Discovering the Dressmakers of Maui

While ordering a plate lunch one day at Ohana Island Grindz in Makawao, we saw this map posted at the counter. It is Baldwin Avenue in Makawao town from October 27, 1931. If you look closely you can see there was a small dressmaker shop! From the map we believe it is where the Maui Cookie Lady’s shop is currently located. 

Below you can see where the dressmaker’s shop is:

From the map and the layout of town now, we think this shop is where it used to be:

We tried to dig up some more history about this little shop from the 1930s, but we couldn’t find anything. If someone has more information and would like to share with us, please get in touch with us! 

In our search, we did come across a dressmaker from back in the day named Helen T. Ikeoka. She was born in 1911 in Honolulu. She owned a retail shop in Wailuku with ready to wear infant and children’s clothing. She attended Tanabe Dressmaking School and graduated from the Hawaii Dressmakers’ Association. 

We love to discover some of the history of the past dressmakers here on Maui. Feel free to reach out if you have more information and would like to share it with us. We would love to know more!

Bridal Trends of 2022: Pleats

Pleats are becoming the latest trend in Bridal Fashion and Design. Many designers and brides are going towards pleats to add the details and textures their wedding gowns are missing. A fun style from the past making a return with a modern twist.

A brief history of pleating takes us back to ancient Egypt where this technique originated. The pleated fabric was used to decorate the garments of very high class, royal, or wealthy people. The pleats were all completed by hand and when the fabric was washed the pleats would come out, so the process would need to be repeated again and again each time. The demanding process of pleating fabric resulted in pleats becoming a symbol of power and wealth. 

In modern pleating, new techniques have been developed to keep pleats from washing out. ‘Permanent Pleats’ were created after World War II. By using chemicals and heat setting methods the pleats can continue to remain in a fabric. Ultimately, this new process has allowed pleating to become accessible to everyday people, not just royalty. 

At the atelier, we recently worked together with Bride Holly on a custom wedding gown. For now we can only share some behind-the-scenes photos but in the coming months we will share the final design. The bride was very interested in having a gown with pleating in it. We worked through several design ideas with her and settled on a silk organza to create the pleating.

We reached out to several pleating companies in Los Angeles to get samples made of the silk organza. We wanted to make sure that it was exactly what the Bride was looking for. We ordered a couple of 3 yard panels, one in an accordion pleat and the other in a sunburst pleat.  We all fell in love with the sunburst pleat, because it was so flexible in creating different shapes and designs. 

The JOA team then continued to work on the gown to create the Bride’s custom pleated wedding gown.  There was no way to do the traditional mockup process with cotton muslin on this dress.  So we ordered extra pleated panels to work with as the mockup. Below you can see some work-in-progress photos when we received the first round of pleated fabric and started draping it on the dress form. Stay tuned for more photos where we will reveal the final design of the wedding gown!

Fashion History: Art Deco & Erté

Paper dress by Jennifer Oberg. Commissioned by Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center.

I have always been inspired by the artist and designer, Erté. I love his designs so much! Two years ago, I was commissioned by the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center to create a paper dress for their end of the year, annual shopping extravaganza, Hui Holidays. Erté was my primary influence for creating this dress! Find out more about him below…

Born in 1892 in Russia, Romain de Tiroff, known as Erté designed his first dress for his mother at the age of five–a natural talent. Erté left Russia to go live in Paris with the aspirations of becoming a designer in 1910. He worked for Paul Poiret for a year before entering an esteemed illustration career. In 1915, he began his twenty year work relationship with Harper’s Baazar where the magazine included a color illustration by him every month. He created over 240 covers for the magazine! He went on to create entire wardrobes for theatres, screen actresses and Operas. He even created elaborate production designs at the Paris Opera, New York’s Radio City Music Hall and Casino de Paris. 

Erté’s work captured the art deco movement, which was known for having bold geometry, bright colors, order and glamour. Art deco was a very popular design style during the 1920s and 1930s. It drew inspiration from Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism, Bauhaus principles and the de Stijl movement. A significant amount of the architecture, design and art around the world is inspired by Art Deco. Architects Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey drew inspiration from Art Deco when designing the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Look around and see where you notice Art Deco influences in your towns or cities! What art movements and artists are you inspired by? Comment below!

Pictured are some photos of Erté’s work! Click here for more information about the paper dress I made for the Hui!