Saturday, August 27, 2011


Exhibit Showcases Alfred Shaheen’s Fusion Fashion Legacy (Sept 7 - Oct 29)

Hawaii's Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion, a new exhibition opening at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, is a celebration of the legacy of textile designer and master fabric printer Alfred Shaheen, the origins of the Hawaiian aloha print and the fusion fashion aesthetic it spawned. This is the first major retrospective exhibition of Hawaiian textiles and aloha wear manufactured by Alfred Shaheen on the island of O‘ahu over four decades. It will run through October 29.

Alfred Shaheen wed technological innovation to socially responsible business practices in the service of revitalizing Pacific Island and Asian textile traditions to forge a fusion fashion design aesthetic now recognized worldwide. The designs are a visual marker-- not only of Hawai‘i's multi-ethnic culture but of a West Coast American lifestyle that is informal, environmentally aware and multi-cultural. A Lebanese immigrant/engineer, Shaheen pioneered a silk-screening method and professionally trained his employees, who were Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese and other ethnicities, as his City of Craftsmen, to create a new design aesthetic.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a comprehensive collection of vintage Shaheen apparel and fabric. The exhibit will certainly have a seductive appeal for islanders who remember wearing Shaheen and spark a new interest and appreciation for others. His apparel designs brought an authenticity to the influence of the ethnic design and put Hawai‘i on the international fashion map," said Neida Bangerter, Schaefer International Gallery Director at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Hawai‘i's Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion is co-curated by San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles Curator Deborah Corsini and Hawaiian textile scholar, Linda Arthur Bradley, PhD with exhibit design by Gallery Director Neida Bangerter, and will feature over 100 objects drawn from the collection of Camille Shaheen Tunberg, Alfred Shaheen's daughter. Stunning yardage representing the textile designs Shaheen produced and key examples of the men's, women's and children's garments that visually conjure Hawai‘i's complex cultural history will be on display. In addition to textiles, the exhibit will showcase archival photos and ads that illuminate how the textiles and garments were designed, manufactured and marketed.

Dr. Linda Arthur Bradley explained, "Hawaiian textile art, especially designs from the 1940s and 50s, have a quality unsurpassed in other decades. Shaheen championed the idea of using Hawaiian textile art as a means of expressing ethnicity and, as an innovative businessman, employed artists as salaried employees and was the first to use modern fashion promotion and marketing on the islands."

Co-curator Deborah Corsini added, "Shaheen's designs are an exuberant profusion of color, pattern and sophisticated compositions which capture the lushness of a tropical climate and the spirit of exotic cultures of the Pacific islands."

On Sunday, September 4, informative lectures on the exhibit will be presented by co-curators, Dr. Linda Bradley and Deborah Corsini, from 2 to 4 pm in the Alexa Higashi Meeting Room followed by an opening reception in the gallery.

Dr. Bradley, who is Professor of Apparel Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University, will discuss "The East Met the West in Hawai‘i: Cultural Influence in Alfred Shaheen’s Ethnic Textile Designs." Ms. Corsini, Museum Curator, will present "Exhibition Highlights: The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles" which features different exhibitions drawn from the museum's permanent collection as well as some of its curated exhibitions.

Schaefer International Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm, before Castle Theater shows and during intermission; admission is always free. For more information on the Shaheen exhibit, contact Gallery Director Neida Bangerter at 808-243-4288 or

As a special event to commemorate the exhibition, Maui Arts & Cultural Center will host Couture Hawai‘i Fashion Show on Saturday, September 3, beginning at 6 pm in the Yokouchi Pavilion Courtyard. This runway event will showcase the latest collections of aloha wear and couture apparel from well-known Hawai‘i designers, including Maggie Coulombe from Maui, Bernard Foong of Wailea and Anne Namba from O‘ahu. The show will begin with vintage Shaheen dresses and aloha shirts, and a small student collection from the University of Hawai‘i – Maui College's Couture Club will also be shown. Host for the evening will be Andy South, contemporary fashion designer and Season 8 Finalist on TV’s "Project Runway."

Couture Hawai‘i Fashion Show represents a new facet in the global mix of art offerings at Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Patrons can browse and shop for fashion and accessories made in Hawai‘i, purchase catered appetizers and beverages, then dance to music by DJ CIA during the after-party. Tickets are available at the MACC Box Office for $35 general admission and $100 VIP package. Call 808-242-SHOW (7469) or go online to

HAWAII'S ALFRED SHAHEEN: FABRIC TO FASHION is organized by San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, California and presented by Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Hawai‘i. The exhibit is made possible through the support of the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, Matson Navigation Company, WESTAF, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Arts Council Silicon Valley in partnership with the County of Santa Clara and National Endowment for the Arts, The City of San Jose, the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association, and private contributions.

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