Cheryl Tiegs in a Helmut Newton shoot in Hawaii in a Tori Richard dress 1973.
When I’m traveling I’ve always got my eyes out for locally made goods to discover and hopefully bring back as a remembrance of my trip.
One of my finds on this getaway to the Big Island was Tori Richard, a longtime Hawaiian fashion company. They have been creating Hawaiian inspired dresses and men’s Hawaiian shirts for almost 60 years. One evening we went for dinner at one of the original Roy’s, and I spotted a cute Tori Richard shop next door and popped in just to see what it was all about.
I fell in love with everything at Tori Richard and I am now obsessed with the quality and quantity of their unique prints and and designs. As a textile lover I was in heaven. Tori Richard has their own in-house art and design team that creates around 400 prints annually. Amazing. There is over 20,000 prints in their archives and they are continually reintroducing their vintage ones. They are a Hawaiian version of Liberty!!
What is very cool is the business is still family owned and based in Honolulu, though they have been refreshing their brand image and opening more retail posts on the islands.
At this particular boutique, which is new to The King’s Shops on the Big Island, they showed me even more lovely things and I was whisked off to the fitting room. The dressing rooms had vintage Tori Richard ads from Nordstrom and other stores!
Though the prints brought me in, the soft fabrics and flattering shapes sold me. The hard choices ranged from darling strapless rompers that are extremely flattering to maxi dresses, sheaths, tunics, scalopped shorts, coverups and fun Ts.
This surf side jumpsuit is super flattering and feels like butter.
In the end, I went home with two print dresses I knew I’d wear tons.
In my Jungle Love Alyssa Dress. Don’t you adore that name? I’m crazy for the great leaf pattern.
This dress skims over you with a drawstring waist and I think is perfect for warm summer days, running errands and could be a great cover-up. I kind of wish I bought more than one. It just make looking pulled together simple on a hot day.
On the way out to dinner in Hawaii, (I got way too much sun) I’m wearing my other purchase, a Sakura Kristina dress, a mock wrap dress with lantern sleeves. This print is fun. You can dress it up like here, paired it with my flat sandals and my woven clutch for dinner. I’ve also dressed it down other times with brown beads and sandals. Super comfortable.
These dresses are a poly blend and do not wrinkle so they are perfect for travel!
Doing some digging around about this brand, I uncovered loads of vintage dealers selling the original dresses from the 60’s, 70’s and even the 1950s.
I found this 1950s one in amazing condition on Etsy.
The company’s story through the decades is told on their site and about the name Tori Richard is taken from the founder’s kid’s names, and how the business began when the creator Mort Feldman came to Hawaii to retire. It has evolved over the years from strictly women’s resort wear, to men’s Hawaiian shirts for a while, and is now back to producing both and newly relaunched.
The men’s shirts are amazing. They have their own proprietary cottons and some have a modern close to the body fit…
This is not your father’s Hawaiian shirt!
I like this updated take on the larger Hawaiian shirt we all know.
The company also did the shirts for George Clooney in the Hawaiian drama, The Descendants as well as for the Hawaii Five-0 shows past and present. You may not know that founder Mort also lobbied the Hawaii legislature to begin Aloha Fridays back in the 60’s, to convince Hawaiians to adopt Aloha Attire as the official state dress, which was a precursor to casual Fridays. How cool is that?
The men’s collection is sold in the mainland at Nordstrom. The women’s collection and mens’s available throughout their site still and in their retail stores in the Hawaiian Islands, and select boutiques.
The vintage looks recall when my grandparents traveled to Honolulu in the 60s. My grandmother had some long Hawaiian dresses and some were Tori Richard. I wish I had them now. I have kept the little Hawaiian dress she brought me on that trip, and the matching shirt given to my little brother. My boys wore the shirt on special occasions when they were small. I hope one day to have a grandaughter who can wear the dress!!
Travel to Hawaii really took off in the 1970s. In California many wore Hawaiian inspired shirts and puka shells. I made made my kids watch the Brady Bunch episode from that time on our last night in Hawaii. It was so cheesy and retro we loved it.
Fun seeing the 70’s resort wear. Oh my God look at Mike’s shorts!!!
I think my dad had some like that.
This center dress, on Marcia, looks a lot like a Tori Richard. I’m sure some of the dresses were.
Does anyone remember having these big floral maxi dresses? I do and I wore my hair in a bun with mine! I think I was 7 or so. How fun to collect vintage Tori Richard dresses and even the shirts for my guys? Their beautiful fabrics are like art. It’s wonderful to have something unique and that you may be able to pass down one day to your kids.
Do you have any Hawaiian fashions or Tori Richard pieces?
Maybe it’s being in the islands, but I think wearing their clothes makes life a little more fun!
So do Hawaiian shirts!
Happy weekend! Get your Aloha on people!
photos NorthernCalStyle and also Pinterest and Tori Richard.
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Blogger, writer and explorer sharing about my native California, and parts farther afield. Join me here where I chat about things to love in the worlds of design, fashion, home, travel and culture.