Relaxed, vivid, comfortable, and suitable for all kinds of situations. There are many reasons why the Kimono is a recurring hit in modern fashion. The curious thing is that this classic Japanese dress became less popular in its land while it was being discovered in the West.
The Dutch were the first to introduce this traditional gown to Europe in the 19th century since they were the only nation allowed to trade with Japan. Later on, as the Japanese opened to the world, began an exchange in fabrics, techniques, and patterns with the European fashion industry.
First Kimono inspired dresses: the East meets the West
Fashion designers like Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, and Jeanne Paquin were the first to create dresses inspired by the traditional kimono in the 1910s and 1920s.
In the ‘60s the Parisian scene saw the emergence of designers like Kenzo Takada and Hanae Mori. Mori was the first Asian woman to be admitted as a couture design house by the Fédération Française de la Couture.
One of her most famous garments was a one-piece dress made of chirimen, a Japanese silk crêpe, with oni-shibo wrinkles.
During the late ‘80s, Japanese fashion designers Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto started the Japanese Avant-Garde Fashion movement. It combined Asian traditional inspirations with European mainstream trends.
One of the main characteristics of their work was that the kimono dresses were unisex, following their true cultural meaning. That was the peak of Japanese influence in modern fashion.
From those years until today, kimono-inspired clothes have seen a revival during the ‘90s, especially in Japan, where they were re-discovered by new generations. Now, it seems, they are coming back stronger than ever.
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