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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 21, 2006

Tea gowns appropriate for 'Iolani Palace party

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Dressed in 19th century tea-party attire, Walter and Jackie Guild are ready for Sunday's Royal Garden Party at 'Iolani Palace. If you don't have period garb, head-to-toe white will do.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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A fundraiser for the Friends of 'Iolani Palace

4:30-9 p.m. Sunday

'Iolani Palace grounds

$300 (includes dinner, entertainment, lawn bowling, croquet, badminton, and dancing)

Information and tickets: 522-0822

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In a nostalgic nod to the pomp and pageantry of the days when King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi'olani entertained at lavish parties on the lawn, the 'Iolani Palace grounds will be transformed into a Victorian garden party for the annual Friends of 'Iolani Palace fund-raiser.

During the lazy summer afternoon, guests will match skills in sporting activities such as lawn bowling, croquet and badminton.

As the sun begins to set, lantern light will cast a romantic glow as dinner is served under canopies, followed by dancing under the stars. Strolling musicians will roam among the gathered guests.

Palace volunteers encourage attendees to wear white or dress in the style of the Victorian and Edwardian eras (1885-1915).

"Hawaiian tea gowns, as these beautiful white dresses were called, were Victorian adaptations designed to be worn in the Islands," said Jill Cullinan of Princess Kaiulani Fashions.

"Elegant women wore them at the turn of the century with big hats that often had beautiful live flowers, such as roses, on them."

Cullinan's company has adapted several holoku designs featuring Victorian elements such as high ruffled collars, fitted bodices and leg of mutton sleeves. They also make period-style skirts and holoku to order, with two weeks' notice.

Princess Kaiulani Fashions created several white tea gowns that will be worn by strolling models to lend additional ambiance to the garden party.

If period garb is not possible, head-to-toe white will do nicely.

Reach Paula Rath at prath@honoluluadvertiser.com.