For many decades, Yumi Katsura has been widely known as one of Japan’s leading bridal designers. When she started her label in 1964, she became the first Western-style wedding dress designer in Japan. Though lovely, her wedding dress designs are pretty standard as far as bridal fashion goes. But in 2012, the then-80-year-old designer decided she wanted to bring back the Kimono, both in its traditional forms and in new and exciting ways. Her new line, which she called Beyond East and West, was launched to much-deserved acclaim.
“Japanese people may wear kimono at a wedding or for their coming-of-age ceremony, but that’s it. I felt an urgent need to preserve the art of couture Japanese techniques like yūzen and shibori in my own way. And, since the bridal season comes just once a year, I decided there was something I could design in the interim.”– Yumi Katsura interview with Japan Times
As part of her push to encourage a younger Japanese audience to consider wearing kimono, the innovative designer also offers kimono rental services in both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only does the 5-hour rental include a kimono of your choice with traditional underwear, sandals, socks, and hair accessories, it also comes with complimentary dressing services!
You can see all of Yumi Katsura’s gorgeous kimono and kimono-inspired fashion on her fashion website, her wedding dresses on her bridal website, and you can rent her kimono here. You can also follow Katsura on Instagram.