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Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan

Start Date 26 April 2008
End Date 20 July 2011
Venue Philadelphia Museum of Art
Location Philadelphia, USA
Curator Kristina Haugland

The Japanese kimono is celebrated worldwide for its elegant, distinctive silhouette. Though quintessentially Japanese, the kimono form has influenced fashion designers around the globe. 

This exhibition features approximately eighty-five kimono created in the early to mid-twentieth century, one of the most dynamic periods in the history of Japan’s national costume. It includes formal, semi-formal, and casual kimono, haori jackets, and under-kimono (juban) worn by men, women, and children. Some of these garments reflect historical continuity in designs and techniques, while many others illustrate a dramatic break with aspects of kimono tradition, as themes and designs from Western art began to predominate over historical Japanese references. 

The exhibition begins by focusing on the early twentieth century, the final era of the “living” kimono, that is, when kimono still remained the dress of choice, worn daily by the majority of people in Japan; it continues through the 1940s, when Western clothes had replaced the kimono for everyday wear and the garment assumed a largely formal and ceremonial meaning. 

The outstanding kimonos in the exhibition, drawn from the internationally renowned Montgomery Collection of Lugano, Switzerland, have never before been exhibited in North America. 


Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia 


Kristina Haugland • Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room and Academic Relations 


Joan Spain Gallery, Perelman Building