Wednesday, 2 January 2008

"Kimono Dreams" opening day

There's still a bit of final tweaking for tomorrow, but it is more or less done, and we opened today. Here are a few photos to give you an impression of what's on display - first, a late twentieth century uchikake wedding robe, with metallic embroidery (machined) over silk rinzu damask. It was a present from my quilting and sashiko friends Reiko and Chie. It is the star of the show and almost glows!

The kuro tomesode on the left above was also a present from Reiko. It has a similar bold floral motif to the furisode on the right, which is 1950s. The tomesode is in wonderful condition, with no fading on the black, a common problem with vintage tomesode. Alas, the furisode is not in great condition, but the design has the wow factor! And they look great displayed together.

Kuro tomesode feature at the other end of the gallery, with a selection of four, starting from the early twentieth century. Although all have various degrees of fading in the black section, the yuzen designs are still beautiful. It's a shame that there are so few occasions when kuro tomesode can be worn - only at a close relative's wedding really. The kimono on the left is ro, an openweave silk, rarely seen for modern tomesode, which are nearly all chirmen crepe. It is highlighted with hand embroidery.

In the centre (above), a fantastic bird's eye view of scenes from Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) - like looking into a Heian era dollshouse!

Below are some of the kimono from the "bridal" section - a mid twentieth century kakeshita, a wedding furisode, with cranes and waves with an Art Deco feeling. Unfortunately it couldn't be displayed with the left front crane showing, as I had to overlap the kimono in this section due to an electricity distribution box at the top left of the gallery wall... The centre "kimono" is just fabric from a Taisho uchikake, really incredible hand painted yuzen and hand embroidery. Technically, I think this is the best piece of yuzen dyeing in the whole exhibition. A complete uchikake of this type would be out of my price range, so I was lucky to have a chance for the fabric alone. Someday I would like to remake it.

Two of my favourites from the furisode section follow. The chūburisode (mid sleeved furisode) on the left has a bingata design, a dyeing style from Okinawa that has had several waves of popularity for kimono since the 1960s. I like the very fresh look of bingata and find it irresistable! The design style is eba-komon, unlike the eba-tsuke style of the kimono on the right - the pattern goes in bands across the kimono, rather than flowing across the seams. The hōmongi on the right was once a furisode, but has had its sleeves shortened, presumbaly after the owner married (the shop where I bought it told me this). It reminds me of a fantastic furisode ensemble I saw in Tokyo on seijin no hi (coming-of-age day), January 2002, the first furisode I saw that day, on my way into the railway station - although I saw lots more during the day, that was the most gorgeous, IMHO!

Finally, here are a few items from the "Kimono Curiousities" section - one of the infamous "black ship hikizuri", an unusual bridal hikizuri spotted on eBay earlier this year and a furisode that shows you how not to assemble your karinui fabric (the front has been sewn as the back and vice versa...)
Sales area and a view of the display cases (although it is hard to see what's inside!) - my vintage sewing boxes, heradai marking board and other small items.

This is just a small taste of what's on display. I hope you enjoyed your preview!


kimono hime said...

What a wonderful display! I'm glad it turned out so well. May I link to this post from my other kimono-related blog?

Susan Briscoe said...

Thanks very much! You are welcome to link to it.

Look out for more photos over the next few weeks.