A replica of a stunning, historic gown worn by Queen Liliuokalani is now on display at Ala Moana Center.
The original ostrich-feather-and-lilac creation is believed to be the last gown commissioned by the queen as sovereign of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She wore it at various state functions — a very fashion-forward look at the time.
This reproduction is the second piece in the Friends of Iolani Palace’s Alii Gown Reproduction Project.
“Having these royal gowns reproduced is one exciting way of bringing a more personal element to the Palace experience,” said Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of The Friends of Iolani Palace. “The new ostrich feather gown is a great example of how the alii embraced western and Hawaiian elements in fashion.”
The gown is currently on display at Bloomingdale’s, Mall Level, through Oct. 31. After that, it will become part of Iolani Palace’s permanent collection.
Hawaii Island-based historic dress designer Iris Viacrusis was commissioned for the reproductions. He studied Edwardian and Victorian fashion in Paris and recreated historic costumes for the Merrie Monarch court.
His first reproduction for the project was a lei hulu gown worn by Queen Kapiolani, using Victorian-era structure and materials similar to those found during that time period. The gown is now in the palace’s Throne Room as part of the permanent collection.
“While they sought out the top dressmakers in New York, London and Paris, they put their own Hawaiian twist in the designs with lei hulu, peacock features and other elements that were rooted in their culture,” Viacrusis explained.
The next gowns to be reproduced will be Queen Liliuokalani’s ribbon gown and Queen Kapiolani’s peacock dress, which are shown in a photo on display in her bedroom at the palace. Both gowns were worn in 1887 to Queen Victoria’s jubilee celebration in London.
The Alii Gown Reproduction project is made possible through donations, and additional gowns will be reproduced as funding becomes available.