With MANAOLA’s NYFW debut still fresh in the minds of many, we are proud to announce and share the manaʻo behind one of the Kōlani Collection’s most prominent prints – Peʻahi Niu.


The Peʻahi Niu is a primitive print honoring the crescent-shaped Hawaiian fans reserved for Hawaiian royalty. Made of intricately woven coconut pandanus leaves, these fans are often depicted in lithographs by high-ranking monarchs for both practical and ornamental use. These native artifacts are now highly revered for their royal association and preserved in the likes of Hawaiʻi’s Bishop Museum, as well as a special collection of Peʻahi Niu in London’s British Museum.


Manaola pays homage to these heirlooms with an ethnographic print that blends his affection for Hawaiian traditions and modern fashion in unexpected formations.


For the Kōlani runway show at NYFW, Manaola showcased four variations on the Peʻahi Niu print, some in scaled sizes.


VARIATION 1: Scalloped (singular)


VARIATION 2: Side-by-side (multiple)


VARIATION 3: Scattered (multiple)


VARIATION 4: Flipped (Singular)


New York Fashion Week (NYFW) –  It’s the fashion event of the year where supermodels, fashion designers, and the highest authoritarians of the fashion world gather together to launch the season’s first week of Spring/Summer fashion collections. For Manaola and his team, showing the newly revealed Kōlani collection at NYFW marked the beginning of a new era– not only for the label, but for all designers, artisans, and other individuals currently working in the Hawaii fashion industry.


Let’s have a recap countdown of the show:


Thirty-nine looks.

Twenty-four women’s couture looks.

Nineteen models from Hawaii.

Fifteen men’s couture looks.

Three exclusive new prints.

Two crowd-pleasing dramatic trains.

One new finale dress.


[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”6″ gal_title=”Kōlani – NYFW 2018″]


You may watch the entire show below:

(Video courtesy of Hawaii News Now’s Facebook LIVE Stream.)


Hula Ready For Merrie Monarch

With mere weeks left until the Merrie Monarch Festival, our designer and  his ‘ohana ready Hālau Manaola for their second year of competition. For months they have dedicated themselves to rigorous practices under strict hula discipline to perfect their performances on the world-famous stage. Manaola shares his insights into the hālau’s hula regimen and what we can expect from the Kohala wāhine at the Merrie Monarch Festival 2017.

When did Merrie Monarch training begin for Hālau Manaola & how does it differ from routine practices throughout the year?
January started our 4-month training. The difference from routine practices are the content of the practices and that they are stricter, which require more commitment and conditioning.

How would you describe Hālau Manaola’s signature style?
Manea, an elevated style that requires dancers to tread on the ball of the feet. It comes from ‘Iolani Luahine and is evident in all of our dances.

What are the infamous Merrie Monarch “fact sheets”?
Fact sheets are one of the most important elements in explaining your presentation to the judging panel. Fact sheets give them insight to understanding the artistic vision of the kumu–the choreography, cadence, melody, chanting style, historical references (including maps and genealogy) as well as an explanation on costume and adornments. Fact sheet also help give the judges insight into the foot and hand gestures because kumu hula come from different traditions so it gives you an opportunity to explain what line of tradition the content of your presentation is coming from. Fact sheets can be 30+ pages which require months of research to compile.

What does kapu during Merrie Monarch mean to you?
Kapu during Merrie Monarch represents sacrifice and commitment, giving yourself completely to the dances and hālau. It also requires dancers to sustain their mana to its fullest capacity without any defilement–understanding your focus and making sure that your spiritual energy is at its purest, fullest potential. Things that help lessen distractions from the 
focus of hula are abstaining from are sexual contact, alcohol and specific foods like banana, he’e, kō (sugar cane) which also have double meanings. For example, he’e means to slip, so we avoid eating he’e during this time.

How does Hālau Manaola’s training differ from last year?
Every year has its own levels of discipline according to the mele, plot, dance style and content. This changes the training regimen to transform the womens physical, mental and spiritual body. They have gone through vigorous cardio workouts this year to build stamina as our mele is based the elements and is on a faster cadence than last year.

What inspired you and your mother (Kumu Nani) for the dancer’s mele this year?
The ‘auana is one of our favorite, classic songs that we love. In light of my tūtū’s (Mary Ann Lim) passing it is especially important to our ‘ohana that we honor her through these mele in our performances this year.

Photos by Vision Horse Media for The Wall Street Journal 2016

Style Spotlight: Hilo Jumpsuit

Debuted in November at Honolulu Fashion Week 2016, the Womens Hilo Jumpsuit is a flirtatious play on its namesake, Hilo, which means “to twist.” 

Made of soft crinkle rayon, the Hilo Jumpsuit offers incredible versatility as its gauzy fabric skims torso to flatter every figure. The extra-long straps can be twisted and tied in a variety of chic styles to accentuate the neckline (complete with complimentary bandeau) and allow for easy movement with a wide leg fit. Known for elegant Hawaiian formalwear, MANAOLA’s Hilo Jumpsuit is a signature staple in any culture conscious closet. 

Auē ke aloha nui ē…

Auē ke aloha nui ē…

On behalf of our MANAOLA ʻohana, we would like to extend our profound aloha to the Lim ʻohana on the passing of their beloved matriarch, tūtū Mary Ann Lim, who celebrated her 81st birthday last week.

We are so grateful to have been graced by her mana and inspired by her leadership as an icon in the Hawaiian music industry whose legacy continues through the extraordinary artistry of her ʻohana.

Lei Ana O Kohala is a beautiful mele written by Manaola for his grandmother and the fragrant puakenikeni blossoms that will forever remind us of her sweetness.

“Lei ana O Kohala I ka lei ha’aheo he lei ho’oheno nō.”
Kohala is adorned in its lei of pride the Puakenikeni, the lei indeed cherished by us all

The MANAOLA Lifestyle: Honoring Your Space

The MANAOLA Lifestyle

What does it mean to live the MANAOLA lifestyle, how can one do so?
To live the MANAOLA lifestyle is to learn to live in gratitude. Meaning to live life from the perspective of being thankful that life is given. Living a purposeful life and setting an intention in everything we do. Whether it is good or bad, making the realization of what is healthy for us and those that surround us and the energies that surround us, and how we can continue to make the intentions that do benefit us and all that surround us. That’s living the MANAOLA lifestyle, celebrating life. 

Honoring your space
I created home decor because I wanted to bring traditional elements into contemporary design through something that is organic. When you’re in your home you want it to look really cool but you want it to be relaxing and to be aesthetically stimulated by something familiar to the spirit, which is nature. Repetitious patterns in nature like ‘ohe kāpala do that for us, whether consciously or not, its happening. Patterns stimulate that kind of energy, so the first piece for me was to create decorative pillows because they are so versatile for any room in the home.

Plants are important because they give us oxygen. The simplicity of putting a live plant in the room changes the air because you’re bringing life into the room, you’re bringing Hāloa (breath) into the room, so its going to change the feeling of the space. I recommend trying to bring native plants into the home space, because they are the living embodiment of akua, they are kinolau or leaf bodies. They are living symbols, like ulu or kukui, for growth and enlightenment. 

Taking the time to know where you live, not just your home but the land that you live in. To do the research to find out the name of that land and to speak it out loud, it honors the place that you call home.