Acid Dolls gets unleashed


POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Every year, the University of Hawaii college system graduates a dozen or more designers who are absorbed into the fashion machine. Only a handful ever make enough of an impact to leave me wondering, whatever happened to ... ?





        Red carpet gala and runway show with debut of Acid Dolls, accessories by Dee & Ricky, Glam Goddess contest reveal and performance by Mitsue:

» Place: Honolulu Design Center, 1250 Kapiolani Blvd.


» Time: 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 20, with after party to 2 a.m.


» Tickets: $25 general; $35 preferred (standing, with admission to VIP Sunset Terrace Party with food by Stage); $45 VIP (runway seating for show, with admission to VIP Sunset Terrace Party). Tickets include admission to the after party for 21 and older. Tickets before after party alone are $10 presale, $15 at the door.


» Details: www.pancistyle.com or www.aciddolls.com




One of those I've been waiting to see break through was 2003 graduate Cindy King. It looks like she's finally ready, having re-partnered with her classmate Crystal Pancipanci of Panci Style to unveil their Acid Dolls Spring/Summer 2010 collection at Honolulu Design Center next Thursday.

During a shoe preview Sunday, I asked King, “;What took you so long?”;

Where most designers, small and large, are content to start with clothing, expecting to branch out to accessories and licensing their brand later, King just didn't believe in diluting her vision.

“;I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, so I know how hard it is to run a business, and I wanted to do it right,”; she said. “;If I didn't grow up around entrepreneurs, I would just be putting individual pieces out here and there, but for me, I want to have everything together—clothes, jewelry and shoes—because I want people to see it and get the concept.

“;I'm very into dressing up and getting dolled up. There's an edge to every piece so you can put on our clothes and look strong, cute and edgy, without looking like you're trying too hard.”;

Taking her cue from trends in Asia and Japan, King said there's a combination of sophistication and playfulness in dressing there that she misses when she's in Honolulu, and “;unleashing the cuteness”; is what she aims to do in her Acid Dolls designs.

The collection brings King and Pancipanci together in familiar roles. “;We met in a production class at UH and always wanted to work together,”; Pancipanci said.

At the time King was creating handmade tops, skirts and dresses under the Acid Dolls label, and Pancipanci took charge of representing and styling the brand. But with her international ambitions, King didn't want to be stuck in a D.I.Y. mode.

The rebranding of Acid Dolls has taken five years to achieve, but the duo believes they're ready. The launch next Thursday will feature 30 pieces in three themed collections: “;Candyland,”; “;Nautical”; and “;Glam Doll,”; reflecting three facets of women's personalities, from the playful to glamorous.

King also said she plans to sell limited quantities and work with retailers to create exclusive collaborations while avoiding overexposure, a sure path to becoming yesterday's has-been brand.

“;I don't want to be a fad,”; she said. “;I always want to have fresh product and I want it to be a lifelong project, so when I'm 80 years old it'll still be growing with me.”;