Romance of the Islands

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Story by Taj Morgan | Photos: Nina Lee

Tamara Catz wedding dresses
Silk satin strapless dress embroidered with fern-leaf motif. Matching bridesmaid’s dress in coral with embroidered fern-leaf motif.

When Tamara Catz moved to Maui fifteen years ago to marry her windsurfer husband, she couldn’t find the dress.

“The Cinderella thing didn’t do it for me,” says Catz. “I wanted something that was more real—but still romantic and feminine.”

She chose a dress she’d designed herself, in blue. “It was my husband’s favorite color, kind of an ocean blue,” Catz says, but it wasn’t “wedding attire.” Now she hopes her line of bridal couture will answer the quest of nontraditional brides.

By the time she graduated high school, Catz was already working as a jeans fit model and fashion designer in Argentina. Formal fashion schooling in New York and Maui translated into her own brand and exclusive boutique, which opened in Pa‘ia in early 2000. The Tamara Catz resort line made an immediate splash in celebrity circles and fashion magazines. Now Catz has taken the same sleek patterns, extended their lengths and chosen a palette of whites to create wedding dresses with continued wearability after the big day.

Tamara Catz wedding dress
Silk chiffon dress embroidered and beaded with mother-of-pearl. Spaghetti straps cross in back.

She emphatically refuses to follow mainland fashion trends, instead embracing the Islands’ beauty in her designs.

“I want the dresses to flow, to tie in with the natural elements,” she says. The gowns feature sheer fabrics and natural fibers adorned with shells, leaves and flowers as prints, embroidery or embellishments.

Her advice to brides? “You are beautiful, and the dress has to reflect that.”

Tamara Catz is located at 83 Hana Highway in Pa‘ia, and online at tamaracatz.com.

Tamara Catz dresses
Silk satin dress with silver embroidered and beaded neck and empire waist.

 

 

 

Art direction: Cecilia Fernández Romero
Models: Heather Ko‘omoa
Ganancial and Karla Yankovich
Jewelry: Nina Kuna Designs
Makeup: Natasha Ramirez of MAC
Hair styles: Alix Buchter
Floral designs: Erica Rasmussen
for Haleakala Wholesale Florist
Location: Ha‘iku Mill


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