Move over little black dress, there is a new gotta-have staple in town: it’s the vintage reimagined “Vacation Vibes” kimono by Tina Zulu of Kimono Zulu.
About 2 years ago, Zulu, who always loved Japanese fashion, decided to take vintage silk, cotton and hemp imported kimonos and freshen them up by changing out the linings, shortening the hemlines, ditching the traditional belt wrappings and adding her signature touches from remnant fabrics– making each kimono an original work of art.
The kimono is an incredibly versatile piece of fashion as it can work myriad ways in a wardrobe: lightweight overcoat with jeans and a tee or over a pant suit or dress, belted as a dress itself, open as a long bathing suit cover up, worn over a nightgown as a robe and, depending on the style of the individual kimono, it can be worn like a short bolero jacket or blazer.
Zulu, who grew up in The Woodlands, owns Kimono Zulu and recently launched her vibrant “Vacation Vibes” collection to celebrate summer. This line was inspired by travel “of the glamorous gypset lifestyle,” she says.
Gypset is a smash-up of the words gypsy and jetset and coined by author, journalist and entrepreneur Julia Chaplin. She likens Gypset style to a nomadic free spirit look fused with a bon vivant existence—and describes the idea toward wearing clothes that are exotic and carefree, but yet distinctly fashionable and sophisticated.
After vacationing with family in travel hotspots like Tulum and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Zulu returned home and reimagined a bevy of traditional Japanese kimonos with new vibrant fabrics, pom pom trims and colorful fringes in an ode to the global jet-set of Latin America.
Zulu’s recent trunk show at The Brian of London Salon in the Village of Panther Creek was a smash-hit and quickly had many of The Woodlands’ fashionistas wearing colorful kimonos to holiday dinner parties and events. Now, with her new “Vacation Vibes” line, she offers something beautiful and practical to wear this warm weather season.
With each new kimono collection, Zulu offers an “Artist’s Collaboration Line” showcasing the talented kimono spins of local artists such as Uyen-My Pham of NON, Selven O’Keef Jarmon, Christy Karll, Blanca Vian of Deansley, and Judy Masliyah of My Flaming Heart with their unique “takes” on this iconic Japanese garment.
Kimono Zulu kimonos were recently featured at a “Pop Up” at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Gift Shop and will be popping up in and around the Houston and north Houston area throughout the summer. Stay tuned!
By Nickole Kerner Bobley