Shopping In Honolulu
ONE-STOP HIT FOR SMART ARTINESS – In a turn-of-the-century brick building fronted by a long vintage awning, Echo & Atlas showcases local artworks such as woodcut prints and lithographs, as well as Mud Australia ceramics, Scotch tumblers by Neptune Glassworks and artist Andrew Mau’s shaved cowhide rugs, There’s apparel and accessories too, with Amelia Samari woven bag baskets and LA-based Lacausa’s all-natural clothing in muted shades.
THE INTERIORS CONCEPT BUZZ – When Maura Fujihira and partner Akemi Rogers aren’t furnishing private homes they’re sourcing pieces for their store, Fishcake – from hand-dyed pillows, handbags and shawls by Donna Miyashiro to fabric-impressed celadon dinnerware and KH Studio’s indigo soap. Fishcake also hosts changing displays and exhibitions by product designers and furniture makers. At the back is Box Jelly, the island’s first co-working space, and Morning Glass Coffee for caffeine fixes.
ROLL LIKE ELVIS IN BLUE HAWAII – At an exhibition of her work in 2004, artist Roberta Oaks decided to throw in a rack of reconstructed vintage dresses she’d sewn. All the dresses sold. These days her clothes have become collectibles and her eponymous shop, in an early -20th-century building that once housed immigrant workers, has become the go-to spot for updated Hawaiian dresses and men’s shirts. ‘Everyone wears aloha shirts, but they’re a bit shapeless,’ she says. Hers are tailored and stay true to tradition; each features prints in vibrant colours. Look out for modern Tahitian-pearl and opal jewellery and Turkish peshtemals, which are perfect wraps for the beach.
HIP BEACH THREADS AND CAFFEINE FIX – Husband-and-wife duo Ali McMahon and Parker Moosman owned separate outlets – one called Olive, the other Oliver – in Kailua selling coastal-inspired, mens – and womenswear before cleverly combining the two to form Olive & Oliver. Come here for super-cool beach essentials such as Young, Fabulous & Broke cover-ups; Quality Peoples surf tees; tile-print shirts from Outerknown, a sustainable line by surfer Kelly Slater and designer John Moore The in-store espresso bar and its pineapple-motif paper cups are worth the stop alone.
THE PICK OF HOT-HOUSE FLOWERS – Set in an old preschool next to a former car-repair garage, botanical boutique Paiko is the brainchild of landscape and floral designer Tamara Rigney. You’ll find lady’s slipper orchids and monstera deliciosa plants, alongside animal-shaped ceramic pots by Dee Oliva and Tricia Beaman’s abstract porcelain mobiles. Syd Botanica’s lip balm encased in a seashell might be more packable, though. Pick up stems of protea, anthurium and fern curls at the flower bar, and chia-seed matcha pudding in Avro cafe at the back of the shop.
GO WONKA WITH HERBS – Nat Bletter and Dave Elliott define chocolate in Hawaii: the only state in the USA that can grow cacao beans. At Madre Chocolate’s ‘make your own chocolate bar’ classes, the pair use herbs grown in the garden behind the shop, such as lemongrass, rosemary and peppery hoja santa. Each is like a beautiful lithograph, with design moulds inspired by Mayan hieroglyphics. Don’t leave without trying rosita de cacao, a flower that has a scent somewhere between maple syrup and curry. The staff are generous on the samples and Nat might even whip up a cacao-pod-pulp slushie.
THE UKELELE ENJOYS ITS MOMENT – Since Jake Shimabukuro’s cover of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ went viral on YouTube, and the rise of the reinterpretive Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, the Hawaiian guitar is now very covetable. But the Kamaka family have been making the four-string pineapple-shaped instrument out of native koa wood for the past 100 years. Stop at Kamaka Ukulele and take a tour of the factory behind.
RETRO COLLECTIBLES WITH A TIKI FLAVOUR – There are things in Tin Can Mailman you probably never thought you would ever want, from old fruit-crate labels to gyrating hula-girl toys. But the store is known for its haute vintage sensibility from the 1930s and 1940s. Take your pick from rare books, vintage postcards, pin-up pasters and Bakelite bracelets in delicious colours, including butterscotch and chocolate sundae and creamed spinach.
CURIOUS CURIOS AND ART TO GOGGLE – Hound & Quail is like stepping into the home of a very interesting uncle, with a mid-century-modern living room stuffed with shelves of books, deer heads on the walk and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. On the ground floor of a once-derelict building in Chinatown, Mark Pei and Travis Flazer specialise in the hard-to-find. Their stock of collectibles is culled from all over the island – and the world, thanks to Pei’s day job as an airline pilot. There’s a rare, if ghoulish, antique autopsy table, cool industrial lamps and Saarinen tulip chairs. Check out the monthly rotating art exhibitions in the basement.
AND SO TO BED – Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is the cool new kid on the block, a couple of minutes’ walk from the beach. Honolulu-based design studio The Vanguard Theory brought together the best young creatives and wave sliders to recapture Sixties Waikiki, from Tory Richard’s aloha-shirt fabric as the backdrop on headboards to Andrew Mau’s Moana vanity mirrors. Graphic artist Matthew Tapia did the ‘wish you were here’ graphic on the pool floor. And the adjoining restaurant Mahina & Sun’s serves ahi palaha with a limu seaweed salsa verde and salted-macadamia pavlova pudding. Sip Mr Pink cocktails while surf-rock bands perform. Surfjack also lends bikes for rides beside the shore.