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The untold modern history of the Japanese kimono and its dynamic relationship to Western culture: Japan’s engagement with Western clothing, culture, and art in the mid-nineteenth century transformed the traditional kimono and began a cross-cultural sartorial dialogue that continues to this day. This publication explores the kimono’s fascinating modern history and its notable influence on Western fashion.
Initially signaling the wearer’s social position, marital status, age, and wealth, older kimono designs gave way to the demands of modernized and democratized twentieth-century lifestyles as well as the preferences of the emancipated “new woman.” Conversely, inspiration from the kimono’s silhouette liberated Western designers such as Paul Poiret and Madeline Vionnet from traditional European tailoring. Juxtaposing never-before-published Japanese textiles from the John C. Weber Collection with Western couture, this book places the kimono on the stage of global fashion history.