In traditional Japanese dress, the surface of the garment is most important. The T-shaped, straight-seamed, front-wrapping kimono has changed its shape very little over the centuries, but the weaving, dyeing, and embroidery used to decorate its surface make each a unique, wearable work of art. Choice of color and pattern vary richly to indicate gender, age, status, wealth, and taste, and are executed in a complex combination of weaving, dyeing, and embroidery techniques, with a single garment sometimes requiring the expert skills of a number of different artisans.
Kimono showcases a magnificent range of kimonos from the the Khalili Collection, which comprises more than 200 garments and spans almost 300 years of Japanese textile artistry.
Gorgeously illustrated and written by an international team of experts, the book surveys kimono of the imperial court, samurai aristocracy, and affluent merchant classes of the Edo period (1603–1868); the shifting styles and new color palette of Meiji period dress (1868–1912); and the bold and dazzling kimono of the Taisho (1912–26) and early Showa (1926–89) periods, when designers used innovative new techniques and fused traditional looks with inspiration from the modernist aesthetic then sweeping the world.
A visual feast [and] wide-ranging and valuable survey of kimono as a reflection of Japanese history and culture.
— Library Journal
Anna Jackson is Keeper of the Asian department at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and Honorary Curator of the Khalili Collection.