The ranks of contestants has thinned.
In the beginner section, I like this one because it's modern-looking with distinct traditional Japanese motifs and accessories.
The image suffers from uneven lighting which seems to be a problem the majority of the entries suffer from. Some aren't lit well enough at all and the beauty of the fashion can't be seen.
This entry in the intermediate category is so gorgeous but it's difficult to see except in the last image where the pieces are turned inside out. The linings are fantastic. Layer upon layer - just like a real kimono with a truly modern, wearable twist.
In the professional category, the following entry is just stunning. There is very little 'kimono' incorporated but I would love this outfit for my dolls. Again, the photograph does not enhance the beauty of the fashion although the images submitted for the photography portion of the contest are lit much better.
There is no law against using the same color for the backdrop as the doll is wearing. It's the light and shadow that will make or break the photo. Photography is about light, not about color. Of course I'm coming from old school photography - film, darkrooms, black & white, etc.
Go to this page to see all the entries for this segment of the contest. http://www.couturedoll.com/ch5.html