Yumi Katsura may be a fashion designer, but this bridal presentation was so wildly successful that she appeared to be more of a pop icon or rock star. When people clapped in the middle of the show, one man said that he was surprised it took everyone so long to start applauding the pieces. The standing ovation was wildly enthusiastic and many people clamored for their photo with Katsura, who paraded down the runway in a royal purple ensemble, alternatively waving her hands joyfully and bowing humbly. In the lobby and the elevators, people kept raving about how much fun the show was, especially as Bridal Week can easily become monotonous. As I waited in the subway afterward, well past 10:00 p.m., two press members who had also been out all day ran over to me and gushed, “Did you see the show? Wasn’t it exciting? We had gotten so tired and the dresses were all looking the same, but this was one surprise after another!”
Katsura’s secret to Bridal Week success was simple: she mixed in an avant-garde piece every so often. Just when you were getting used to seeing white dresses, BOOM! There was a silk dress with a print of dolls all over it! Or a black and white dress actually made of paper! Or a truly unbelievable origami-inspired creation made out of straw! The latter was the most popular of all with the crowd and blurred the line between clothing and sculpture. The whole show began with a bang when the first model came out in a gargantuan lace headpiece that was held out around her body in a sphere, so that as she progressed down the runway she looked like an immense softly bobbing jellyfish.
Katsura also did something ingenious – and something that, should other designers follow suit, would make Bridal Week much more interesting: she displayed options fit for what comes after the wedding (hint hint). She had a variety of beautiful, delicate and sculptural boleros that she displayed with sexy sheer black leotards. The boleros screamed bridal while the rest screamed lingerie, and the combination screamed “wedding night couture.” And how could I fail to mention her pantsuits, one in black and one in white, both with exquisite patterns and detailing and shapes that brought to mind the kimono while incorporating a bustle or a train.
Yet even if Katsura hadn’t been avant-garde or brazenly sexy, it still would have been a beautiful show because the ‘normal’ wedding gowns were still special. Using the recurring theme of the butterfly, they employed fabric-folding techniques to great effect like thick, doughy, softened, flowing origami. The thrill of the craziest pieces was matched by the beauty of the most wearable ones. When the announcer said at the end, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the one and only internationally known designer Yumi Kat-SUUUU-RAAA!”, it seemed only fitting that she be introduced in the same voice that one would use to announce Michael Jordan’s entrance into a basketball game.
-Paula Rosine Long
Designer website: www.yumikatsura.com