excursions.
In this collection, Manaola brings rich texture and gorgeous color center stage and allows the bold waves of gold and contrasting dark hues to play off each other in perfect harmony. The soundtrack for the show added an even more modern yet mysterious touch to the brand as the audience appeared deep in thought and in awe at pieces coming down the runway, one by one.
Traditional Hawaiian motifs adorn many pieces in the collection but the modern cuts and silhouettes keep the patterns from becoming mundane or repetitive. Manaola utilizes the gold and black and different body shapes to keep things from getting lost into the next piece. It is with hopes that in Manaola’s next collection there will be more use of color so that there is more personality to share of the young emerging brand. We look forward to reporting more on this budding brand and am excited to witness more beautiful art on such a major platform from a Pacific Island designer and fashion brand.
This is the breakdown of the collection per Manaola’s website:
Twenty-four women’s couture looks.
Nineteen models from Hawaii.
Fifteen men’s couture looks.
Three exclusive new prints.
Two crowd-pleasing dramatic trains.
One new finale dress.
You can find their blog on the revamped collection for NYFW here.