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Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Tony & Tina is a conceptual art project and the design
of its products, such as the hair wands shown, reflect
the company's aesthetic. The wands, used to apply
streaks of color, are about $15 each.

Tony & Tina
founders beam
into Honolulu

By Cynthia Oi

Green, says Tony Gill, is not the color of money, but the color of the heart.

He and business partner Cristina Bornstein are founders of Tony & Tina, a cosmetics company with products that have captured the attention of the hip and trendy. At the center of their business is color and its power.

"It is common knowledge that color affects a person and emotions," Gill said in a telephone interview from New York. "So focusing on a certain color can help you through emotional barriers."

Gill and Bornstein will be in Honolulu this week to preach their colorful gospel. The two view their 4-year-old company not as a business, but as "a conceptual art project with the intention of expanding the use and understanding of vibrational remedies."

Those remedies include color therapy, aromatherapy and audio stimulation, Gill said.

"Colors have different frequencies that help your seven energy centers," or chakras, he said. These frequencies can be tuned to a person's chakras, he said.

"Say you wake up in the morning and have something important to do like a job interview. You're feeling lackluster. If you were to wear red, like in a nail polish, it will enhance your base chakra, your brain. It will introduce feelings of courage and drive.

"The right color can help you. Color can be used as a massive key to open up the right things in you," he said.

Gill said Tony & Tina started out with nail polish, but the company now produces a complete line of beauty products, from cleansers to face glitters.

Each product, he said, has therapeutic as well as cosmetic merits, and colors are assigned names that reflect these values. For example, "Mood Balance Lipsticks" come in "Centered," a gloss mauve that "helps you focus on your inner spirit," while "Liberated," a hot pink, "promotes the confidence to be free spirited," according to the company catalog.

"A lot of people say they are addicted to our lipstick," Gill said, because it works as an antidepressant with its blend of lavender, bergamot, rose water, rosemary and St. John's Wort. "It lifts your spirit," he said.

Some may look askance at the company's formulations and concepts, but Gill is confident in the powers of color, aroma and sound.

"A smell can make you sick," he said. "A smell can make you well. A new color can give you a new look, a new feeling about yourself."

Green is the color that ties into the heart chakra, he said.

"The heart controls compassion, self love and the love of others. If you were to wear green clothes, sleep in a green room, have green sheets, it would give your body the correct frequency to address those heart powers.

"Focusing on green gives you the way to clear obstacles and your fears."

The London-born Gill moved to the United States five years ago.

"America is ambrosia," he raved. "It is like a TV show -- a lot more plot and story in life than in England. In England, you'll have an idea and everyone will say 'great, good luck.'

"In America, people say 'I know someone who can help you. Let me give you their phone number.'

"And New York. New York is the place to do stuff. There is such opportunity," he said, opportunity to take a philosophy and parlay it into a business that drew $6 million in sales this year.

Maybe green is the color of money.

What color are
your chakras?

Bullet What: Tony & Tina color assessments and cosmetic makeovers
Bullet Places and times: 6 to 10 p.m. tomorrow at Liberty House Waikiki; noon to 4 p.m. Friday at LH-Ala Moana; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at LH-Pearlridge; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Sephora Ala Moana
Bullet Admission: Free
Bullet Call: Liberty House, 941-2345; Sephora, 944-9797

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