Heart of Haute Blog
An interest in the exotic (and largely imagined) lifestyle of the South Pacific has been a part of American fashion and culture since the 1920s. In the 1940s, many served in the South Pacific during World War II, and returned home with tales of palm trees and rum. Hawaii's 1959 statehood and the advent of quick and more affordable jet travel made it a popular - yet still exotic - travel destination. "Trader Vic" Bergeron opened his first restaurant in California in 1934, serving an approximation of Cantonese food and concocting cocktails like the Mai Tai. Mid-century America was crazy for Polynesian pop culture in the 1950s and 1960s: Tiki bars, backyard luaus, and Exotica music and movies were everywhere.
The tiki trend vanished from the mainstream in the 1970s, but it has recently found new devotees and an increase in popularity. Those who still still celebrate the sips, styles and sounds from this era meet up at various tiki weekend parties all over the country, and Tiki Oasis is the biggest and longest-running event.
Each year, Tiki Oasis has a different theme. For 2016, the theme is Party on Monster Island - “From rubber Godzillas tearing apart the South Seas to surfin, Go Go dancing Frankenstein and Wolfman, creatures have always been lurking in paradise.”
If you attend Tiki Oasis, you will probably want a couple of outfits that work with the Party on Monster Island theme, plus some of your best and brightest aloha wear, whether vintage or new. Here are our ideas for Tiki Oasis 2016:
- The 1940s brought us loads of creepy monster movies, from Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man to The Cat People. For a 1940s scream queen look, try the Madison Dress, the Manhattan Dress, or the Diva Suit in Navy, Red, or Black. The Betsy Blouse or Gretta Top are great separates to complete your “sexy scientist who saves the day” look. For a ton of movie gossip and inspirational images, check out Heroines & Scream Queens of Classic Horror: The 1940s.
- For a classic 1950s damsel in distress look, try our Diner Dress, the Elizabeth Dress in our new border print Bethany Floral, or the Haute Circle Skirt in Picnic Gingham. Get ready by watching Creature from the Black Lagoon or Plan 9 From Outer Space. Shop Vampira’s closet with the Ella Top in Black Stripe, The Mod Dress in Black, and the best-selling Super Spy Dress.
- Some of the monsters in vintage media came from other planets. As space exploration increased in the 1960s, so did our imagined fears. To create a retro 1960s space babe look, try our Doreen Dress, Coco Skirt, Twirl Skirt in Cosmos print, or the Fifi Dress in a Navy or Orange space age star print. Need more alien invasion inspiration? Check out this awesome list of horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of 1960s.
If you are looking for some tiki bar basics, don’t miss out on our Paradise, Sweetie, and Rebecca Dresses, all available in our tapa cloth inspired Tiki Serenade Print. Don’t forget to pack a new hair flower, and a sweater to ward off any air-conditioned chill. We have colors and styles ranging from basic black to fashionable coral. Need to save some money for mai tais? Check out our Sale Rack for some exclusive South Pacific Style savings, including:
Enjoy your visit to Monster Island, and if you wear Heart of Haute at Tiki Oasis 2016, don’t forget to tag yourself as a #hautehoney!
It's tiki time! From Tiki Caliente, East to Hukilau, and back West to Tiki Oasis, the season of Polynesian pop weekenders is upon us. Subculture weekend events keep getting bigger and bigger; Viva Las Vegas has been going strong for over 15 years now. These events make fun short vacations - it's a great chance to meet like-minded retro fashion freaks, and show off your best outfits.
Retro style parties are practically a vintage fashion competition. The problem with vintage clothing is that there is no size range - it either fits or it doesn't. At Heart of Haute, we can help everyone get the look, with vintage inspired clothing in sizes from XS to plus size 3X! Looking for some new pieces for your tiki pin up look? We have two great aloha prints in red and navy (look like a vintage Mai Kai Calendar girl), in 3 dress styles.
We are excited to offer our Sweetie Dress, Paradise Dress, Ellie Tie Top, and Twirl Skirt in the new tapa cloth inspired Tiki Serenade print. What is tapa cloth? It is a fabric traditionally made out of bark in Pacific Islands such as Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji. The word tapa comes from Tahiti - in Hawai'i, this fabric is known as kapa. It is decorated by stamping or stencilling, usually in a geometric pattern of decorative images. For clothing, tapa patterned cotton fabrics like our Tiki Serenade are now more common. The bark and fiber tapa cloth is often used in decor, or for ceremonial purposes.
There are a lot of pool parties at these events, so don't forget a cover-up or two; our Knotty Dress and Ellie Tie Top are good choices. Pack the Sweet Sweater for chilly nights or air conditioned venues. Don't forget your feet - the Keke Wedges from Bettie Page shoes will get attention while keeping you more comfortable via a platform and wedge heel. Finish your look with a hair flower (or five), and you are set - whether you are taking off for a weekend, or just taking over a stool at your local tiki bar. I will be at Hukilau 2014 - will you?
P.S. Remember to check our sale rack! There are some retro tiki style gems - a unique version of our Paradise Dress, the poolside-perfect Nice Dress, some halter tops, and more.
- Bring more than one bathing suit. A lot of the events are poolside, and you don't want to be pulling on a soggy suit after a midnight dip in the Ocean. A stylish swimsuit cover up, like our quick drying Knotty Dress, is also a must.
- At the Hukilau, the Mai Kai can be quite warm inside. I like a cocktail dress that will still keep me cool. The Sweetie Dress in Hip Kitty has an authentic vintage shape, and a print that will help you stand out in the sea of floral aloha wear. Get to the Mai Kai with plenty of time before your dinner show reservation to enjoy the gardens and the great happy hour prices in the Molokai Bar. The Moonkist Coconut is my favorite drink.
- The Paradise Dress has a great retro wiggle dress shape in a perfect tropical pattern, with a faux sarong front that ties at the waist.
- There is a lot of standing, dancing, and walking around. I like wedges for just a little more comfort.
- Tiki Oasis has a theme each year - for 2013, it's "Hulabilly." For this mix of Hawaiian and country rockabilly style, bring our Ellie Tie Front Top in Red Gingham, a sweet Heart of Haute top, or gingham headbands and hair bows. Our best selling Sweetie Dress comes in red, blue, olive, and black gingham - the perfect fit for this "Hawaiian Hootenanny."
- Accessories! These parties are not the time to be subtle. I always bring tons of hair flowers, sunglasses, and jewelry. A few extra to loan to your best friend is always a good plan.
- I don't actually stay at the official Hukilau hotel(s). I like the Best Western Oceanside. It's right next door and has a cute little pool and free breakfast.
- Don't overdo it! Take a nap every afternoon and alternate drinks with water. Have some snacks in your room and wear sunscreen.