Kimono, the traditional dress of Japan with centuries-old history, has seen many revivals, and a fashion show for it in the futuristic city of Dubai could well be the latest such attempt.
Organisers hailing from the Far East nation have announced the Look Up Japan Fashion Show which will revolve around the Kimono and will be held on September 10.
In a long but winding room at the Novotel hotel in the backdrop of the World Trade Centre, Dubai’s first iconic building since the UAE came into being, the ironies were plenty.
A troop of Japanese residents in the UAE came along dressed as a pretty ensemble of Kimonos to show support to the organisers. One of them was an extremely shy and awkward septuagenarian in her late 60s and the mother of the Look Up fashion show director Rytshiko Kaneko.
Businessmen from UAE and Japan were instrumental in bringing the show together and summed up nicely by Huzaifa Ibrahim, the chairman of Global Peace Foundation. “Japan is called the Land of the Rising Sun. Dubai is a country with more than 200 nationalities and we are only happy to co-exist here in the Land of the Future,” he said to a rapturous response especially from the Japanese in the hall.
All but one of the Japanese on the dais could barely converse in English but a translator proved to be the busy link between all parties. Mr Ibrahim set the tone by understanding and took pauses for the nervous translator to get to work.
The main brainchild, the designer Yuko Murakami (pictured above), said she chose Dubai as the venue for her Kimono collection because she is trying to modernise the folk fashion in a western style and with modern-day materials using Nano technology.
There were others who were offering moral or technical support by way of their expertise. Leading businessman Yakoob Al Ali, Pakistani model-singer Azeem Tahir and Hollywood singer Persiana Dulo were some.
Another example of the wide range of cultures in the mix for this event was the choice of the show-stopper. Tall Indian model Ayesha Mulla will be the centre of attraction for the kimono show.
“It will be my first time, not only my first fashion show out of India, but also my first experience with Japanese culture and I am so excited about it,” Ms Mulla said.
The Kimono is traditionally worn with a broad sash, called an obi, and is commonly worn with accessories such as zōri sandals and tabi socks.
Sporting a bronzed tan and dressed in a suit, Ms Mulla said she did a trial on the morning of the pre-event announcement and she felt “so good” with the obi giving a hidden boost of confidence of some sorts. The way a person wears their Kimono is known as kitsuke, meaning “dressing” in Japanese.
Ms Mulla has featured lately in the remix video of the old Hindi classic “Ghar aaya mera pardesi” (translation – Home comes my outsider/ foreigner).
Given the enthusiastic response and mutual sentiments in Emirati-Japanese relations, expect to see a lot of kitsukes at the Look Up Fashion Show trying to establish an “at home” feeling in the Land of Future.