MAIA Couture brings touch of India to Hawaii

January 22nd, 2014

maiaallRupal Gohil, front, takes her bows with her models following the launch of her MAIA Couture collection.Nadine Kam photos

Rupal Gohil, founder and creative director of MAIA Couture, introduced her luxury resort, beach  and accessories line during a “Bollywood Wedding”-themed, invite-only runway show at The Modern Honolulu’s on Jan. 18.

Models got their feet wet, using the circular Sunset Pool, as a runway, so every guest had a closeup glimpse of the breezy, sherbet- and jewel-colored India- and Hawaii-inspired garments as the models made their counter-clockwise strides.

Many of the guests showed up dressed for the occasion, in silk saris and henna hand tattoos.

Strangely enough, it was one fashion show that started ON TIME, meaning I was late by four models. When I mentioned that to other guests later, they explained that Gohil is a doctor of internal medicine.  It’s that left-brained logical, practical kind of thinking, vs. right-brained artiste mind.

maiarupalMAIA founder and creative director Rupal Gohil, draped in lei, with one of her models.

But she gave the right side of her brain a workout by studying fashion in India, and says that MAIA “has been an idea in motion since 2004,” since traveling to India and finding herself drawn to its vibrant colors, luxurious fabrics and ornamental quality. When she moved to Hawaii in 2009, she was similarly inspired by nature and our island lifestyle to create her laidback collection, handcrafted in India.

“I spent time designing with local artisans to create unique and opulent pieces including bridal wear.”

Coincidentally, Gohil will soon be a bride herself, and maybe the show was simply a rehearsal for her own Bollywood-style wedding!

Her designs are available at The Modern Gift Shop and House of Aria at 1140 Bethel St., in downtown Honolulu.

Non-flash video

maiaMAIA dresses and beach coverups.

maiawater   The Modern Honolulu’s Sunset Pool became a runway for the models.

maiaguestEllie Matsushita in sari she picked up on a recent trip to India.

maiafamFrom left, Rupal’s soon to be mother-in-law, Alka Chauhan, with Dipah Elliott Mendez and her daughter Mariah Mendez.

maiahennaMariah had her hands painted in henna.

maiaguestsPreetha Balamohan, left, and Vinay Aakalu were among the guests.


maiapoolThe fashion show final lineup.

maiaorangeMAIA Couture photos