Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tori Richard -An Original Hawaiian Design House

 Cheryl Tiegs in a Helmut Newton shoot in Hawaii in a Tori Richard dress 1973.

I don't know about you, but when I'm traveling I've got my radar up for locally made goods to discover and hopefully bring back as a remembrance of my trip.

One of my finds on this getaway to the Big Island was Tori Richard, a longtime Hawaiian fashion company. They have been creating Hawaiian inspired dresses and men's Hawaiian shirts for almost 60 years. One evening we went for dinner at one of the original Roy's, and I spotted this cute Tori Richard shop next door and popped in just to see what it was all about.

(Roys! Do not miss this in Hawaii!)

 I am now obsessed with the quality and quantity of their unique prints and chic designs. I'm a print lover and I was in heaven. Tori Richard actually has their own in-house art and design team that creates around 400 prints annually. Amazing. There is over 20,000 prints in their archives and they often reintroduce some of their vintage ones. I would venture to say they are the Hawaiian version of Liberty!!

 The business is still family owned and run and based in Honolulu, though they have been refreshing their brand image and opening more retail posts on the islands.

At this shop, which is new to The King's Shops on the Big Island, they showed me even more cute things and I was whisked off to the fitting room. The dressing rooms had vintage Tori Richard ads from Nordstrom and other stores...


Though the prints brought me in, the soft fabrics and flattering shapes sold me. 

The hard choices ranged from darling strapless rompers that are extremely flattering to maxi dresses, sheaths, tunics, scalopped shorts, coverups and fun Ts.

 This surf side jumpsuit is super flattering and feels like butter.

 In the end, I went home with two print dresses I knew I'd wear tons. 

In front of the glamorous elevator, in my Jungle Love Alyssa Dress. Don't you love that name? I'm crazy for the great leaf pattern.

This dress skims over you with a drawstring waist and I think is perfect for warm summer days, running errands and could be a great cover-up too. I kind of wish I bought more than one. It just make looking pulled together simple on a hot day.

On the way out to dinner in Hawaii, (I got way too much sun) I'm wearing my other purchase, a Sakura Kristina dress.

It's a mock wrap dress with lantern sleeves. This print is fun. You can dress it up like here, paired it with my Ivanka Trumps flats sandals and my woven clutch from J.Crew. I've also dressed it down other times with brown beads and sandals. Super comfortable. 

These dresses are a poly blend and do not wrinkle so they are perfect for travel!

Doing some digging around about this brand, I uncovered loads of vintage dealers selling the original dresses from the 60's, 70's and even the 1950s.

I found this 1950s one in amazing condition on Etsy.

 This adorable Tori Richard is from the 1960s. Also on Etsy.

The company's story through the decades is told on their site and about the name Tori Richard, (taken from the founder's kid's names), and how the business began when the creator Mort Feldman came to Hawaii to retire. It has evolved over the years from strictly women's resort wear, to men's Hawaiian shirts for a while, and is now back to producing both and newly relaunched. 

The men's shirts are amazing. They have their own proprietary cottons and some have a modern close to the body fit...

This is not your father's Hawaiian shirt!

Their model of choice wasn't too shabby either!

The company also did the shirts for George Clooney in the Hawaiian drama, The Descendants as well as for the Hawaii Five-0 shows past and present. Founder Mort also lobbied the Hawaii legislature to begin Aloha Fridays back in the 60's, to convince Hawaiians to adopt Aloha Attire as the official state dress which was a precursor to casual Fridays!

The men's collection is sold in the mainland at Nordstrom. The women's collection and mens's available throughout their site still and in their retail stores in the Hawaiian Islands, and select boutiques.

The vintage looks recall when my grandparents traveled to Honolulu in the early 70s. My grandmother had some long Hawaiian dresses. They may have even been Tori Richard, and I'm wondering if she still has them now.

I have kept the Hawaiian dress she brought me on that trip, and the matching Hawaiian shirt for my little brother. My boys wore the shirt on special occasions when they were small.
 I am hoping one day to have a grandaughter who can wear the dress!!

Travel to Hawaii really took off in the 1970s. In California many wore Hawaiian inspired shirts, puka shells and T-shirts in those days.

I made made my kids watch the Brady Bunch episode from that time on our last night in Hawaii. 
It was so cheesy and retro I loved it.

Fun seeing the 70's resort wear. Oh my God look at Mike's shorts!!! 
I think my dad had some like that.

This center dress, on Marcia, looks a lot like a Tori Richard. I'm sure some of the dresses were.

Does anyone remember having these big floral maxi dresses? I do and I wore my hair in a bun with mine! I think I was 7 or something.

I think it could be cool to collect vintage Tori Richard dresses and even the shirts for my guys. Their beautiful fabrics are like art. It's wonderful to have something unique and that you may be able to pass down one day to your kids.

Do you have any Hawaiian fashions or Tori Richard pieces?

Maybe it's being in the islands, but I think wearing their clothes makes life a little more fun!

So do Hawaiian shirts!

Happy weekend! Get your Aloha on people!

photos NorthernCalStyle and also Pinterest and Tori Richard.


  1. Love that image of Cheryl Tiegs by Helmut Newton so iconic.
    Love your new buys Kim.I'm off to Tori Richards website now to get me some shirt! Love them!
    Happy Hawaiian weekend. Paul x

  2. WOW! I never heard of Tori Richards and now I'm in love! Love both your dresses. So cute on you! The one with the lantern sleeves is to die for, Dear! Love the vintage finds on Etsy too. And adore the Cheryl Tiegs photo! What a fun post, Kimi!
    Dawn Lucy

  3. How amazing do you look in those two dresses, I love things with pattern and color and these dresses have that casual comfy look too with the lantern sleeves, how perfect.

    That top photo of Cheryl Tiegs is incredible, her legs go on forever.

    Ok am heading over now to look at this line, never heard of Tori Richards before this post but looks like she is going to be the new Tori in town with these great designs..

    1. I just read the latest book from the author who wrote The Descendants (which now i want to read). Its called The Possibilities and is great, you would love it

  4. Awesome choices! I can definitely see how you could and will be wearing those two wonderful dresses many times throughout the summer and for years to come.

  5. This look suits you completely! But then you are the ultimate Cali girl. But I have to tell you what the subliminal message in certain parts of London means when you wear a Hawaiian shirt - it means you are a gangster hehe. xx

  6. I love the dresses you chose! What a fun + informative post...I absolutely love reading about fashion history...I am not super familiar with that part of the country, so it was fun to hear your account...and I adored that Brady Bunch episode!!

  7. Aloha Kim! I'm back from Europe and having fun catching up on all these beautiful posts. Of course you had me at George Clooney and it's interesting to hear the history of this unique brand. You look beautiful in your choices (love the colors and patterns on you). You will be wearing those all summer for certain. Have fun at Blogher and I'll miss not seeing. Tip a sangria my way darling!

  8. I have always loved Tori Richards, but sadly I don't own any pieces! May have to do something about that. Love the dresses you chose - really pretty on you.

  9. How fun Kim and I know what you mean about wanting to bring home a piece of where you're visiting and I LOVE the Tori Richards dresses you bought. They are really perfect for Hawaii and Cali and the history of them is fun too. I remember watching that Brady Bunch episode! Looks like you had a great time and next time I go to Hawaii I need to get one of those dresses.


  10. Well, do you need a long white with pink flowers HAWAIAN dress?A MOO~MOO is how my Mother called them!I have one in a size small that is a left over from the HEN HOUSE DAYS!You could wear around your pool and look very FASHIONABLE!I adore it but I have NEVER been a small in my LIFE!I will go check out the label........just maybe I too have one!

  11. This brand is new to me but both your dresses are ideal for holidays. I'm always on the look out for dresses which you can trake on holiday to dress up or down especially if they don't crease.

  12. PS I meant to say that your trip to Hawaii sounds fabulous and that cocktail looks wonderful.

  13. This is awesome! I just came across a 70s Tori dress (in a thrift shop in Massachusetts, nonetheless) and fell in love with it. Did a little digging on the brand and I'm thrilled to see that it has such a rich history!


  14. Thank you for the kind words and thoughts about our company! You did your research!
    Josh Feldman, President- Tori Richard, ltd.

  15. Mahalo for the kind words about our company. You certainly did your research!


    Josh Feldman
    Tori Richard, Ltd.