The local clothing company will stage a trunk show tomorrow, and will be part of the Cherry Blossom fashion show Sunday.

Slither in

Fighting Eel will launch its spring/summer 2004 collection "Coconut Girl in a Couture World" with a launch party and trunk show from 7:30 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Indigo Restaurant, 1121 Nuuanu Ave.

Whimsical applique patterns turn up in garments created by Fighting Eel.

The home-based line by local designers Rona Marie and Lan Chung includes hand-embellished tops bearing stylized Hawaiian designs, bias-cut skirts and culottes that fit the modern woman who wants a feminine look with a sporty edge for her fast-paced, active lifestyle.

Fighting Eel designs offer effortless style through lightweight, easy-care fabrics that skim the body for great comfort and fit.

There will be complimentary champagne at the event and a drawing for a free outfit. For those who wish to purchase garments, payments will be by cash or check only.

And in case you miss the show, Fighting Eel designs can be found at Pink C at the Ward Entertainment Center and Shasa Emporium at Kahala Mall.

Show 'From the Heart'

It's a Fighting Eel kind of weekend, as the designers will also be among several local designers staging the Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce Cherry Blossom Festival Fashion Show Sunday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballrooms.

Also featured in the show, called "Fashions From the Heart," will be new designs by Flashwear Hawaii, Laha'ole Lima, Mamo Howell, Montsuki, an exclusive showing of the new Cinnamon Girl dresses, not yet released in stores, and a wedding gown finale with designs by Anne Namba.

The event begins with a 10 a.m. craft fair, followed by lunch at 11:30 a.m. and the fashion show at 12:30 p.m.

During the show, Watabe Weddings will give a dressing demonstration of the "furisode" kimono (formal kimono for single women) and obi.

Emceeing the event is former Miss Hawaii Traci Toguchi and former Sen. Matt Matsunaga. The reigning 51st Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court will make an appearance, along with the 14 contestants for queen of the 52nd festival. Opening the show will be a dance performance by the Young Okinawans of Hawaii.

Tickets are $45 for ramp-side seats and $35 for all other seating, including lunch. Self-parking is available in the Hilton garage for $3.50 with validation. For tickets or for more information, call 949-2255.

Calling all brides

Neiman Marcus Ala Moana will host its annual Wedding Event from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. The event will feature the NM bridal registry, as well as the latest fashions for the bridal party.

Vendors from wedding-related services will be on site to answer any questions brides may have for their special day. Participating vendors include Aveda Salon for hair and bridal spa packages, Florist Grand Inc., Cake Couture, Elite Limousine Services, La-Vie Bridal for photography, Mariposa restaurant and Pacific Rim Weddings magazine. There will be opportunities to win gift certificates from the vendors.

Brides can also attend seminars on wedding-related topics such as how to select a diamond, tips on makeup for wedding photography, how to select items for a bridal registry, how to dress and accessorize groomsmen, and even a champagne seminar and tasting by NM sommelier Marcus Phillip-Brown.

Sensual sweethearts

Those preparing for Valentine's Day romance might check out a show of feather bra designs by Marybeth Jenkins at Sensually Yours' "Sweetheart Fashion Showcase."

The event takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the lingerie shop at 1130 N. Nimitz Highway. Call 599-1655 for details.


Improvise creativity with Alan Arkin

Veteran stage, screen and television actor Alan Arkin, also a founding member of the famed Second City improvisational troupe, will lead a discussion at 7 p.m. tomorrow on the art of improvisation, the actor's craft and the application of theater techniques to life at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa as part of the Pacific New Media series of heightening creativity in our lives.

The talk will take place at the Art Department Auditorium. Admission will be $5 at the door.

The talk leads up to a 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday improvisation workshop at Krauss Hall Yukiyoshi Room, in which Arkin will teach exercises and free play will learn to understand and confront their attitudes and conceptions about communication, listening, teamwork and presentation anxiety.

"It's not about being clever or funny," says Arkin. "It's about exploring through simple non-threatening exercises how to make deeper contact with your creative force and be spontaneous with parts of yourself that you didn't know you had."

Participants will learn how to react more fully in the moment, which is not only useful on stage, but in the broader theater of life.

The cost of the workshop is $250. Register by 956-8400, and mentioning the registration code L06659.

Turn creative passions into winning works

Should love fan the flames of creativity, turn your attention to a couple of contests built around the blessed Valentine's Day, Feb. 14:

>> Nohea Gallery is sponsoring its third annual Valentine's Day Haiku Writing Contest.

Haiku, a poetry form that originated in Japan, is usually written in three lines with a per-line syllable count of five-seven-five. Written in present tense, the poem captures emotions by connecting two or more images in a fresh way.

One prize-winning entry from two years ago is Antoinette Papa's "My own obsession / I cannot tell anyone / the choc'lates are gone."

A first prize of a $50 gift certificate and second prize of a cast-glass heart will be awarded in the categories of "Most Romantic," "Most Humorous" and "17 and Younger."

Entries are due at Nohea Gallery Ward Warehouse or Ward Centre locations by 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11. Include your name, address and day and evening phone numbers. Only G-rated entries will be accepted.

For more information, call 596-0074.

>> The Waipio Gentry Shopping Center is sponsoring its annual Valentine Card Contest for kids in age categories of "Under 7," "7 to 12" and "Over 12," with cards judged on being the "Most Creatively Beautiful."

All entries, along with an entry form, should be dropped off at any store in the complex by 10 a.m. Feb. 10.

Judging will take place at noon at Foodland.

There will be cash prizes of $50, $25 and $10 for the first, second and third place winners, respectively.

Winning cards will be posted at the Foodland store through Feb. 17. Remaining cards will be donated to St. Francis Medical Center West to be distributed to patients on Valentine's Day.

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