By Jay Jones
7:45 AM PST, January 21, 2013
Visitors to Oahu who realize there’s more to island clothing than swimsuits and flip-flops may enjoy a visit to Honolulu’s Bishop Museum, where an exhibition titled HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen has been extended until Feb. 25.
Shaheen is credited with elevating the Hawaiian shirt from kitsch to chic. After training as an aeronautical engineer and flying 85 missions during World War II, he spent about four decades designing colorful textiles that were then manufactured in his Honolulu factory.
The exhibit features more than 200 pieces of clothing created by Shaheen, including a variety of aloha shirts and his famous Hawaiian Bombshell Dress. Archival photos and ads help explain how his fabrics were conceptualized and, ultimately, marketed to enthusiastic customers worldwide.
There’s also space in the 5,000-square-foot gallery devoted to creative talents who’ve been inspired by Shaheen. Recently added to the collection is a dress designed by Andy South, a Hawaii native and finalist from Season 8 of TV’s “Project Runway.”
“There is a connective thread stemming from myself to Shaheen,” South said in a news release. “It is through his stubbornness to remain in Hawaii that I realized we are so alike.
“Our culture tells us to learn from our past to guide us into our future and it is in knowing that it has been done before that I am sure it will happen again."
The Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St., Honolulu), founded in 1889, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Admission is $19.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors (65 and older) and $14.95 for youth (ages 4-12).
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