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Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, June 1, 2000

Rick Bernico photo
Rayna models "Verdant Garden," a dress hand-
crocheted by Eve Miyasaki that sells for $1,500.

Cool crochet
makes a comeback

They're too pretty to have
been relegated to the
past forever

By Nadine Kam


ONCE a hippie chick, always a hippie chick. In the '60s and '70s, Eve Miyasaki lived in teeny weeny crochet bikinis she crafted by hand. Next thing you know, the whimsical designs went away with the smiley face, the fringed vest and hot pants. Such symbols of play had no place in the '80s, nicknamed the decade of greed.

Nevertheless, Miyasaki couldn't bear to part with her crochets. She packed them away in trunks knowing full well that the day of the padded suits would pass, and a new generation would grow up to appreciate the earthiness of crochets.

It took technology to drive us to this point of retreat. All that silicon and aluminum shine called for balance with the tactile and sublime.

And Miyasaki's suits, well, they've provided the inspiration for her Hawaiian Delights line of crocheted bikinis, hot pants, halters, micro mini skirts and bell-bottom pants. She'll be staging a fashion show at 9 p.m. Monday at Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.

"It was frustrating that they disappeared," Miyasaki said. "They were really cool for dancing. You could be covered up, totally legal, yet you had all these tiny holes for ventilation."

For those who can't be there, she has a Web site, but she insists the garments must be touched to be believed.

"You wouldn't believe something could be so light and still give coverage," she said. "I build a bra into the construction of the top so a woman who has had children can still wear them.

Rick Bernico photo
Model Heather wears a hand-crocheted "Lavanet"
dress by Eve Miyasaki. The dress sells for $1,500.

"They're also strong enough for active wear. I come from a surfing community, so these suits are designed for surfing, boogie-boarding. I have a friend who's a windsurfer and she ties it real tight but it lasted a year. Her (Lycra) OP suit lasted three months."

At the same time, the suits are "wonderfully feminine," Miyasaki said. "I like things to be feminine and pretty. I'm not comfortable wearing anything tomboyish."

She's even assigned her pieces such feminine names as "Moonbloom," "Bird of Paradise" and "Angel Wing."

Miyasaki said there was no market for crochets until about three months ago. That's when she started noticing Gucci and Chanel pieces, and a woman at Wildflowers suggested she revive some of her old designs.

Those designs have been revamped as well to appeal to '90s sensibilities. Thus the full-coverage bikini brief has given way to thongs, and whereas heavy threads were common in garments once imported from the Philippines, Miyasaki uses finer 5- to 8-gauge threads.

What's changed the most is the price of the garments. Miyasaki still makes all the pieces by hand, so prices reflect the artist's touch, starting at $100 for a bikini bra, $100 for a bikini bottom, $300 for hot pants and up to $1,500 for a dress.

In the '60s, Miyasaki would make and give love beads and bikinis to friends, or sell them for $5 to $8, basically the cost of the thread.

"Of course you can't charge your friends, but there was a communal feeling," she said. "Other people made things and gave them away, and with everyone giving things away, you never knew what you were going to get.

"It wouldn't work today."

Rick Bernico photo


Bullet What: Hawaiian Delights crochet apparel, with Capoeira Hawaii demonstration of dance martial art to live Afro-Brazilian music, prize giveaways and Hot Legs contest
Bullet When: 9 p.m. Monday
Bullet Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
Bullet Cost: $5 cover
Bullet Call: 589-1999

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