KIMONO ARTISTRY The exhibit includes incredible historical silk textiles from the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods. During the Kamakura period and Muromachi period, for example, both men and women wore brightly colored kimonos. Kimonos are secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back and generally worn with traditional footwear and split-toe socks. Warriors were a sight and dressed in colors representing their leaders. You can imagine the battlefield was a giddy, gaudy fashion show. The pattern of the kimono can determine in which season it should be worn. Watery designs are common during the summer. A pattern with butterflies or cherry blossoms may be worn in spring. A popular autumn motif is the russet leaf of the Japanese maple, for winter, designs may include bamboo, pine trees and plum blossoms. Every stitch of silk thread and delicate brush stroke conveys the pride and dedication of the artist. A touch of gold leaf adds elegance, embroidery enriches the surface of design and hand-painted scenery provides a visual masterpiece.
A FAR REACHING INFLUENCE Visitors will discover the artistry and craftsmanship involved in creating the iconic symbol of Japan and at the same time realize the far reaching influence that the Japanese aesthetic has had on fashion, interior design and art in the Western world. Through a wide range of historical periods, decorative techniques and styles, these kimonos serve to unite the past and present with historical reverence to the artists who created them. The skills utilized in the couture creations on display are skills mastered over a lifetime and passed down through generations. This rare opportunity to view such a breathtaking collection serves as inspiration for designers in fashion, design and architecture.
KIMONO TODAY Kimonos as we know them today came into being during the Hein period (794-1192) when a new kimono-making technique was developed known as the straight-line-cut method. It involved cutting pieces of fabric in straight lines and sewing them together. With this technique, kimono makers did not have to concern themselves with the shape of the wearer’s body. The straight-line-cut had many advantages; they were easy to fold, could be worn in layers to provide warmth in winter and lighter fabrics such as breathable linen was comfortable for summer.
FASHION HAS HAD A LONG LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE KIMONO. FRENCH FASHION COUTURIERS, PAUL POIRET AND MADELEINE VIONNET CELEBRATED THE KIMONO IN THEIR COLLECTIONS AS DO MODERN RUNWAY SHOWS. FASHIONABLE WOMEN CALL THE KIMONO THEIR OWN AND WEAR KIMONOS OVER PANTS OR LONG SKIRTS TO THE OPERA AND TO GALAS. THE KIMONO IS ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE ARTICLES OF CLOTHING IN THE WORLD. IT TRANSCENDS HISTORICAL, CULTURAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL BORDERS WITH AN ARTISTIC LANGUAGE THAT SPEAKS TO US ALL.