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Walking down Memory Lane with SOS, Halekulani, Chanel


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POSTED: Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there ... It was a walk down memory lane for me this week with the Society of Seven marking its 40th anniversary at the Outrigger's showroom, the “;new”; Halekulani celebrating its 25th year, and Chanel also celebrating a quarter-century in Honolulu. I started covering the SOS in the late 1967 when the group was performing in the Ilikai's Hong Kong Junk and was known as the Fabulous Echoes. It included Tony Ruivivar, the leader, his late brother, Danny, Bert Sagum and the late Terry Lucido. They were so good they were invited to perform on the “;Ed Sullivan Show”; in the mid-1960s, the top variety entertainment show on TV in the U.S. The group first appeared here at Betty Reilly's Copacabana in Waikiki before going to the Ilikai. In reviewing this group, it was not a question of whether a new show would be good or bad—they were always good—it was whether the new show would be better than the previous one ...

Chanel in Honolulu is marking its 25th anniversary in Honolulu with an exhibition of photographs of Coco Chanel by photographer Douglas Kirkland. The exhibition, open to the public today to June 6, will be displayed in Chanel's third-floor VIP Salon on Kalakaua Avenue. Joyce Okano has been the regional VP for Chanel here for its entire 25 years, no small accomplishment. She is the mother of Kenna, 18, Remy, 21, and Mariko Reed, 24, all born while she was taking care of business. Another major accomplishment. “;It has been so special to have been a part of the very first Chanel boutique in the United States from the beginning, and to celebrate the 25th anniversary today,”; Joyce said Thursday. “;I am proud to be a part of such an exciting brand”; ...

The Halekulani has long been a favorite spot for kamaaina, particularly the House Without a Key, with its beachfront setting and remarkable views of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and the sunset. Before it was rebuilt, little cottages ran along the entrance driveway; there was a showroom fronting the main restaurant where Hilo Hattie performed, and Ethel Kaaihue had a shop there packed with Hawaiian crafts. The groundbreaking for the Halekulani as it is today brings back fond memories. Robert Burns and his Regent International team, which included Georg Rafael, were on hand. Regent had much to do with the rebuilding and early management of the hotel. My late wife, Brita, who was from Germany, her best gal pal also from Germany, Traudel Hildebrand, and I attended. We met executives of the Japanese company that owned the hotel and learned that a couple of them had either worked or studied in Germany. As the party went on, the frau and Traudel sang a few German songs with those Japanese men, in German, of course. What fun that was. It was karaoke before I ever knew what the word meant ...

Chef Liang Shu Neng, famous for his delicate Cantonese cuisine at Okura Hotel Tokyo's Toh-Ka-Lin Restaurant, will be preparing many of his dishes for dinner in Hoku's at the Kahala from 5:30 to 10 p.m. tomorrow through May 16, and for the Mother's Day brunch buffet in the Maile Ballroom tomorrow ...