The Kimono: Fashion's Latest Inspiration
Spring has sprung! From blooming trees to floral kimono's, Paris has so much to offer at this time of the year...
If you follow fashion, you've probably noticed a surge in women wearing kimono's outside of the house, both on the streets and out at night. This more covered-up version of the "Lingerie all day" trend (see earlier post) is a fun way to wear all of the beautiful silk and floral kimono's that we're seeing in the stores for Spring.
The kimono itself originated in Japan and actually became a thing back in the 1600's. The Matsuzakaya fashion house was one of the early producers and, after opening their shop in 1611, soon became the official supplier of kimono's to the Japanese nobility. Over the years, Matsuzakaya grew into a department store and their collecion of kimono's became world-renown.
Happening now through May 22nd and for the first time outside of Japan, the Musée Guimet in the 16th Arr. of Paris is showcasing around 150 Matsuzakaya kimono's in a gorgeous exhibit titled, Kimono, The Ladies Delight. Tracing the evolution of the kimono and its accessories throughout the years, the exhibition does an excellent job of showing not only the exquisite craftsmanship that goes into many kimono's, but also its reinterpretations over the years.
In Japanese culture, the kimono was originally worn by the aristocracy as an undergarment, then by the samurai as an outer garment, before quickly becoming commonly accepted as a garment for all classes of people. In the mid-19th century, it made its way over to Europe where French fashion designers soon started incorporating the look into their designs. Designers such as Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet became early fans, paving the way later down the road for more contemporary designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano and Franck Sorbier, just to name a few.
Even Japanese designers have claimed its influence in their own work. Well known designer Kenzo Takada has stated, “It’s thanks to the kimono that I found my identity. When I opened my boutique (in Paris) in 1970, I told myself, I’m Japanese, I probably know kimono’s and Japanese traditions better than French designers and I should take advantage of that.”
What is beautiful about this exhibit is you see traditional, vintage kimono’s, along with their high fashion interpretations, all curated to work together seamlessly in the space. It is important to note as well that the particularly fragile works from the house of Matsuzakaya will be completely replaced during the exhibition in April, creating a perfect excuse to go back and see it again!
If you can’t get to Paris, however, you can still enjoy the kimono experience by shopping the look through my edited picks below…