or a “Thing to wear” in its modern version is one of the best styling tricks you can choose for the time of the year when it’s hard to decide weather you need an extra layer or not. Weather it is a silk kimono dress, perfect for a special occasion or just a throw on over jeans and a tee, it is the most flattering detail for upgrading your look.
It is the piece of clothing I really love so I had to dedicate one blog post to it. And make some research about it too.
After all, my enthusiasm towards Japanese culture after my visit to the beautiful and so different Japan many years ago never left me. From that trip I brought home yukata, kimono made for everyday wear and for tourists like me that is not that expensive as the real one. Yukata is made of cotton and is worn in summer festivals. I wear it at home or at the beach or out at night. I just love it.
But the real kimono, made of silk, with golden embroidery, traditionally sewn by hand, can cost to $10k and with all the accessories like undergarments, obi, ties, socks, sandals and jewellery it can exceed $20k. It is still on my wish list.
Kimono has T shape with long, wide sleeves and straight-lined robes falling almost to the feet. It wraps around the waist always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for funeral) and is secured with the belt called obi tied at the back. Kimono is normally worn with traditional footwear called zori (flip-flops) or geta (wooden sandals) and split toe socks called tabi.
Modern Japanese women are not so skilled to put on kimono without any help because the traditional kimono outfit has 12 or more separate pieces to put on, match, secure, so they often need to hire licensed professional kimono dresser. And not only they need to know how to put on the kimono they have to know the symbolism and social messages every women needs to send wearing one like her age, marital status, level of formality of the event. Today we call them, personal stylists.
To wash a kimono they used to take its parts apart for arai hari, special method of washing parts of the kimono and the stitches too that is after it hand sawn together again. Such great care for their traditional costume. I am amazed.
Of course, men’s kimono is far more simpler and easier to dress and consists of 5 pieces. Sumo wrestlers need to wear them for the special occasions and ceremonies. It would be interesting to see them come to the ceremonies in their sports uniform, ha?!
At the end of the 19th century Western people began to wear Japanese kimonos, which loose-fitting and liberating cut made it popular in the dressing rooms.
French fashion designer, Paul Poiret, made modern and controversial 19th century version of kimono coat with its loose fitting designs without corsets underneath needed. It was the kimono’s entrance into western fashion design.
Another fashion designer, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo from Spain, under the influence of his father, the painter who was very intrigued with Orient, at the beginning of the 20th century, also experimented and succeeded in producing another type of kimono coat using its looseness in cut but as well as prints and patterns.
After that, to today, many designers found inspiration in Japanese traditional kimono outfit, like Galliano for Dior, Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton and others, and I’m happy they did and they still do, so that this beautiful and elegant clothing garment lives through all styles, traditional and modern.