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During its annual Shop A Le‘a extravaganza, Ala Moana Center turns into a mecca of fashion shows, live entertainment and exclusive giveaways. In the midst of the multitude of chic events, one of the most widely attended nights is Passport to Luxury, presented by Modern Luxury Hawai‘i. This year’s edition delivered a spectacular blend of style, pairing select luxury boutiques with top Honolulu eateries and leading mixologists. Plus, this fete offered more than just spectacular finds. The evening also helped to benefit Hawaii International Film Festival’s educational program, Creative Lab.
Hours before the soiree officially got underway, a flurry of activity created an air of palpable excitement across the center. Chefs and bartenders slipped into boutiques with their gear. In the middle of the center, the Modern Luxury lounge was put into place. In the final hour before the official kickoff approached, a procession of movers and shakers, along with the well- heeled, made their way into the shopping center. Meanwhile, up above in Neiman Marcus, HIFF’s executive board, including Executive Director Robert Lambeth and Director Emeritus Chuck Boller, joined other VIPs for an invitation-only pre-party. When 6pm arrived, KHON-2 newscaster Olena Heu delivered an energetic welcome to the bevy of guests, who received their own personal passport. Once they filled their books with enough stamps from participating boutiques, they could enter in the coveted prize drawing.
While every boutique shined, definite hot spots emerged throughout the night. Cole Haan came alive with the organic grooves of performer Kaimana and the tasteful offerings from Wai‘olu Ocean View Lounge. On the other end of the center, Jimmy Choo’s jewel box of a boutique became a culinary epicenter, thanks to the stunning Kona gold lobster roll prepared by dashing Executive Chef Shaymus Alwin of The Royal Hawaiian’s Azure. (This stunning bite was decorated with delicate gold leaf.) Of course, Chandra Lam Lucariello’s daring Yin and Yang cocktail—shaken up with Plymouth gin and jalapeno—provided a spicy flavor pairing.
Guests in need of a respite from the infectious frenzy slipped into Gucci, which was an oasis of international cool. Here, jet-setters sipped on Champagne, filling the air with foreign languages and laughter.
Toward the evening’s end, Honolulu’s scenesters made their pilgrimage up to Emporio Armani, which was transformed into a chic club, thanks to the stylish and savvy team from The Modern Honolulu. DJ Anit laid down infectious beats that got the crowd dancing, fueled by cocktails turbocharged with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and Cîroc Peach vodka. Afterward, the crowds made their way down to Center Court for the grand finale: the hotly awaited prize drawing. Guests applauded the announcement of winners of luxury goods from the likes of Bally and Michael Kors, along with a deluxe package of an Ala Moana Center shopping spree gift card and a pair of tickets on Alaska Airlines. –Photos by Tracy Chan and Travis Okimoto