Thanks to a recent wedding dress trend in Japan, the classic kimono is currently undergoing a modern makeover. Today, brides-to-be often opt to transform their furisode—or “swinging sleeves”— kimonos into avant-garde gowns that combine a traditional aesthetic with a contemporary silhouette. Watabe Wedding, a Kyoto-based brand, has helped pioneer and popularize this trend with their line of for-rent kimono wedding dresses.
Called Shoen, this colorful collection features strapless dresses made out of authentic and antique furisode kimonos. The Shoen line features 5 distinctive dresses: The Tsurumomiji (“crane maple”), The Fujiageha (“wisteria and swallowtail butterfly”), The Ranbu (“orchid dance”), The Kanazuru (“gold crane”), and The Botangiku (“peony and chrysanthemum”).
The Tsurumomiji is an a-line red gown adorned with flying cranes and autumnal imagery, including chrysanthemums and bamboo and maple trees. The Fujiageha is an empire-waist dress elegantly embroidered with swallowtail butterflies and wisteria flowers. Pretty in purple, The Ranbu features a trumpet silhouette and pictures of pink Phalaenopsis orchids—a flower that symbolizes love. The Kanazuru is a radiant red gown embellished with glistening gold cranes and black chiffon accents. And, lastly, The Botangiku is a pale pink dress delicately decorated with a variety of blooms, including peonies and chrysanthemums.
The Shoen line launched last year, but it is not until recently that Watabe Wedding decided to offer its gowns to the public for rent. If you're interested in donning one of these modern-yet-traditional wedding dresses, visit the Watabe Wedding website.