Gloria Cataluna, owner, Lifestyles Boutique. Photo by Anne E. O’Malley
by Anne E. O’Malley
Editor’s note: Enjoy this archival article on Halloween that appeared a year ago in For Kaua`i and forkauionline.com. Before posting it again this year, we checked in with Gloria Cataluna to make sure things were still solid with her and her love for Halloween. She replied, “Oh, yes, I’m still addicted. I bought even more costumes for this year — I have to go to Halloween rehab!”
In her roughly 650 sq. ft. of Lihu`e storefront shopping at Lifestyles Boutique, Gloria Cataluna goes wild each year with special inventory — Halloween costumes. From August through the hallowed eve itself, she is jammed with cute, impish, sexy costumes that turn all who choose to do so into their alter egos.
It’s just part of the 10,000 or so items she carries — “I’ve got a lot of little stuff,” she says, making no apology for the array of things at her consignment boutique that has everything from prom dresses for fashionistas to would-be pirates headed to a serious trick-or-treat engagement.
If you can’t pour yourself into these cool costumes with Wonder Woman-like bustiers or micro-mini pirate skirts, you can at least don a wig, add a mask or find one of those “little stuffs” to give yourself a new look.
Each year there are new costumes, and in addition, for folks who might like to dress up as someone else or just get a good deal, there are plenty of gently worn garments that aren’t costumes.
Cataluna orders party dresses and costumes in bulk, brand new, and spends a lot of time on the Internet chasing down good deals. She’s happy to help accessorize a packaged costume with the bazillion things she has on hand.
Cataluna can’t help herself. A self-professed junkie for other people’s stuff, she was raised on secondhand consignment.
“I wanted to do a cute shop appealing to the 14 to 30 crowd, juniors, working on a younger market having trendy, stylish fashion. I thought I’d like to give it a try and found it was something I’m really good at.
Above all, though, that big day in October sparks a fever in her.
“Halloween has always been my favorite holiday,” she says. “I love dressing up, doing my house with giant spider webs, and I have always loved character play.
“Since I opened 15 years ago, I’ve had a lot of Halloween things, but then, about 10 years ago, Halloween became my priority. I think a lot of people are surprised at what they can find here — they assume you have to go online to get cool stuff.
“I put the word out there — try me first, you might be surprised at the type of things I carry here. I’m getting a reputation for saving the day.”
Um, let’s see. Oh, yes, a good example might be, say, you’re going to a Goth wedding. What does Gloria have for you?
“Thank God, I’ve got vampire teeth,” says Cataluna. “I have the good ones — you have to mold them onto your teeth, but they’re reusable — just snap them off and reuse.”
This is a place where no matter how young or how old you are, when you stumble through the doors, you’re not meant to leave easily, nor empty handed.
“I don’t care what age someone is,” she says, “I have handbags, jewelry, gifts, so even if the clothes are too young, how about a pair of Manohlo Blahnik shoes or a Coach handbag? Even guys can come in and shop and I’ll gift wrap for them,” she says.
Still, it’s the costumes, and the Halloween season that get her excited. Thinking back to last Halloween, she decides a peacock costume was the most outrageous item she carried.
“We pieced together a lot of different looks, for example, scales to put on the leg, so mermaid decals looking like peacock feathers.
“This year, I’m anticipating A Black Swan rush, because of the movie. I’m beefing up my black tutu selection and more dark items, like bustiers, black masks, exotic eye kits.
“And of course, I carry hundreds of regular costumes — pirate, cat — most are definitely sexy, designed for a younger person headed for the clubs, and I can pretty well say the majority of winners of the costume contests there are ones outfitted here. I hear this from winners who come back and let me know, for example they’ve won $200.
“But again, I have something for everyone.”
To see it is to believe it. Visit Lifestyles Boutique located on Rice Street between City Liquor and Malama Pono Health Services. Life may never be the same. Contact: 245-9397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.