Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, October 21, 1999

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Summer Partlon, left, and her poodle wait patiently for
their turn on stage during a festival rehearsal last night,
but Bone Nthebolan's poodle just had to check out what
going on. The foursome will participate in the Royal
Hawaiian Shopping Center's fashion show and poodle
parade, part of tomorrow's array of activities.

French connection

Annual festival celebrates
France's culture, food and fashion

French Festival Events

By Stephanie Kendrick
Assistant Features Editor


Sure there's a crippling bureaucracy that makes it tough to do business, but you have to balance that against tourism revenue, loads of good food, an active arts community and ample outdoor recreation.

Sounds like home doesn't it? It also describes France.

The cultural and historical aspects of the Hawaii-France connection will come to the fore over the next two weeks as Oahu and Maui celebrate the third annual French Festival.

While the festival was conceived by Hawaii's luxury retail community as a showcase for French products, organizers also have used it as a vehicle to celebrate French culture.

In partnership with local arts organizations, the festival has brought in French artists and films, said Patricia Lee, Hawaii's honorary consul for France. The fashion houses have brought in artisans to demonstrate the manufacture of everything from leather goods to silk scarves.

And the local chapter of the international group Alliance Francaise has been a cultural partner, this year offering free mini-lessons to people interested in learning French.

Lee, who is from Hawaii and has a doctorate in French, said the connections between France and Hawaii go back to the time of the monarchy, which signed treaties with France and participated in cultural exchanges. "There are lots of interesting connections between France and Hawaii."

The famed 442nd, for example, was instrumental in the liberation of France. As a result Hawaii has a sister city in Bruyere, France.

The influence of French fashion in Hawaii also dates back to the monarchy, according to local choreographer Peter Rockford Espiritu, who is directing the festival kick-off at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center tomorrow.

The show celebrates fashion and music and will include performances by Melveen Leed, who recently returned to Hawaii after living in Tahiti; and a French Polynesian group called Te Vai Ura Nui. "People really get into the idea of the connection between the French and the Polynesian," said Espiritu. His goal was to bring those connections out in the show.

An enthusiasm for wine and food is also common to both Hawaii and France and the trend toward regional cuisine, in particular, is very French, according to Chef George Mavrothalassitis of Chef Mavro Restaurant.

"I believe only in regional cuisine," said Mavro, who used French techniques to prepare island ingredients at his King Street eatery.

Mavro was born in Marseilles in the south of France and returns there annually to visit family and friends. He recently took a business trip to the region and came back happy to deal with Hawaii's bureaucracy . "In this country, you work hard and get results," he said. "In France you work hard, you never get results. ... If you are not losing money, you are happy."

The warmth of the people and the climate in Provence also are reminiscent of Hawaii, said Mavro, as is the proximity of the ocean.

Water sports, particularly surfing, windsurfing and now kite surfing, are all popular in France. And the annual Biarritz Surf Festival, which took place earlier this month, draws many local surf champs.

This year's French Festival offers a range of opportunities for anyone interested in further exploring Hawaii's French connection.


French Festival Events


3 p.m. Aloha Tower
Festival kick-off. Bring two cans of food for the Hawaii Food Bank and park free. View a giant sculpture made of food cans and recycled items.

6 p.m. Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
Festival kick-off. Featuring a huge Eiffel Tower, multiple stages and a cascading staircase at the Fountain Courtyard for can-can and hula dancers; accordion and ukulele bands, fashion show, Poodle Parade, competition among schools to create unique Eiffel Towers.

7:30 p.m. Honolulu Academy of Arts
"The Dinner Game" (Le Diner de Cons). Classic French farce involves a dinner where each guest must bring a certifiable idiot -- with a prize for the most outlandish one!

8 p.m. The Hawaii Theatre Center
Momix dance performance. See story.


10 a.m. to noon, Pacific Beach Hotel
"French Fantasy of Flowers." Learn to make French-style floral arrangements. Free; seating limited to 75. For reservations, call 922-1233.

11 a.m.-1 p.m., Third floor of Ala Moana Center near Neiman Marcus
French for beginners. Alliance Francaise of Hawaii offers free mini-lessons.

Noon, 3 p.m. Sephora, Ala Moana
Makeup workshops

7:30 p.m. Honolulu Academy of Arts
"The Dinner Game" See Friday's listing.

8 p.m. The Hawaii Theatre Center
Momix dance performance. See story, D-1


Noon, 3 p.m. Sephora, Ala Moana
Make-up workshops.

4 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"The Dinner Game." See Friday's listing.

Monday, Oct. 25

5-9 p.m., Hermés
Leather demonstration. Alligator Kelly '32 bag will be made for the first time outside of Paris. This bag will be offered through a silent auction at the Oct. 30 Fashion Ball.

7:30 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"Beautopia." A look at the fashion industry from the perspective of novice models.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

5-9 p.m., Hermés
Leather demonstration. See Oct. 25 listing.

7:30 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"Beautopia." See Oct. 25 listing.

Wednesday, Oct. 27

9 a.m.-2 p.m., Halekulani
Le Cordon Bleu workshops. Patrick Martin, of Le Cordon Bleu and Yves Garnier of La Mer conduct cooking classes. Cost: $125, includes lunch. For reservations call 923-2311 or fax 922-5111.

5-9 p.m., Hermés
Leather demonstration. See Oct. 25 listing.

6 p.m., Hilton Hawaiian Village
"Everything You Wanted to Know About Champagne, But Were Afraid to Ask!" Call 947-7877 for reservations.

7:30 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"Beautopia." See Oct. 25 listing.

Thursday, Oct. 28

9 a.m.-2 p.m., Halekulani
Le Cordon Bleu workshops. See Oct. 27 listing.

5-9 p.m., Hermés
Leather demonstration.See Oct. 25 listing.

6 p.m., Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapa Bar
The Art of Home Winemaking. $20. For reservations, call 947-7874.

Friday, Oct. 29

9 a.m.-2 p.m., Halekulani
See Oct. 27 listing.

8 p.m., The Hawaii Theatre Center

Vienna Choir Boys. Perform a broad repertoire, from sacred music to operettas to international folk songs. Tickets: $20-40, call 528-0506

Saturday, Oct. 30

Noon, 2-5 p.m. Sephora, Ala Moana
Make-up workshops and Fashion Ball makeovers (limited attendance, by appointment only)

6:30 p.m., Hilton Hawaiian Village, Coral Ballrooms
Fashion presentation featuring haute couture collections of Chanel and Christian Dior, and prêt-à-porter collections of Hermès, Sonia Rykiel and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Black-tie attire. Music by Honolulu Symphony. Silent auction. A portion of the proceeds will go to The Honolulu Academy of Arts, The Hawaii Theatre Center, and The Contemporary Museum. Call: (877) THE-FEST.

8 p.m., The Hawaii Theatre Center
Vienna Boy Choir. See Oct. 29 listing.

Monday, Nov. 1

10 a.m.-8 p.m., Neiman Marcus
Jean-Paul Gaultier trunk show. Modeling, noon to 3 p.m.

7:30 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"Autumn Tale." The film (in French with subtitles) is the fourth and last in the series of love stories from master director Rohmer revolving around the seasons.

Tuesday, Nov. 2

7:30 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"Autumn Tale." See Nov. 1 listing.

Wednesday, Nov. 3

7:30 p.m., Honolulu Academy of Arts
"Autumn Tale." See Nov. 1 listing.

Thursday, Nov. 4

6 p.m. Hula Grill at Whalers Village
French Festival Wine Diner. A champagne tasting followed by French food and wine with chef Peter Merriman and guest chef George Mavrothalassitis of Oahu's Chef Mavro Restaurant. Cost: $65 Profits will benefit the Nature Conservancy. Call 667-6636 on Maui.

Ongoing events


Chanel runway model search, Oct. 22-29 with the winner featured at the Oct. 30 Fashion Ball.

Christian Dior
Exhibit of original couture jewelry sketches from the Paris studio and completed pieces.

Display of Parisian-inspired jewelry from new Paris nouvelle vague Cartier collection.

"A Glimpse of France," with traditional marionette show, face painting and more. Also, free make-over sessions by Givenchy and Christian Dior.


The Contemporary Museum
"Les Aveugles" (The Blind), a 23-part work by French conceptual artist/photographer Sophie Calle will be on view along with the collection of brooches that comprise "Brooching it Diplomatically: A Tribute to Madeleine K. Albright." Selections from the museum's collection will also be displayed during the festival.
Also, "Paysages electroniques: Video Works by Robert Cahen," one of France's foremost video artists. Call (808) 526-0232.

On Maui

Whalers Village
French landmarks made of sand, giant murals created by Maui's keiki. Also, food, tatoos, nail decal from a French designer; French cooking lessons from Maui chefs. Call (877) THE-FEST.

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calendars and events.

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