Kimono fashion, 2003 compared to 2007 (2)

July 11, 2009

For those of you who have read the 400-page history of kimono by Dalby, you will realise that kimono is an ever-changing phenomenon. The point of my photos here is to show that the tradition keeps changing ever so subtlely over time.


Just to reiterate how suprising for me was in 2007, compared to 2003, the switch to a very pronounced large open bow for the obi. You’ll notice too that while the obijime is tied conventionally, there is added a ‘necklace’ of gold at the top of the obi. With connotations of the Middle East about it, keep in mind that a blockbuster exhibition of Topkapi Turkish Ottoman accessories was in town at the time.


Regrettably this is a none-too-clear photo, but with a major Kyoto shibori exhibition in the foyer of the Kyoto Trad Arts & Crafts Museum across town, there was a tie-in with this white shibori waves/clouds on maroon. You’ll notice how conventional the obi and obijime are, compared to the more ‘daring’ on the day. Viewed from the side, noting the flowing ‘river’ of tsutsugaki stencil-print boats within the white shibori and an interesting variation on the theme towards the hem, here flowers and leaves…



Now in 2003 I was hunting for kumihimo so I took this closeup of obi and obijime on a dark pink crane kimono. Within the strong diamonds of the obi are the traditional stylized paulownia flowers and leaves. The obijime is a double-layer takadai flat braid done in red and gold metallic thread in a chequerboard pattern. What I find difficult in braiding these chequerboard patterns is getting the crisp 90-degree angles required.


I include a full-length shot mainly for the white zori shoes, which seems to somewhat self-consciously ‘lift’ the whole off the floor.


I conclude with two of the more conservative kimono (unless I’m mistaken both from 2007): delicate white flowers on a plain kimono, including a very fetching single flower near the neckline, with a very subtle maroon obiage and the gold picked up in the florals of the obi (?red-gold plum and yellow-gold karabana) as well as the gold metallic on blue in the double-layer takadai flat braid obijime. The pearls in the hair make a nice touch also.


Lastly cranes near Mount Fuji in the kimono on a plain grey sky – the colours of the landscape picked up again in the brocade kimono (unusually with stripes)  and a dark red obijime.


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