A book aimed at Japanese culture enthusiasts but also people passionate about aesthetics, design, art and fashion. An important and delightful book about the kimono, that splendid item of Japanese traditional costume that is also a work of art.
In the mid-19th century, Japan was opening up to Western culture and trade between the East and Europe/America sparked a cultural wave of Japonisme. Since then, the allure of the Rising Sun has never ceased to fuel the dreams of collectors and art lovers. This was the cultural setting for the start of the extraordinary Khalili Collection of over 200 kimonos, some of the most significant hand-made items of the Japanese culture. The kimono – the traditional costume of Japanese society, codified according to ancient rules which determine the gender, class and status of the person wearing it – is distinctive for its essential “T” shape and made from cuts of fabric which hang straight down from the shoulder. A central seam down the back holds the two halves together, to which the sleeves, collar and over-collar are attached. The garment is wrapped around the body with the left part overlapping the right and held in place by a broad belt, the obi. Although the kimono has changed little, over the centuries, the variety of decoration has changed radically with passing time, transforming it into a true work of art. Silks and fabrics in an infinite range of colours, hand-woven decorative motifs and extremely fine embroidered motifs are all part of a figurative art thousands of years old. The art of the kimono has enormous significance in Japanese culture as a powerful reflection of its traditions. The astonishing beauty of these garments, to which this book pays tribute thanks to illustrations of decorative motifs of great visual impact, has influenced generations of artists, designers and stylists the world over.