COURTESY MELIA CONRAD
Miss Hawaii USA Chanel Wise wears a Melia Conrad Palm Tankini (about $46 top, $42 pant). Look for Melia Conrad designs at Split Obsession, The Butik and Rafael in late April to early May. Advance orders will be taken at the O Lounge event and online at www.meliaconrad.com
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Making A Splash
Look for Melia Conrad designs at Split Obsession, The Butik and Rafael in late April to early May
YOU'D THINK, with the surge in Internet porn, that innocence is dead. But commiserating with friends and lamenting the growth of bare-all, tell-all culture would seem to indicate there is still some modesty left in the world.
That's what Marylea Conrad discovered in the process of creating her inaugural clothing line for Melia Conrad, a company she named after her infant daughter.
It was no surprise that what other women wanted were the same things she was looking for herself and not finding on the retail racks, including swimsuits that both cover and flatter for a rare combination of conservative and chic, and dresses versatile enough to go from beach to work or evening.
Featuring the launch of Melia Conrad, with Australian wine, pupu and door prizes. Benefits the Women's Fund of Hawaii:
Place: The O Lounge, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 22
Admission: $20 in advance, $22 at the door (first 50 who pay at the door receive a goodie bag)
RSVP: 497-8822 or 371-6118
On The Net: www.meliaconrad.com
The designs will be featured during a fashion show 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 22 at the O Lounge, with 25 percent of proceeds from sales benefiting the Women's Fund of Hawaii.
The Australian designer graduated in fashion and textile design from the University of Technology in Sydney in 2004, before moving here and working as a fashion writer while surveying the local scene.
"What I thought then was that the style here is skimpy and sporty," she said. "I still think that's what the market is and that the market is saturated. I still want to focus on the 18-to-35 market, with clothing that is more feminine, more conservative."
Even in the era of online and media exhibitionists, a majority of people feel more secure under wraps. Conrad knows what that's like, having given birth last fall.
"I wanted to go straight to the beach, but I couldn't. I created the tankini so women could still look good but not feel so self-conscious or feel so -- what we say in Australia -- mumsy, which is not so attractive."
Conrad searched for fabrics that don't bare more than you want, including a glossy white that is not see-through. Dresses are of cotton voile and other quality fabrics, and feature exclusive prints based on her photographs or illustrations by her father, a graphic artist who now lives in New Jersey, who is here helping with the launch of Melia.
Also available are bikini tops (about $44) with removable straps for those who don't like to see those tan lines, as well as bandeaus with gathers to assist the flat-chested. Tops also have removable cups for less or more coverage when you need it.
The bottoms, sold separately for about $46, "lean toward a Brazilian cut, but with a little more coverage so if you're going to a poolside barbecue, you can look sophisticated without being shy about what you're wearing."
COURTESY MELIA CONRAD
A Maile Fern maillot. Dresses range from about $80 to $120. CLICK FOR LARGE