Want to know the history and symbolism of the Kimono?


The kimono is a garment immediately associated with Japanese culture. But it is not just any garment. Its style, motifs, colors and materials contain symbolic messages and meanings.

Come and discover its history and decode its symbolism in the virtual exhibition in five episodes of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

You can also know its influence in the Western art and the fascination it has generated in some great artists.

Exhibition : Kyoto to Catwalk

Below in this article you can see the 5 episodes of the virtual exhibition with the respective summary of contents.

The kimono in art

Until the 19th century, Japan remained quite isolated from the Western World, thus being closed to its influences and vice versa.

However, with British colonization in the 19th century, the Japanese territory began to open up to external influences and the old Japanese social system was reformed.

Japanese art is discovered by European artists. And, of course, this garment.

See how it was represented by some great artists.

The Courtesan (1887), Vincent Van Gogh (painting based on a Japanese print; Van Gogh Museum, Holland).

kimono tissotTissot – La Japonaise au Bain (1864), Musée des Beaux arts de Dijon

kimono Claude MonetClaude Monet, Madame Monet in Japanese costume

Exhibition Kimono – Kyoto to Catwalk (V&A)

Episode 1

This film looks at: kimono as fashion | the Edo period | the thing to wear |  haute couture of its day | construction | kimono and the body | surface pattern, colour and technique | dyeing and embroidery | social status | samurai taste | displaying

Episode 2

This film looks at: Edo period | Merchant class affluence and taste | changes in patterns and motifs | the obi | fashion in woodblock prints | wedding  | men’s  | kabuki actors and fashion | courtesans and kimono

Episode 3

This film looks at: Dutch trade with Japan | foreign fabrics in Japan | impact of first kimono in Europe | opening of Japan | Japonisme  | Meiji period fashions |  for foreigners

Episode 4

This film looks at: early 20th-century western fashions | fascination for East Asia | new designs in Japan | impact of chemical dyes | new department stores

Episode 5

This film looks at:  fashion today | codification  | wedding  | Living National Treasures | revival of hemp |  renaissance | international fashion | collaborations | kimono in film |  music performance

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