Fashion

FIDé Fashion Weeks 2013: Asian Couture (Japan) – Yumi Katsura, The Whimsical Fairy God-Mother

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While I thought that most fashion shows would start fashionably late, but it wasn’t the case for Yumi Katsura’s fashion show which started promptly right on time at 9 pm. Yumi Katsura, whom I called the ‘fairy godmother of bridal fashion’, would probably agree with me that time and tide wait for no man. Time is certainly precious and once the clock strikes twelve, Cinderella in her beautiful gown needs to make a dash back home.
She must have own a magical wand which could instantly transform pieces of fabrics into a beautiful-looking and romantic wedding gown that will make any bride looking like princesses from those Disney fairytales. And her ‘magical powers’ all began with the quest for the most glitteringly beautiful bride.

I would be the luckiest woman on earth if I could wear one of Yumi Katsura’s bridal gowns on my wedding day as I walked down the aisle with a beautiful shower of rose petals and glitter falling upon me. It might all sounded too surreal for not in Yumi Katsura’s world where dreams could be made reality. And that was exactly what I’ve experienced and witnessed at her fashion show that night.

Yumi Katsura, is one of Japan’s and the world’s most prolific couturiers, whose wedding dresses are considered modern masterpieces. Her journey to the fashion industry has probably started with her pursuit in studying fashion where she graduated from Kyoritsu Women’s University with a degree from the Department of Apparel Science Studies. Later, she moved over to Paris where she studied the techniques of haute couture at Les Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale de La Couture Parisienne. Her exhaustive list of accolades couldn’t be summarize in just a page. The numerous awards she have garnered has made her a global design leader in the fashion industry.
Her immense passion and drive in designing wedding dresses has also led her to establish her very own bridal museum called the Yumi Katsura Bridal museum (since 1988) in Kobe. Her museum features exhibits of traditional bridal gowns from all over the world! It was only later on, when she finally opened the Yumi Katsura Bridal House New York on Madison Avenue in New York City. Her success did not just end here as she strives to make breakthroughs in the bridal fashion industry where she has cleverly turns Japanese traditional wedding kimonos into sensational dresses that were made more convenient for women to put on. She not only work on bridal gowns, but also bridal accessories, men’s formal wear and haute couture dresses.
And that night, Yumi Katsura’s fashion show left the audience in awe with her take on Japanese traditional wedding dress with elaborated designs that look like watercolour paintings emblazoned on the specially-innovated light fabric that flutters in the wind like butterfly wings. Coating the fabric is a sheer layer of sparkly silver dust that glitters under the light. She has made Japanese traditional wedding dresses that looked so desirable and stunning that made several females in the crowd exclaimed in delight.
It wasn’t just about the dresses that appealed to me but also the little surprises and entertaining acts which Yumi Katsura had so creatively woven seamlessly into her fashion show. First, she had her models donned in traditional Japanese wedding costumes, complete with Japanese wooden clogs where the models had to put her heel aside and parade down the runway with her clogs in small baby steps with poise. Suddenly, the atmosphere changes along with the background music and I was immediately brought to the land of Sakura.
The audiences could not have been more entertained than to watch how the model transform her couture blue western dress into a white and flawless long wedding gown in an instant. After the unanimous applause came another surprise where suddenly the lights went out and gowns on the three models started to glow in the dark with the LED lights attached.
Finally, the fashion show ends with a model wearing one of Yumi Katsura’s most expensive gown to date which worth millions of dollars. To end on a memorable note, Yumi Katsura pays tribute to Singapore by playing Singapore’s national anthem and getting her models to wave mini Singapore flags as they walked down the runway. This well-respected fashion designer receives a standing ovation from the crowd and I, too, felt the urge to do a Japanese bow ( if only I wasn’t sitting right infront of a throng of photographers.)
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This article was also published on anashell.com
( Photos and words by Deenise Glitz. All images are unedited.)

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