Exclusive Look: 55th Yumi Katsura Grand Collection

Canon Hirata in white stylish wedding dress
My favorite model, Canon Hirata.

In February 2020, I attended the “55th Yumi Katsura Grand Collection in Tokyo”.  It was a bridalwear show. I was ecstatic when I received an invitation from one of Japan’s premier fashion designers.

Of course, it was my first time to photograph such an event. I’d even shot only one model before that. And that was at Yoyogi Park. This time, it was at the prestigious Hotel Okura in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

I arrived at Hotel Okura in old jeans and a jumper. Was I a little casual? That was an understatement. I was blown away when I walked into the reception. Everyone was at their fashionable best. I felt quite the fool.

But what else would you expect at a Yumi Katsura event? I should have known better. But fashion has never been my strong point. Ask anyone who knows me.

My minders put me at ease. “Rohan, you’re a photographer. No one cares what you wear”, they said. That put me at ease. Anyway, the room was dark when the show started, so it didn’t matter at all.

For a budding photographer, it was an incredible event. The clothes were great. There were so many beautiful and handsome models. It seemed that Yumi had invited all of Tokyo’s rich and famous.

Who is Yumi Katsura?

Yumi Katsura is a Japanese fashion designer specializing in wedding dresses. She has been working in the fashion industry for more than sixty years. Her designs combine traditional Japanese elements and French savoir-faire.

She was born in 1932 but is still working today! Her accomplishments include:

  • Opening Japan’s first bridal store in Akasaka, Tokyo, in  1964.
  • Designing the 1993 Easter vestments for Pope John Paul II.
  • Publishing more than twenty books on bridal fashion. She also has an English one, “Yumi Katsura: Behind the Scenes.”
  • Creating a wedding gown using ultra-fine silk from Fukushima. The dress used 55 meters of fabric but weighed only 600 grams.
  • Holding the Guinness World Record for most pearls in a wedding dress, 13,262.

What camera gear did I use for this Yumi Katsura event?

  • Fujifilm X-T2 camera.
  • Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens.

Reflections from the day

  • I was happy with my photos of the event. It went better than I expected. I used the 55-200 mm lens for it. While it wasn’t the best gear for this event, it performed well. Read my review of it here.
  • The only problem was me! I was nervous and so stayed in the same place. If I could photograph this event again, I would move around the room more.
  • Then, I could have got pictures from different angles. That is my one regret. To act boldly would have gotten me better results. Still, I’m satisfied with this first try.

Wrapping up

Well, for that first article, I only published eight photographs. It was always my plan to write another with more images. So now, I have finally gotten around to it. Yes, it’s taken a long time, I know. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them.

And there is one more reason for this article. Recently, I tore my calf muscle while running for a train! That has reduced my mobility considerably. So, it gives me another reason to publish older photographs. Please leave questions and comments below.

Yumi Katsura receiving roses
Yumi receiving her roses for a successful show.

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