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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 10, 2006

THE NIGHT STUFF
Spacious Fashion 45 struts its stylishness

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

From left, Rea Nixon and Paula Vera, both of Kane'ohe, and Lakisha Cyphers, of Marine Corps Base Hawai'i were among Fashion 45's patrons on a recent Friday.

Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Mahealani Kamau of Kane'ohe and the rest of the Don Tiki Dancers were featured at Fashion 45 on a recent evening.

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From left, Jenny Poncia of Manoa and Christian Morris of Kahala were hanging out at Fashion 45 in the Waikiki Trade Center on Friday evening.

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PUSSYCAT LOUNGE @ FASHION 45

WHERE: Waikiki Trade Center, 2255 Kuhio Ave., second floor, 922-4599

WHEN: 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Fridays

COVER: $15; VIP room/table info/prices at www.skylinetwo.com

SOUNDTRACK: Mash-ups and hip-hop in main room; house in Diamond Lounge

OTHER FASHION 45 EVENTS: www.fashion45hawaii.com

NOT SO SMART: A Smart magazine staffer snatching some of our Smart first anniversary party swag from right in front of us without asking and handing it to someone presumably less anonymous.

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Imagine the kind of spacious, stylish and relentlessly high-tech nightclub nobody in their right mind outside of Los Angeles or New York sinks money into anymore.

Think a crazy large main-room dance floor blasted from above by more state-of-the-art club lighting and booming sound than one might think the world needs. Think four permanent fully loaded bars, each back-lit by shifting scarlet, azure, gold, green and violet hues. Think a partially enclosed VIP room with its own private bar overlooking it all.

There's more, of course. A dozen or so plasma televisions scattered throughout. Black and white leather loungers with no business in a place that allows smoking. An entirely white-walled lounge with a lighting system able to take the room through a million or so different color combinations.

If nothing here rings familiar, you probably haven't stopped by Fashion 45.

The club opened in December with a kind of quiet fanfare unusual for a venue of its size, scope and investment. But a renovation that basically gutted and reimagined the Waikiki Trade Center's former Maze nightclub to the tune of $1.7 million has created an undeniably sleek, modern nightspot like no other in Waikiki or Honolulu, for that matter that can't help but command attention.

All one has to do now is hope Fashion 45 has what it takes to consistently charm our town's eternally fickle collection of night crawlers. I'm pulling for it.

We stopped by on a Friday, the new night and home of Flash Hansen's and Matty Boy Hazelgrove's Pussycat Lounge weekly. At the Wave Waikiki, the Pussycat was filled with the weekday late-night decadent (it raged Wednesday early-a.m. hours, attracting service-industry types, strippers, club promoters and diehard club folk). At Fashion 45, it essentially emulates the duo's Skyline parties, minus the skyline and much of that event's free-spending, fashion-conscious patronage.

Truth be told, I did kind of miss the Pussycat's colorful and chatty former customers and grittiness of the Wave Waikiki. But I understood Hansen's desire to carry on the Pussycat name and freshen up the concept after almost eight years of doing it.

The crowd of several hundred seemed a blend of semi-casual and well-dressed twenty- and thirtysomething locals, with a scattering of tourists. Still, Pussycat at Fashion 45 is hardly downscale.

A $15 cover assures that the $5 Bud Light pitcher crowd doesn't show up in droves. We saw bottles of champagne carted off to several tables in the darkness.

And guest DJ mash-up master Mei-Lwun of San Francisco was deftly slapping Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" with Missy Elliott's "Pass That Dutch," inspiring a capacity dance floor.

Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.