French Festival returns to Honolulu, Maui this fall

HONOLULU -- The third annual French Festival will be held Oct. 22 to Nov. 4 this year in Honolulu and on Maui.

The two-week festival is a joint effort of the state of Hawaii; the city and county of Honolulu; visitor organizations, and, for the first time, Whalers Village, a shopping complex at Maui's Kaanapali Beach Resort.

With more than 30 sponsors, including French and French-affiliated retailers, shopping centers and hotels, the festival will be held at more than 25 Honolulu locations. Most events will be free. Almost all 60 shops and restaurants at Whalers Village will participate.

Neiman Marcus' Ala Moana store in Hawaii.

Honolulu cultural partners are the Contemporary Museum (with an exhibit of French works), the Honolulu Academy of Arts (also with a French exhibit) and the Hawaii Theatre (with Momix, a French-inspired dance ensemble).

Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Halekulani will participate again with events and special packages.

The festival highlight will be a black-tie gala fashion ball, held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Oct. 30. Ala Moana Center -- including the 160,000-square-foot Neiman Marcus which opened at the center last fall -- and the Royal Hawaiian Center will have French themes and events.

Fashions and fragrances are being produced exclusively for the festival. Celine will create a handbag for the festival; Christian Dior will unveil its latest creations, and Chanel will introduce Chanelchat, an Internet fashion chat site.

Cartier will have pieces from its 150-year history on display; Sonia Rykiel will produce a limited-edition festival logo item, and Louis Vuitton will have an exhibit in which visitors can design their own handbags.

Call the festival's hot line at (877) THE-FEST.

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