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Les Influences du Kimono sur la Mode Occidentale
February 17, 2020

The Influences of the Kimono on Western Fashion

5 min read

The kimono enjoys greater prominence and influence in the fashion world today than ever before. There was a time, however, when traditional clothing seemed threatened with disappearing from the daily wardrobe of Japanese women. Relegated to rare outings and special occasions for formal events such as weddings, coming of age, and tea ceremonies.

However, in recent years, it has seen a resurgence of interest, attracting attention both in Japan and abroad as a sophisticated and elegant form of clothing suitable for everyday occasions. and formal. This Japanese dress has influenced the ideas of many stylists and inspired new fashion resources. You could say that few traditional clothes have inspired designers as much as the kimono.

1) The Kimono: A global fashion icon


Louboutin Japon For its men's spring / summer 2018 collection, the Maison Margiela fashion house provided some spectacular examples of the influence of the Kimono. John Galliano from this same house designed a men's coat from a colorful and luxurious antique obi, the obi being the belt to tie a kimono. Likewise, Christian Louboutin has designed a pair of boots for the fall / winter 2017 collection of luxurious textiles inspired by a design kimono from the end of the Edo period (mid-19th century), with bamboo, plum blossoms and cranes.

This craze, which is now democratized in the West, has a rather busy past that we will see below.
But before going there, we recommend that you take a closer look at the Vintage-Styles clothing store, which for us is a true example of refined Western style.

Vintage Styles


2) Japonism and the kimono craze

Exposition Kimono The fascination with traditional styles of Japan reveals the influence of kimono on Western aesthetics. In the 17th century, the main traders of the Dutch East India Company in Japan brought with them padded kimonos when they returned to Holland, and were popular as men's indoor clothing.

Light and warm, these exotic Japanese dressing gowns were called Japonse rok. They became extremely popular, appearing in portraits of the time and even giving rise to copies in neighboring countries.

A wave of enthusiasm for all things Japanese swept through Europe and the United States during the second half of the 19th century; this is what has been called Japonism. The impact that art styles like ukiyo-e had on Impressionist painters is well documented. However, the influence that kimono has also had on fashion is less well known.

Do the design and style of these kimonos catch your eye? You can get them directly from our collection of Traditional Kimono Men, and we also have them for Women!

Poiret Kimono The relationship between Parisian fashion and kimono developed naturally. Women fell in love with the beautiful exotic clothes, which they wore to relax at home. Designers in Paris and London then started using kimono fabric for their own designs. The Japanese-inspired designs were eventually used for silk fabrics by textile manufacturers in Lyon, marking their debut on the Parisian fashion scene.

At the start of the 20th century, Parisian designers were the first to notice the graceful, draped shape of Japanese clothing. Around 1910, coats and dresses whose silhouettes echo those of uchikake kimonos or kimonos worn by the beauties represented in the prints ukiyo-e start to appear. The nukiemon neckline style of lowering the back hem to expose the nape of the neck has become popular, as have long sleeves and details reminiscent of belts obi adorned.

Pioneer designers like Vionnet and Poiret were inspired by the construction technique of the kimono straight cut, and in the 1920s, fashion was increasingly characterized by cylindrical designs made up of straight lines made by sewing together rectangular shaped pieces. This brought a new methodology into traditional European tailoring, which was based on the ideals of volume and three-dimensionality.

From this period, the structure and shape of clothing changed, with stylists moving away from the shape of the human body to open up to wider possibilities. of a more free range of shapes. In this way, the kimono transcended the superficial appeal of the exotic and made an impact on fashion as a whole.


3) Japanese designers are changing the fashion world

Exposition Vetement Japonais

The Japanese stylists used a straight seam that shows a clear debt to the kimono culture, loosely enveloping the body rather than following up close to its natural curvature. From the perspective of traditional Western tailoring, which sought to recreate the lines of the human body, the approach was very unorthodox.

The kimono occupies inexplicable spaces in the notion of Western clothing, and at the time when fashion is moving towards a freer definition of form and appearance, this different sense of space gave an advantage to Japanese designers. Their designs helped shatter the historical and symbolic significance of Western clothing, bringing a more ambiguous definition of femininity by dismantling the idea that women's clothing should emphasize flowing, curvy lines.

Ultimately, the Japanese influence dismantled the rigid Western notion that had dominated until then and helped steer fashion in new directions.

4) Japanese textiles in tradition and in the present

Exposition Tissu Japonais Although the Japanese creations by these artists are often controversial, their use of materials is highly regarded. The fabric, or the material, is an essential element to obtain new expressions in clothing and to give birth to dynamic forms that combine cutting-edge qualities and creativity.

In the kimono, with its homogeneous shape, fabrics hold the key to differentiation. The designers inherited this Japanese tradition and considered the choice of fabric to be a matter of primary importance, even before starting to think about design.

To develop new fabrics, they were aided by the Japanese textile industry, which inherited a wide range of distinct skills related to kimono weaving, dyeing, etc. in various parts of the land of the rising sun. Despite the shift from traditional Japanese clothing to Western-style clothing, the modern Japanese textile industry has inherited the tradition and continued to relentlessly develop new technologies. Techniques using cutting edge technology continue to attract the attention of experts around the world.

If you have a special interest in Japanese artistic creations, then our blog post which recounts 12 surprising facts on Japanese art might satisfy you!


5) The future of the Kimono

Kimono Traditionnel Japonais Today, mode is shared worldwide. This familiarity produces a sense of convenience in our daily life, but is also a source of monotony. Articles that are widely shared ultimately belong to no one, and at a time like ours, the position of the kimono outside the cultural context of Western Europe is an advantage.

The kimono, developed in the unique context of Japanese culture, offers new ideas and inspiration to designers at a time when calls for greater diversity in what we wear are multiplying. This Japanese garment is certainly not a thing of the past, and it will continue to capture people's imaginations and stimulate and inspire designers for many years to come.

Speaking of the future, our store carries a selection of Japanese-inspired streetwear clothes, a style more fashionable than ever! We give you a little taste with Hoodies, by clicking on the image below!

Sweat Japonais



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