For months I’ve been waiting for the Kimono show at the V&A to open, so was very happy that it coincided with being in London for Collect 2020. Getting an early ticket paid off because by 11.15am it was getting crowded. I wasn’t disappointed. For me, the range of different types of kimono from early examples to modern couture, male and female, WWII propaganda, subversive feminist was fascinating. Plenty of detailed information, together with paintings on scrolls, print and book illustrations. Exquisite examples of embroidery and weave such as the dress above.
I also liked the selection of mannequins – pale grey with individual heavy grey net wig pieces suggesting the popular hairstyle of the day.
Clever use of mirrors (left) and examples of modern interpretations by designers to keep the tradition of kimono alive and current.
I always loved this Nick Knight photo of Bjork wearing Alexander McQueen, styled by Katy England, referencing kimono, and Masai neck rings on her album cover Homogenic. While I was sketching ideas, a young Brazilian fashion designer struck up conversation with me; she’d just arrived from three weeks in Japan and should have flown to Italy but couldn’t because of the coronavirus, so landed in London and discovered to her delight this fabulous show was on. It was lovely to chat with Mara as we passed each other looking around the show; sharing insights and beauty with a stranger, but she wasn’t, because we both shared a love of Japanese culture.
V&A. Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk. to 21 June 2020.