Fashion enthusiasts gathered outside the Christian Dior boutique at Ala Moana Center for the U.S. debut of Dior's Spring/Summer collection.

World Festival satisfies
passion for fashion

For the second year, the fall's French Festival failed to materialize, but to compensate, Ala Moana Center initiated its World Festival, an event that embraced its high-end French retailers, bringing in their Italian, British and American sisters.

Highlights of the week-long celebration -- featuring fashion shows, exhibitions, makeup demonstrations, and introductions of limited-edition accessories -- included a display of celebrity garments created by Celine and Saturday's U.S. debut of Christian Dior's spring/summer trunk show. Only a lucky few were invited into the store after a past event caused crowds to push the store's glass walls outward, a bubble waiting to burst. Dior's staff took no chances this time around.

Doors were nevertheless opened to crowds gathered outside, and cheers went up when Japanese supermodel Kanda Uno strolled onto a small outdoor stage, her every move followed by local and Japan camera crews.

Shown was a sporty and sizzling -- we expect no less of designer John Galliano -- collection of cropped logo vests and jackets, paired with ruched logo hot pants, plus wisps of feminine, bias-cut dresses.

The week ended with Ala Moana Red Party Sunday night.

About 1,800 guests paid $100 each to shop while sampling culinary treats from the likes of Longhi's and Chai's Island Bistro, and sipping champagne -- perhaps the best served up by Prada, with its touch of peach -- and participating in silent auctions for the likes of Bulgari watches, a red-feathered purse from Valentino and rhinestone-studded shades from Escada, where a dessert buffet was set up.

But mostly it was an evening for people-watching, with guests invited to sport a spot of red and trying to outdo one another in glam. Perhaps none stood out more than Neiman Marcus' creative director, Douglas Jago, who wore a floor-length kimono over Chinese pajamas, his shaven head crowned by a red crochet cap.

Chanel's Crosiere Collection features fresh fruity colors and an ice-cream cone motif.

Chanel's Croisiere
gets its night, too

Not to be outdone, Chanel staged a theatrical event of its own Friday night with a showing of its Croisiere collection at 2100 Kalakaua.

Afterward, guests were whisked to the Blaisdell Concert Hall via limo to enjoy a Honolulu Symphony concert, with Christopher Wilkins conducting the orchestra's performance of Debussy's "La Mer" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade."

Traditionally, Croisiere collections are an invitation to travel, and it's easy to get into escape mode in fresh sorbet colors -- lemons, melons and pistachios -- that appear in tweed jackets and diaphanous chiffon blouson tops.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld added a whimsical touch to the collection with an ice-cream cone motif that appears as a print on a crepe de chine dress, to embroidery fronting a lacy T-shirt, as if to suggest we should not take fashion too seriously!

Imagine that!

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