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Kimono (touring)

Start Date 22 November 2022
End Date 28 May 2023
Venue Musée du quai Branly
Location Paris, France
Curator Anna Jackson and Josephine Rout
Designer SKY Architects

Appearing more than a thousand years ago, the kimono – literally “what is worn” – embodies in the eyes of the Japanese the national culture and sensibility. It was at the beginning of the Edo era (1603-1868) that it became the traditional dress par excellence, worn by all Japanese, regardless of their social status or gender. A golden age that saw the extraordinary development of its production and the birth of a fashion culture thanks to the enthusiasm of the entertainment world. Celebrities and elegant people of the time – kabuki actors in the lead – then becoming the first Japanese fashion icons.

If it timidly reached the European coasts at the end of the 17th century  , it was in the 1850s, with the opening of Japan to foreign trade, that the kimono was exported to a West then fascinated by its exotic character. The enthusiasm aroused by its shape or its fabrics profoundly and radically transformed the continent’s fashion a few decades later. Subsequently exceeding its status as a symbol, disavowing its traditional and timeless character, it will lose none of its superb between the scissors of the greatest stylists around the world (like John Galliano or Alexander McQueen) or in the streets of the archipelago. , revisited in an innovative and sometimes subversive way by young Japanese people.

The exhibition designed by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London looks back on this story, that of an emblematic outfit, intimately linked to that of Japan. The kimono from every angle, or the portrait of a resolutely modern garment, across centuries and continents.