Kimono reading galore!

There have been several articles on kimono in the news recently. From The Globe and Mail, Japanese artist Mamechiyo has recast the traditional garment as a decidedly contemporary art form, discussing her kimono and her North American debut show in Toronto, Canada (which runs until April 2). An excerpt from the end of the article:

Mamechiyo doesn’t see the kimono merely as an art form on which to juxtapose modernity; back home she agitates for its revival as daily clothing. She says it’s enjoyed a renaissance in the past three or four years.

“It’s about living kimono as a lifestyle, a philosophy.”

For Mamechiyo (who has not seen the costume-Oscar-winning Memoirs of a Geisha), wearing a kimono is almost a meditative act.

“When you wear a kimono, it takes effort. It takes longer and is restrictive. It gives you the opportunity to think and remember things. It slows you down,” she says. “Everyone has in themselves sincerity and the ability to feel delightful in things around them.”

The V&A Museum has a beautiful real-life and online exhibition: Fashioning Kimono: Dress in early 20th century Japan. In a nice contrast to the usual focus on formal kimono, there are amazing everyday kimono! From the introductory article:

Although western-style clothes were gaining popularity among women, the kimono continued to be worn. The traditional cut of the garment remained the same, but the motifs were dramatically enlarged and new designs appeared, inspired by western styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Their striking patterns reflected the confident spirit of the age and provided an exuberant visual statement for the modern, independent, urban woman.

Finally, costume designer for the film Memoirs of a Geisha Colleen Atwood recounts how she learned about kimono in How to get that kimono right. I appreciate that she ends with “a real purist of this would have a heart attack,” because on seeing the film’s kimono, I indeed did… :) However, reading about her discovery of kimono is nonetheless interesting!

3 Responses to “Kimono reading galore!”

  1. Akané Says:

    Hello, my name is Akané, a japanese woman living in Paris.
    I’m very found of kimono myself and I am pleasantly surprised to find such an informative site about kimono in English!
    What a treasure house of great kimono-related references!

    It seems that you haven’t up-dated your site in two months.
    I look forward to reading your new articles soon.

    Best,
    Akané

  2. Becky J Says:

    Hi, my name is Becky and I am doing some reasearch for a story I am writing that takes place in Japan, although, a kind of alternate universe Japan. Anyway, I have been finding that reasearching the traditional dress wear of Japan has been difficult so I am very glad to find your helpful website. however, I was wondering, do you know of any places were I can find information on traditional foot wear? Like, geta or zori shoes? I heard about zori shoes becuase it was a detail mentioned in the book Memoirs of a Geshia, but what do they look like and when would someone where them?
    Anway,
    Thank you for humoring my rambling comment.
    Hope you can help,
    Becky

  3. Cosplay Says:

    Wow, superb weblog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The total glance of your site is magnificent, let alone the content material!

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