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Aloha to a New Wave of Prints

April 30, 1999|BOOTH MOORE

Aloha patterns aren't just for shirts anymore. Big, bold Hawaiian flowers are blooming on everything from Kate Spade totes to anklet socks from Contempo Casuals. And the best thing about this trend is that unlike fashion victims in Chicago and New York, sun-and-surf Southern Californians in aloha wear won't look like displaced tourists.

Gucci led high fashion to the beach this spring, putting acid flower prints on shift dresses, slingbacks and string bikinis. The look is relaxed and Bohemian, with lots of fringe and feathers. But the must-have Gucci item of the season is the "Jackie Bag," which has been selling well in prints and in solid orange and turquoise at the Gucci store in Beverly Hills.

Gap has a summer line of surf-inspired shorts, polo shirts with flowers across the chest and colorful kerchiefs. Fisherman's hats, in juicy colors and beach scene prints, are replacing baseball hats.

For vintage aloha wear, check out Rocka Hula on Melrose in Los Angeles. The store is a monument to tiki kitsch, full of hibiscus flower-print tees, resort shirts, Bakelite fruit jewelry and psychedelic suitcases.

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