PREVIEW: Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, Victoria and Albert Museum

On display from the 29th February, the V&A’s exhibition will re-examine the garment to reveal how it is a dynamic and
constantly evolving icon of fashion.

Standing Rock Cyalume ©TAKAHASHIHIROKO INC.

Considered to be the ultimate symbol of Japan, the kimono is often considered to be traditional and unchanging. This new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum will present the garment as a constantly evolving part of fashion.

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk will uncover both the sartorial and social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and in the rest of the world. It will feature rare 17th and 18th century kimono will be displayed for the first time in the UK, together with fashions by major designers and iconic film and performance costumes.

Highlights of the display will include a kimono created by Living National Treasure Kunihiko Moriguchi, the dress designed for Björk by Alexander McQueen and worn on the album cover Homogenic, and original Star Wars costumes modelled on kimono by John Mollo and Trisha Biggar. Elsewhere, designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo and John Galliano will reveal the kimono’s role as a constant source of inspiration for fashion designers.

Alongside garments, the exhibition will also include paintings, prints, film,
dress accessories and other objects, providing additional context to the fascinating story of the style, appeal and influence of the kimono.

Talking about the exhibition Anna Jackson, curator of Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at the V&A, said: ‘From the sophisticated culture of 17th -century Kyoto to the creativity of the contemporary catwalk, the kimono is unique in its aesthetic importance and cultural impact giving it a fascinating place within the story of fashion.’

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum from the 29th February 2020.

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