Hellllloooooo Project Realway fans!
As you may know, Project Runway (the actual show) finished up before Christmas so there are no more ‘official’ challenges for me to participate in. I do still want to work on my creative and sewing skills, so I’ve decided to continue Project Realway on as a monthly series by working with brands and creating the challenges myself, and with the input of fans. If you have a great idea for a Project Realway challenge, please email me at Stefanie@thestylesafari.com and we can discuss the details!
For my first episode of the new series, I partnered with the Aston Waikiki Beach Tower in Oahu, Hawaii. They are a 40 floor condominium hotel right on Waikiki Beach that is going through a massive renovation, and my challenge this month was to create a warm weather look inspired by the renovation of their 4th floor deck that overlooks the beach. I had a family vacation planned to Oahu over New Years, which was the perfect time to take pictures of the finished look in it’s newly renovated surroundings.
For this new series I will not be creating a You Tube video, but I will be walking you through my design process with images below. You can also watch some of the process on film via my Instagram stories (but you will need to watch them through the phone app!). The videos will only be live for 24 hours, so be sure to check it out soon!
Below are the inspiration images and design layout that I received from the Waikiki Beach Tower in order to get my inspiration. I immediately noticed the bright coral color, as it really stood out against all of the neutrals. I was also drawn to the cutwork on the tables and stools. Even though there was no print or pattern in the design, I could imaging light shining through the cutwork tables that would create an interesting pattern on the deck, in a modern, tribal way.
The first hurdle I encountered was shopping for summery bright fabrics the week before Christmas. Not only was I looking for something lightweight, but I needed something with a bit of that tribal vibe. I was surprised to find a few fabrics at Joann’s that would work perfectly. My favorite fabric by far is the coral, white and navy circle print in the center of the below image. This was almost like a block printed linen, and it really had a casual, handmade vibe to it that I love. The only issue was that it was very sheer, so I wanted to find another print to match it back to, which I did in the coral and black diamond fabric. The embroidered chambray and lace on the left was beautiful too and definitely an impulse purchase. I wanted to find a way to incorporate it somehow… but you will see that I struggled with that!
After a few revisions, I decided to sketch out a skirt and off the shoulder top combo, using both of the coral prints in the skirt. I also bought a black and white stripe ribbon trim (not pictured) that looked striking paired against the coral prints, so I wanted to incorporate that somehow. I also wanted there to be volume and movement in the skirt, so I thought adding some strategically placed folds in the front would help it to blow in the breeze.
Although I had grand dreams for the top, there was just WAY too many things going on with all of this print, texture and pattern together (hey, that means a lot if I say it!), so one thing had to go. I ended up ditching the chambray top, which is good because 1. I can not make a dress out of it, and 2. I’m not getting kicked off this blog for not using it!
Once I got to the Waikiki Beach Tower is was informed that unfortunately all of the plants were not set up yet, but that otherwise they had just completed the 4th floor renovation and everything was brand new for me to shoot with. I have to say, the pictures don’t do it justice. I had cocktails on this “lanai” at least 3 times while I was there and every sunset was more beautiful and enjoyable than the last. Even though Waikiki is a crazy touristy place, being just a few floors above the hustle and bustle and looking out over the ocean was extremely calming. I really felt like I could have been on a secluded beach, except that I had all of the conveniences of a city… aka a deliciously cute coffee shop one block away!
Let’s check out my look, shall we? I ended up making the mixed print maxi skirt and pairing it with an American Apparel black crop top. I incorporated a high slit on one side and used the stripe trim to create a faux cinch detail. Even though I didn’t make the top, I actually think pairing the crazy busy skirt with such a simple top was the right way to go. When you are lounging on a lanai in Hawaii the last thing you need is a super fussy top, #amiright?
Well, what do you think of the final look? What do you think of the Waikiki Beach Tower lanai?
I look forward to hearing your comments on the final look and hope that you send me lots of ideas for future Project Real Way Challenges!