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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 1, 2010

International affair

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser


Photos by NORMAN SHAPIRO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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5:30 p.m. Jan. 9

Hilton Hawaiian

Village, Coral Ballroom

Attire: International dress

$250; tables of 10 $2,500-$50,000


944-7105, www.EastWestCenter.org/giving

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser


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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser


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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser


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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Sri Lanka.

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When the invitation says "black tie," "cocktail attire" or "aloha wear," we have a pretty good idea what's expected. But what to wear when the invitation says "international dress"?

If you're Japanese, it may mean going all out in a kimono. If you're Filipino, a barong may be appropriate. If you're Scots, a kilt could be ideal. But what if you come from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal or Sri Lanka?

We asked four East-West Center students what they will be wearing to the gala celebrating the East-West Center's 50th anniversary. We also asked Indru Watumull, one of Honolulu's best-dressed women. She is an avid supporter of the arts, as well as the East-West Center, and is chairing the organization's 50th anniversary gala dinner.

Acquiring one of these garments is no simple matter ó they would be sourced through their countries of origin. However, if the event calls for it, this would be the appropriate look.


What she's wearing: sirbandi (head ring), jhumka (earrings), mala (necklace), chuli (jacket), gyunu (skirt), patuki (sash) and a petticoat (they use the English word) under it all. The gyunu is six yards of fabric wrapped around her body several times. While hill people in Nepal wear this style of dress every day, the city folks (she is from Kathmandu) wear it just for special occasions.


What he's wearing: uttorio (scarf), dhuti (wrapped pants) and fatua (tunic). The dhuti is a 14-foot-long piece of fabric that Chowdhooree folds and wraps, using no pins, buttons or zippers.

"The dhuti is an ancient form of formal dress; the top came later," he explained. "We wouldn't ordinarily wear this at home. It's very complicated to drape it."


What she's wearing: Tego (jacket), wonju (underjacket) and kiva (sarong-style skirt). The tego is silk brocade, the wonju is silk and the kiva handwoven of silk and cotton.

Choden called this a "modernized version" of the kiva, which is usually drawn up over the bust and worn as a dress under the two jackets. While it is appropriate for a semi-formal affair when made of brocade and silk, the style is also worn to work, to school and out at night, she said.


What he's wearing: A kamiz (shirt) and sarong of handmade batik.

The kamiz is strikingly similar in style to the aloha shirt, with a collar, front placket and pocket.

Men wear pants and a kamiz to work, but a sarong is worn at home and out to parties, weddings and festivals, he explained. They have bare feet except for formal occasions when they wear "fancy leather slippers."