Marie Jane Lomboy, left, Sylvie Long, Marie Grace Lomboy, Connie Peng and Phung Duong line up on the Hawaii Theatre stage in gowns to be modeled Saturday. Nathan Sagaysay, below, adjusts the skirt on Long's dress, which is one of his designs.

Formal Affair

Student designers prove they
know how to party at their
annual fashion show

Phung Duong grew up dreaming about becoming a princess, and while she has yet to meet her prince, she can at least dress the part.

"I like clothes that grab attention, and nothing beats a beautiful gown. When I put on a gown, I feel like all eyes are on me," she said.

'Red Carpet'

Honolulu Community College annual fashion show:

On stage: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Place: Hilton Hawaiian Village, Coral Ballroom

Admission: $30, includes lunch

Call: Joy Nagaue at 845-9203 or Tara Chanel at 945-3594

She figures every woman wants to feel special as well, so enjoys creating garments to make each wearer stand out from the crowd, with rhinestones and frills.

"The first 11 years of my life, I was surrounded by a lot of people who know how to sew," she said. Her mom made all her school uniforms by hand when she was growing up in Vietnam, so that even then, "I had many fun and stylish uniforms."

Duong's garments fit the "Red Carpet" theme of Honolulu Community College's annual fashion show Saturday. Although a highlight will be cocktail and party wear in keeping with the show's theme, the students will show their versatility with undercover (swimwear and bustier) and bazaar (creative) segments spotlighting the graduating seniors.

Making a career choice came easily for Duong, but others took a more circuitous route, demonstrating their diverse backgrounds even as they pursued the same goal.

Nathan Jay Sagaysay fell into design by accident, saying the stage was his first passion.

"As a kid, I was very expressive and creative but very introverted."

In high school, Sagaysay joined his school's drama club and with the help of some "quirky friends" was able to emerge from his shell.

"We built our own sets and made our own costumes," he said. "I got into costumes. I liked making something out of nothing. I put my heart and soul into it."

He became head costumer, and his love of dress didn't stop with the stage. "I became a fashion fanatic and started watching 'Fashion Trance' on the Style channel religiously."

As for his own style, "I draw my inspiration from a lot of things. It has a vintage cabaret kind of feel. Absolutely Britney Spears."

Marie Grace Lomboy, left, and twin sister Marie Jane are reflected in the dressing room mirror wearing dresses designed by Connie Peng.

Marie Grace Manuel's creations will also be paraded down the runway, which is a long way from the office setting she once envisioned for herself.

"I wanted to become a lawyer or a psychologist," she said, then thought far into the future and opted for a "fun" career that would bring her more fulfillment. As it turned out, drafting classes were in her comfort zone, even though she felt out of place at the sewing machine. Even so, she said she's pleased with her progress and hopes to eventually have her own clothing line.

On the other hand, Connie Peng, who was raised in Hong Kong, was no stranger to sewing machines.

"Sewing factories were the most popular business in my hometown," she said.

Her parents retired when she was 17, and her two older sisters married. To help with the finances, she quit high school and got a job at a sewing factory. "I was willing to learn everything they taught me and learned to sew all different styles of garments there."

She came to Hawaii at age 19 and got a job as a seamstress while she learned to speak English. All her hard work paid off. She is now working on her own collection of prom dresses, many made from white crepe satin that might be the envy of any bride.

"White is always in style," she said while describing her creations, with removable petticoats and straps. "They are high-quality, elegant, changeable and comfortable."

Peng also makes gowns for her daughter's piano recitals, and considers herself fortunate to be able to attend school.

"I would not have been able to continue school if I was in China. In America there are many more opportunities. It's never too late in life to achieve our goals. I am a good example of a simple seamstress working to become a fashion designer."



Thrifty looks

KITV's Mahealani Richardson will be among the models at the Salvation Army's annual fashion show Saturday.

The Salvation Army will stage its annual celebrity fashion show Saturday at the Sheraton Waikiki.

On view will be stylish pre-owned business, casual, aloha and formal wear modeled by such local celebs and socialites as Cathy Foy, Narcissus Queen Darah Dung, Cherry Blossom Queen Brooke Hasegawa and Vivian Aiona, wife of Lt. Gov. "Duke" Aiona. There will also be several TV news personalities, and KUMU Radio public service director Jessica Lani Rich will emcee.

A fashion boutique for last-minute Mother's Day shopping will open at 9 a.m., with the lunch and fashion show at 11:30 a.m. Thrift fashions at bargain prices will be sold at a boutique in the lobby.

Proceeds from the event, sponsored by the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary of Honolulu, will benefit Salvation Army programs for families in need.

Tickets are $50 ($20 tax deductible). Call Natalie Iaulualo at 440-1859.

Fekkai returns

Style icon Frederic Fekkai returns to Neiman Marcus, Ala Moana, to consult with customers on hair and beauty during hour-long sessions tomorrow and Saturday.

Tomorrow's times are 11 a.m. and 1, 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday's times are 10 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m.

Appointments can be made by calling 948-7390.

E-mail to Features Desk


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