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Keeping it simple

  • COURTESY LACY MATSUMOTO
    A romper ($90), below center, is from Bruening's lighter, brighter summer COAST collection and will be available in many prints. Hair by Colin Edson, makeup by Maile Meno.
  • COURTESY LACY MATSUMOTO
    @Caption1:A draped dress ($70) from the fall DIEM collection, at right, is accessorized with a rabbit fur bag from Evening Invitation, among items to be shown at Bruening's fashion show Friday.
  • COURTESY LACY MATSUMOTO
    Momoko Metz­ker models a tank jumper from Matt Bruening's fall DIEM collection, which reflects his vision of the comfortable styles women might choose to wear if they thought the world were about to end.
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Matt Bruening’s drippy, layered, street aesthetic might be more compatible with seasonal city style than Hawaii’s year-round summer weather, but in the two years since the designer last staged a fashion show, he’s conceded that the marketplace will tell you what it wants in the hundreds of choices buyers make each day.

MATT BRUENING

Summer 2011 Fashion Show with designs by Bruening and Andy South:
» Where: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
» When: 10 p.m. Friday , VIP entry at 8:30 p.m.
» Cost: $10; $30 VIP seating includes hosted bar; must be at least age 19
» Music: Clones of the Queen, Alt/Air and SICKTYTE
» Info/tickets: Visit nextdoorhnl.com

Working at the Club Monaco clothing store at Ala Moana Center puts him in a position to see what people are buying and what types of pieces don’t sell, and what sells are simple pieces that make it easy to roll out of bed and get dressed.

So for the first time, the designer is going beachy, with his COAST collection suitable for a Hawaii summer and inspired by prints that call to mind the whitewash of Waianae beaches, where he grew up, and the colors of the ocean and sunsets.

Bruening will be showing his designs at the NextDoor nightclub Friday night with fellow Waianae alumnus Andy South, who will be showing a few pieces for fall.

"I call it an adaptation," Bruening said. "You can be as creative as you want, but your creativity is not going to sell until you build up your name.

"I’ve never really done a Hawaii collection, and I challenged myself to do something really springy and light, with a lot of color and prints."

Pieces will be sold after the show and later at Acid Dolls in the Royal Hawaiian Center. (See "Da Kine" for information on Acid Dolls’ Saturday show.)

That’s not to say Bruening has sacrificed his darker, more brooding style. Reversing the typical order of the American fairy tale, he said his show will start "all happy and then, damn! Reality check!"

That will take the form of a preview of his fall collection, DIEM, inspired by the recent stir over a religious leader’s Rapture prediction and the apocalyptic end of the world. "I started thinking, ‘What would you wear if the world ended tomorrow?’"

One thought would be to put on your brightest, most sparkly clothes and party until the end, but Bruening took the opposite approach, considering a quieter, contemplative finale that would see people cocooned in loose-fitting garments that would make them feel most comfortable in uncomfortable times.

He collaborated with Evening Invitation by Farida Ong, who created a line of nomadic, tribal accessories of rabbit fur, bones and arrowheads to complement his dark vision, imagining a back-to-nature ethos that would accompany end-of-world scarcity.

"For myself I would want to keep it simple," he said. "If there were a Rapture, I would want people to see me as I am every day."

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