Joy to the Girl

Joy to the Girl
Image: Jeff Mull

Joy to the Girl / In the heart of Chinatown, the big, cheery windows of Owens & Co. displayed endless possibilities for dressers and nesters. We were drawn to a rack of simple, sienna/rose shift dresses in light silk with pockets (at last!), their style reminiscent of a linen dress our dear husband once bought us, patterned after the smocks worn by the butchers of Les Halles. “These look Parisian,” we said.

“They’re definitely European style,” said the owner, Missy Owens. But the dresses are hand-made in Hawaii by the designer, Nele K., who moved here last year from Germany, where she got her degree in textile and clothing engineering and apprenticed in couture hand-sewing. “I met my husband in Europe, and we lived in Paris for a while, where I worked as a trend scout, before moving here,” said Nele K., who had come in from Kaneohe for Black Friday.

In her early twenties, blue-eyed and petite, the designer wore one of her ruffled-neck jersey dresses. With one of her pink silk flower headbands on her cropped blond hair, she was a ringer for Titania. Bringing a taste of Downton Abbey to downtown Honolulu were some dreamy, strappy, chiffon party dresses with gathers “that show off the booty.” Hand-made leather bags and wallets round off a small but stellar collection. Dresses, $160-200; beneath, try her wicked cute lingerie, $35-$95; wallets and purses, $82-365; headbands,$19.

Owens & Co., 1152 Nuuanu Ave., 531-4300, []