Despite the clear vintage-leaning style of this blog, it’s not often I get to feature a piece that has a true tie to history, but this Kalani dress has just that. Its bird of paradise print was originally released in 1939 by The Kamehameha Garment Company, Hawaii’s first wholesale ready-to-wear manufacturer. The company rose to prominence through the widespread popularity of their “aloha shirts,” first sewn by tailor Ellery Chun in the late 1920s and sold then for $1. The shirts quickly gained a following among islanders, and before long both tourists and US military servicemen alike were buying up their own aloha shirts too, creating a fanbase for Kamehameha’s creations that spread out across the entire US mainland. The company’s reputation for quality and innovation has lasted through all the years since, and their collaboration with Unique Vintage brings us a selection of stunning pieces that are perfect for summer, vacationing, and just plain feeling fabulous.
Dress: Bird of Paradise Kalani swing dress gifted by Unique Vintage x Kamehameha
Bolero: Bird of Paradise Ronnie Bolero gifted by Unique Vintage x Kamehameha
Bag: Half Moon Basket Bag by Ellen & James
This gorgeous Bird of Paradise print is available on this Kalani swing dress as well as a sarong dress, both beautifully paired with this matching Ronnie bolero or the alternative Alani bolero. It’s also available in a men’s button up shirt, an essential addition to the line considering Kamehameha’s roots.
The Kalani dress is a summer marvel. Unlined and crafted from a lightweight rayon, it has a floaty feel that, paired with rayon’s ability to wick away moisture, will ensure you feel cool and comfortable all day. The bodice has a sweetheart neckline centered with a bow detail, so it’s all femininity and flattering lines in this number. Said bodice is also boned for support, allowing you to wear it with or without the removable shoulder straps, which are adjustable by way of buttons.
The back has a generous smocked panel which gives ease of fit and movement, and also provides enough stretch to get you in and out of this dress over your head, zips not needed. The skirt is truly full. It lays wonderfully with or without a petticoat, but it’s able to handle a full petti without issue should you long for volume. Finally, just in case you didn’t think this dress could get any better, there are pockets!
Even ignoring the obvious that this dress would look wonderful beach-side, I love that it’s such a summery, eye-catching piece that all you need to do is throw on your cat’s eye sunglasses and that alone will see you heading out your front door looking flawless. Whether you want to be simple and casual in flats and a struggle bun, or primed and coiffed in red lipstick and your best brush out, you will look brilliant in this dress no matter what. Add the bolero into that equation and it’s Knock Out time!
The Ronnie bolero is made in the same eye-catching birds of paradise print on the same 100% rayon fabric, so all the cooling properties detailed above apply to the bolero too. It boasts a beautiful pleated embellishment that frames the sweetheart neckline of the dress perfectly, while the cap sleeves are a comforting addition for those of us who feel most at ease with a little upper arm coverage. Even with insecurities set aside, adding this bolero to your outfit is a great way to achieve shoulder and upper back coverage from the sun if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside.
I asked for both of these pieces in the 2X since there is no stretch to this fabric. The waist flat measures 36 inches but there’s an additional 7 inches of stretch in the elasticated back panel that will give you room to get this dress on and off, and eat several slices of pizza comfortably in between. The bust flat measures 39 inches but the smocked panel allows the fit of up to 46 inches. The shoulder straps attach to the inside of the bodice discreetly by small black plastic buttons, and the end of each strap has 3 buttonholes to choose from that allows a 2.5 inch adjustment in strap length (I wore mine on the middle buttonhole.) The skirt is 31.5 inches long. The bolero is made to fit the same measurements; the armholes are just over 20 inches in circumference
The Bird of Paradise Kalani swing dress is available in sizes XS-4X, as is the matching Bird of Paradise Ronnie bolero. All of the ladies’ items in this print are currently on sale, so don’t waste any more time if you’ve got a hankering for this print!
Disclaimer: The dress and bolero featured in this review were gifted to me by Unique Vintage in exchange for writing an honest review. All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.