Release date: September 18



FIJI FASHION WEEK 2011 Children’s Wear Designer of the Year and Pacific Designer of the Year winner Ellena Tavioni catapulted to instant international stardom in the Solomon Islands yesterday when the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kate Middleton made a last minute decision to don a garment now nicknamed the Kate Middleton dress.

In a move uncharacteristic of the British Royal Family, Princess Kate decided against a garment prepared months before in London after finding the Kate Middleton dress laid out for her in her Honiara hotel room, a reported Solomon Islands government move.

FJFW Managing Director congratulated the Cook Islands Resortwear manufacturer. “TAV has shown at FJFW the past two years and we are looking forward to possibly seeing her again this year, although we will understand if she is now too busy given her instant stardom,” Ms Whippy-Knight jokingly said.

“In a single half hour the Duchess catapulted Ms Tavioni and TAV Resortwear to international stardom and we at FJFW are excited for Ellena and for her company.”

TAV online retailers and those in Fiji have received sudden interested in TAV wear overnight, given the royal ‘endorsement’. In Fiji, TAV childrens war is sold at Aladdin’s Cave and at Womens wear is sold at Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau’s Pearl Traders and Outfitters.

Mrs Ganilau said it was exciting that a designer of her caliber who is well known to local fashion followers has received this kind of attention.

“I am just so proud of Ellena because she does a lot of civic work and is quite a socially responsible business woman. Over the years, she has always been on hand to clothe the people of the Cook Islands representing her country overseas.

“TAV has dressed the sports teams of the Cook islands to the Pacific Games, people going abroad to attend conferences and seminars and very recently she dressed all the leaders at the Forum Island Leaders meeting held in her country.”

“She does a lot of work, never in the front crowing about it too. We have been friends for many years and in that time, I have always known her to be a diligent worker going about her way building her business.

TAV Resortwear first came to Fiji Fashion Week in 2010 and again in 2011 in the Pacific Wear and the Childrens category, taking out top honours in both categories.  In 2011, Ms Tavioni even made a rare appearance on the runway, modeling some of her own designers.

“This is the sort of recognition we are working hard to nurture. Obviously having the future Queen of England wear a garment is an almost impossible dream, but being the only Fashion Week event in the Pacific, we do not just represent Fiji designers. By creating an entire show entitled Tribe Echoes of the Pacific, we continue to prioritise our Pacific family. We will continue to work hard to push the frontiers of fashion and therefore bring attention to our shores.”

This year’s “Tribe Echoes of The Pacific” starts off FJFW 2012 and is held on Thursday 18th October, 2012. Fiji’s own Robert Kennedy opens the night while French Designer Kathryn Pradeau is scheduled to close the night with her ethnic inspired range.  Also part of the lineup of designers are the Samoa Mamanu & Elei Association with 4 different designers from Samoa and Fine Tokavahua from Wallis & Futuna.

Ms Whippy-Knight said the Solomon Islands government deserved a lot of praise for practicing Pacific solidarity. “The Solomon Islands government left the garments as a gift for the couple, a real token of what we are in the Pacific – a united people in one ocean.”

Ellena Tavioni is a typical Pacific islander in that she comes from a family of artists: sculptors, carvers, painters and poets, all of whom have influenced her life and work.

At FJFW, Ms Tavioni described her brand as representing the romance and escapism which best describes the mood of the Pacific. TAV Resortwear uses traditional motifs, such as sea life, flora and fauna patterns in a Pacific method of print design called block printing along with hand painting and dip dyeing. All of her garments are labour intensive, utilizing decades old methods of Pacific art and all being done on the island of Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


For more information, please contact Lice Movono-Rova on +679 9301201/7088819  or email

About FJFW
Fiji Fashion Week is an annual event aiming to foster fashion design and creativity.  Through a series of shows FJFW offers Pacific designers a marketing platform to promote their garments.  FJFW fosters small businesses particularly emerging designers from our Pacific region to become commercially minded.  By supporting FJFW you are supporting these small-business owners.  FJFW is from 18th to 20th October and tickets are available from the Fiji Fashion Week booth on the ground floor of MHCC, by emailing or by calling Lite on 7088896.

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