Nake’u Awai’s Always a Wow at Annual Pre-Merrie Monarch Fashion Show Benefit

Media Release:

Springtime on the Big Island means Easter, Merrie Monarch, and Nake‘u Awai’s annual Fashion Show Fundraiser, happening Saturday, April 23, 2011 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.   A benefit for Michael Pili Pang’s Hālau Hula Ka No‘eau and Hawaii Arts Ensemble, the luncheon-show is a stunning musical tribute to .Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Lili‘uokalani, and the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Sharon Goodman and Liana Aveiro

Doors open at 11:00 a.m. to give guests a chance to enjoy music by Meleana Manuel, lei-making and other crafts by the hālau, and to shop for Nake‘u signature aloha wear, rarely available away from his Honolulu studio.  The show begins at 12:45 p.m., following lunch.

Awai was inspired by Big Island author John Tanaka’s book, Aloha ‘Oe, The Song at Pier 10, about the Queen and her friendship with Heinrich Berger, Bandmaster.  “Picking up this novel, I was inspired to do the show,” said Awai.  “He writes beautifully.  And the scene where Berger is saying goodbye to friends and family in Europe, as he leaves to come to Hawai‘i, is wonderful.”  Tanaka will also attend the April 23 event for a reading and booksigning.

A distinctive designer of island fashion for over thirty years, Nake‘u Awai is well-known for his unique prints and flattering silhouettes for every body size and shape.  His annual spring productions have been described as part-Broadway, part runway—one-of-a-kind events that never fail to tell a story, using fashion, hula, history, music, both traditional and contemporary, and lots of surprises.

And because his entire “company” of models is composed of Big Island community folks, audiences love to come and applaud for talented friends and family, especially the men, according to Awai.  Veteran models Riley Smith, Wally Wong and second-year recruit Perry Kealoha take the stage with spirit, sporting Awai’s colorful aloha shirts, shorts and costumes with a special style all their own.

“Riley looks like Berger, so he will portray Berger,” said Awai.  “Besides the three men, there is a young man, Keaweiwi Pilaya, about 11 years old in this show.  He will duet with the Queen, after bringing her flowers from her garden while she is imprisoned within ‘Iolani Palace.”

An entertaining, festive occasion to celebrate the Saturday before Easter, “Duet with a Queen” invites groups of friends to join in a table and toast the Spring.  Tickets $50 at the door, $45 in advance.  Please contact hālau members, or Wendi Roehrig, Phone:  756-0823, [email protected].

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