CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Alyssa Fukumoto wears a white strapless, silver-patterned dress from BCBG, $320, with an Eve necklace, $118, while Michael Forgue, also a Radford junior, wears a gray Parisian suit with framed peak lapel, Aries platinum vest, black tone-on-tone shadow-striped dress shirt, slider tie and dress shoes, all from Celebrity Tuxedos, renting for $216.
Classier styles infiltrate prom selections
In spite of school administrators' fears about prom dressing, trends toward more refinement in apparel are carrying over into younger categories.
"If you look at what's on our mannequins, there's not a lot of exposed styles," said Yenlinh Tran, manager of the BCBG store at Ala Moana Center.
What's shown is a mix of colorful and pretty dresses in colors and A-line styles with flowing skirts that recall Paris of the 1950s.
Although there are several strapless styles, straight empire bodies are made to reveal very little cleavage.
Other dresses are in muted tans, white-grays and basic black and white.
Whereas in the past, prom dresses looked like prom dresses, meant to be worn only once, today's savvier shoppers are looking for better fabrics, and designs are made to look like chic cocktail dresses that can be worn even after prom-night memories fade.
The prospective of multiple uses could be one reason parents continue to foot the bill for ever-more extravagant dresses.
"Moms come in and won't blink an eye at spending $700 on their kids," Tran said. "Our prom dresses run about $300 to $400, and those from our runway collection are $400 to $700, and they buy the purse and shoes to match."
She said that many times, the girls are primarily shopping for color first because they want to match what their dates are wearing.
"I think the boys are making the decision, not the girls. You would think it was the opposite," Tran said. "That won't happen when they get older."
FOR BOYS, tuxedoes and jackets also bear a more sophisticated look, with the return of the classic peak lapel to the red carpets at the Academy and Grammy Awards.
"Some boys won't look at anything else but designer labels," said Toni Akana-Nickens, director of marketing at Celebrity Tuxedos.
Situated in Sears stores at Pearlridge Center, Windward Mall and Ala Moana Center, Celebrity doesn't have the kind of space that would allow the company to exhibit all its offerings, and Akana-Nickens said because of this, "Many teens don't see what they like on the mannequins and think that's all there is."
If they looked harder they would find fabric swatches for vests in every color to match what their dates are wearing, from citrusy orange to lime green, to more formal deep purples and blackened reds.
"Everything here is mix and match, so we want boys to get creative. We want to see something that expresses their personality. We don't want them to wear what their daddy or grandpa wore.
"We have the most fun with the ones going stag because they're not confined to what their date is wearing."
Rental packages at Celebrity start at $39.95 for selected styles, and $10 of each rental is donated to the host school's Project Graduation.
At the lowest rates, there's always a risk of items being unavailable if prom-goers wait too long to make a reservation.
"They don't realize that there may be 10 or 11 proms going on at the same time, so they're competing with hundreds of other kids," Akana-Nickens said.
Renting a tux is still the best option for young men, even at a cost of $200, because to buy a similar outfit would mean spending $1,500 to $2,000, and practically speaking, Akana-Nickens said, "In Hawaii, men wear a tux twice in their life, prom and when they get married. They go in and out of style, so why do it?"
Prom Fashion Show:
Presented by Sassy/G magazine, featuring the latest in prom wear, prize giveaways and entertainment by Barefoot Samurai:
Ala Moana Centerstage
» Date and time:
Noon to 12:45 p.m. Sunday
"Promeire" Dress Drive: Donations of dresses, shoes and accessories will assist low-income students in need of formalwear:
» Place: Ward Theatres 16, 1044 Auahi St.
» Date and time: 7:30 p.m. April 10, prior to an advance screening of "Prom Night"
Duck! A sticky contest offers cash scholarships
Duck brand duct tape is presenting its eighth "Stuck at Prom" scholarship contest, daring students to get creative by designing one-of-a-kind prom outfits with duct tape.
The public will be able to vote for their favorite outfits online, and the guy and gal receiving the first-place title will receive $3,000 each in cash scholarships for college. The host high school will also receive $3,000.
Second-place winners will each receive a $2,000 college scholarship, with $2,000 going to the school. Third place is $1,000 each in scholarships and $1,000 for the school.
Last year's winners, Adrienne Beiler and Zac Cupler, outdid more than 180 couples from 43 states and three Canadian provinces. Beiler's Southern belle three-piece dress weighed 25 pounds and included a hoop skirt with multiple layers of colored duct tape and textured flowers.
Visit www.stuckatprom.com for rules and a registration form. Deadline is June 11. All accepted entries, including those from past years, can be viewed at the Web site.
The 10 finalist couples will be chosen by a panel of judges, based on five criteria: workmanship, originality, use of color, accessories and quantity of duct tape used.
Then it's up to the public vote, which runs June 13 to 29. Winners will be announced on or around July 1.
Last year's "Stuck at Prom" winners were Adrienne Beiler and Zac Cupler of Salisbury-Elk Lick High School in Pennsylvania.
Second-place winners were Jake Loviska and Ellen Jarl, of Hackett Catholic Central High School in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The third-place finishers were Zoe Watson and Gregory Tunstall, of Durham School of the Arts in Durham, N.C.