Alfred Shaheen Brings Aloha Friday to Bishop Museum

It was Aloha Friday at Bishop Museum. docents were needed so I volunteered. Helping out at these affairs is always a treat. I know the Museum appreciates docents being there but I so appreciate being able to see openings of special exhibits first hand also. It’s a win, win situation.

This evenings event was the opening of the Alfred Shaheen collection exhibit. When I think of Aloha Wear I’m inadvertently thinking Alfred Shaheen.

This is one of Shaheen’s tunics. He produced all his prints here in the islands and made his own cloth. He sent his textile artist  to the Bishop museum  to  get ideas from the ancient Hawaiian Kapa cloth designs.He also supplied them with rare  books of native Hawaiian Prints.  He wanted to keep the theme of the islands  in his cloth production. (Hi Fashion, “The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen” pamphlet)

Many a time I’ve been at the department store asking for dresses that are along these lines not knowing that it was Shaheen,s styles I was thinking of.

Of course you can’t find such sundresses or mu’us anymore. In fact your lucky if you can find a sundress period. And this is Hawaii. What else would you wear.

I guess I will have to haunt the used clothing stores now if I want to find anything like these. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to wear these fitted styles so it is probably best there not around  anyway. I would only feel miserable trying to fit into them.

Elvis Presley wore Shaheen in the move “Blue Hawaii.”

Oh for the good old days.

Shaheen was at the height of his popularity during the 50’s and 60’s. I came to the islands in the 60’s and that is probably why I would love to have these dresses. The older I get the more I long for things from the past.

Yes at one period in time I was able to wear dresses like this. And what’s more I did not look out-of-place. I still wear Mu’u mu’us but they are the full ones and only at the museum because, unfortunately, nobody wears them anymore. Too bad.

A month of Aloha Fridays can be taken care of by all these Aloha Shirts. Casual Fridays are still popular among the male office workers.

Next week will be the Shaheen fashion show. I’ll be working then too. Can’t wait. If you have the chance to come down to the museum the exhibit will be at the Castle Memorial building until February 13 4, 2013. Aloha


15 comments on “Alfred Shaheen Brings Aloha Friday to Bishop Museum

  1. unclerave says:

    You should look up my step-son, Manny Pangilinan. He lives in Honolulu, with his wife and little boy. He’s an artist/carpenter/skateboarder, who surfs almost every day.


  2. Sartenada says:

    Great post. All those dresses are so colorful and beautiful.


  3. Leah says:

    Also – if you will be attending the fashion show this Saturday at the Bishop Museum, there will be a silent auction where you’ll be able to purchase original Alfred Shaheen works. The jewelry the live silent auction models will be wearing were made specifically for each of the outfits and will be gifted to whoever wins the silent auction item.


  4. Linda says:

    Marvelous posting, mahalo! Shaheen really captured the flavor of the times.


  5. Velta Maes says:

    Very pretty, Honey. I miss the old days too. Love you, Aunt Velta



  6. megtraveling says:

    This is a fantastic exhibit and I’m really glad you took pictures of the beautiful fabrics and designs!


  7. The prints and the dresses are wonderful, Karen. It is a big shame if you can’t find dresses or other cloths with typical hawaiian prints anymore. I would, but we don’t have the right climate….


    • We have the aloha print but the clothing is made in polyester and it is horrendous. You see them at Wal-mart and K-Mart everywhere you look and unfortunately a lot of tourist buy them so they will always be in supply. I think the problem today is no one stands behind their product. Everything is made by a corporation and there is no Face to stand behind the item to say “I’m proud of what I have made.” Those days are gone.


  8. I love those dress designs and the fabrics are beautiful, the fitted style and brighter colours are quite popular in Queensland – perfect for our sunny climate. Blue Hawaii is one of my favourite Elvis movies, the dresses worn by the actresses were so pretty, I often wish that we could go back to the beautiful clothing of earlier eras.


    • I’m with you on that. I think the only option I have is to hunt down the old patterns and have a dress maker sew them for me. But then I would have to hunt down a person who could put me through a time machine so that I would be thin enough to wear them 🙂 Thank you for looking in.


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