London exhibition gives the traditional Japanese garment, kimono, its due respect - GulfToday

London exhibition gives the traditional Japanese garment, kimono, its due respect


A museum employee poses next to a kimono ensemble for US singer Madonna.

Everyone loves to wear the kimono. From movie greats to fashionistas, the much-loved style of  Japanese garment is worn with absolute ease.


A London show pays the fashion style its due respect by hosting an exhibition that shows the evolution of the garment from medieval times in Japan.


Freddie Mercury, Yves Saint Laurent and George Lucas were all seduced by the charms of the kimono.


A 'Chee-shie-san' ensemble by British designer John Galliano.


The kimono has been worn by Jedi knights in Lucas's "Star Wars" movie saga, and David Bowie in his futuristic alter ego Ziggy Stardust.


"Its very fluidity is, I think, what makes it such an iconic inspiration," said Anna Jackson, curator of the "Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk" exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which opens on Saturday.


V and A director Tristram Hunt said: "When we think about fashion, the kimono might not be the first item that comes to mind."


The exhibition, which runs till June 21, "challenges this perception".


A kimono, 'Engagement Ribbon' by Japanese kimono designer Tamao Shigemune.


Elegance and show


A triptych consisting of a garment from 1800, a modern one by Japanese designer Jotaro Saito and a third from 2007 by Britain's John Galliano for Dior "shows how the fashion of the kimono has been translated beyond cultural and geographic boundaries", said Hunt.


The kimono influence has even reached space, with the plain robes worn by Alec Guinness as "Star Wars" Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi forming part of the exhibition.


More than 100 items show off the contrasting variations on what was once a simple robe.


An outer-kimono for a woman (uchikake), probably from Kyoto.


The oldest, dating from around 1660 to 1680, has sober maple leaves embroidered on water motifs.


The most recent is a skateboarder-style long, hooded coat made in 2019 by the young designer Milligan Beaumont.


 'Genderless garment'


The kimono, worn by both men and women, began to appear in Europe thanks to the Dutch East India Company, which was allowed to trade with Japan despite the isolationist policy of its Edo period (1615-1868) that restricted contact with foreigners.




Unapologetic style will rule 2020 fashion Manish Malhotra


Moroccan kaftans win hearts and minds at Morocco in Abu Dhabi fashion show


Manish Malhotra opens Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive


In the 19th century, Japan began making kimonos with French silk, and Europe began making kimonos from Japanese fabrics.


Since then, it has not stopped influencing international fashion.

Over time, the traditional embroidery depicting reeds, cherry trees, water lilies, birds or dragons became sophisticated geometric or even psychedelic patterns.


French designer Jean Paul Gaultier shortened the robes to Bermuda shorts length in a fiery red 1998 creation for pop star Madonna.


Alexander McQueen widened the neck and shortened the sleeves in 1997 for Bjork -- a look as experimental and avant-garde as the Icelandic singer herself.


In 1958, Saint Laurent transformed it into a cocktail dress with a voluminous skirt and a bolero jacket.



Related articles