IDABEL, Okla.—If the Hawaiian shirt evokes feelings of relaxed sartorial splendor, a new exhibit now up at the Museum of the Red River may be just the thing to see and experience.
"Art of the Aloha Shirt: Keoni of Hawaii, 1938-51" runs through Aug. 11 and sports several of the iconic looks that have made the Aloha shirt, or the Hawaiian shirt, a must-have for tourists visiting the Hawaiian islands. Its popularity picked up during the 1930s and then boomed after World War II.
An Exhibits USA exhibition, "Art of the Aloha Shirt" focuses on one of its most successful designers, John "Keoni" Meigs," who fashioned his first designs of Polynesian tapa patterns in 1938, according to a news release from the Museum of the Red River. In all, Keoni designed as many as 300 such Aloha shirts.
About his work, he said, "In a sense, Aloha shirts put Hawaii on the map. The first thing people did when they arrived was make a beeline for a department store to buy one. A lot of kooky things were designed, but I always tried to be a purist when it came to using motifs from Hawaiian sources."
As for the Hawaiian shirt, it's enjoyed some recent buzz with the new season of the Netflix TV show "Stranger Things." The normally rumpled and gruff Hawkins Chief of Police Jim Hopper received glowing social media chatter and praise for the Hawaiian shirt he donned. Perhaps that's the summer look this year, to be like the Hop and go Hawaiian.
The exhibit at MoRR incorporates vintage shirts, production drawings, advertisements and more to discuss the importance of the Aloha shirt. For more information, visit MuseumOfTheRedRiver.org.