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Les Styles de Kimono au Fil du Temps
December 16, 2020

Kimono Styles Over Time

10 min read

Around the world, the kimono is recognized as the national dress of Japan. The term " kimono "was invented during Japan's first modernization era, the Meiji period (1868-1912), in response to increased Japanese awareness of clothes , to the customs and ideas of the West.

Japan had just emerged from a period of forced isolation, with a sense of self-awareness in relation to its dress compared to that of Westerners. A dichotomy has been established to distinguish between western clothes ( yōfuku ) from native clothing ( wafuku ).

The kimono, the traditional clothes the most famous, takes its name from the verb kiru , which means "to carry", and mono, which means "thing". In its narrowest sense, the kimono is the descendant of the kosode , an ancient underwear that appeared before the period Edo (1603-1868) as the main article of clothing most sensitive to changes in style and fashion. More broadly, the kimono can refer to any traditional garment Japanese T-shaped, whether worn by men or women in a sacred or secular context, for weddings or funerals, on stage or at festivals, or just for relaxing at home.

1 - Characteristics of Kosode / Kimono

Kimono the kosode takes its name from the adjective ko , which means "small", and sode, for "handle". Since a kosode / kimono with a sleeve has the appearance of a large pocket, it is difficult to consider the kosode with a sleeve to be small. In fact, what is small compared to the overall size of the sleeve is the opening through which the hand passes. The opening of the kosode sleeve is so named in contrast to the sleeve Osode which is fully open and not sewn.

Kosode took precedence over Osode as it was relegated to conservative circles such as court rites, religious rituals, and theater no . Other variations in construction include the absence or presence of a liner, wide overlapping or narrow cuffs that meet, a flat collar, and the occasional use of padding. When the front panels of the dress are wide enough to overlap, the left front panel is still closed on the right side. THE' obi is a belt used to secure the dress around the body.

Distinctions existed between kosodes of the past, some of which are still present in kimonos. A type of kosode, the furisode (literally, "swinging sleeves") has particularly long sleeves in their vertical dimension. the furisode is reserved for unmarried girls.

The katabira , of which the closest modern descendant is the yukata , was unlined and was not made of silk, but rather of a bast fiber (usually hemp or ramie). Two other types of kosode, called koshimaki and uchikake , were worn as outer robes over another kosode.

The koshimaki was densely embroidered with small auspicious patterns and draped around the hips while being held in place by an obi. It has become obsolete; however, the uchikake, worn as a cape and not tied at the waist, had a thick, padded hem and was still worn in wedding ceremonies in the early 2000s.

2 - First Styles

Kimono Heian After the kosode ceased to be the plain, patternless silk garment worn close to the skin under layers of dresses voluminous, as at the time Heian (794-1185), it served as an outer garment, first for the lower classes and finally for the samurai class and the aristocracy.

One of the earliest discernible styles in kosode, the nuihaku , featured decorations in embroidery ( harmed ) and metal foil ( haku ). In some examples, the sections of the dress, very contrasting, differ both in patterns and colors. Another ancient style, known by the poetic name of tsujigahana (literally "flowers at a crossroads"), was technically demanding, involving careful dyeing of ties, delicate ink painting, and, at times, embroidery and metallic foil applied. Some kosodes patterned in this way were only decorated at the shoulders and hem, with the middle section left blank.

3 - Kanbun Style

Japon Kanbun The oldest style for which there is considerable pictorial and written documentation, as well as extant clothing, is known as Kanbun (1661-1673) after the japanese era of that name. The order books of the clothing workshop Kariganeya To Kyoto , which catered to the samurai class and aristocratic clientele, reveal an exuberant asymmetrical style that often features tall designs in a swept composition from the shoulders to the hem, the left panel of the body (seen from the back) being mostly unadorned in its central section. The wide, flat surface and T-shape, two inherent characteristics of kosode construction, are exploited to their full design potential in such dresses.

In the kosode of Kanbun , tiny tie-dye stitches have been widely used for creating individual designs, and in combination with embroidery in son of silk polychrome and son of gold and D' money . Occasionally, characters written in fluent handwriting have been incorporated into the design scheme, adding a literary aspect and creating deeper levels of meaning in the design by combining words with individual design motifs.

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The two most elite (and, possibly, most conservative) levels of society, the aristocracy and the samurai class, were the patrons of this bold and innovative style. The first kosode design books ( hinagata-bon ) published, printed from wooden blocks for wide distribution, also featured the style Kanbun , which indicates that this new fashion also had a popular following. Members of the nouveau riche merchant class could afford such expensive dresses, although they found themselves at the bottom of the social ladder, below the farmers and farmers. craftsmen .

Kosode's design books have allowed a larger audience to keep pace with the changes in fashion. A customer would choose a design from such a book, then choose colors from an album of dyed fabrics, after which a kosode maker, together with a dyer, produced the finished product. The concept of ready-to-wear for western-style clothing and kimonos did not have an impact in Japan until after World War II. Even at the start of the 21st century, most of the finer kimonos were still made to order, like high fashion in the West.

4 - Genroku and Yōzen styles

Japon Genroku The following dominant style is named for the years Genroku (1688-1704). During this period, the female obi has grown and has become an increasingly important fashion accessory. Many different methods have been invented for tying the obi, adding another element to the repertoire of styles available to women at the fashion . The obi was now generally tied at the back.

As the obi widened, the sleeves of the furisode-type kosode lengthened even more and its patternless space decreased, although the composition of the sweep-style design Kanbun shoulder to shoulder has been more or less preserved. The overall effect was opulent, as the pattern filled more space and the larger obi added a new dimension to the decor.

Theater Kabuki , a new form of popular entertainment, enjoyed a large audience in the urban centers where the merchant class was based. As women were forbidden on the stage of the Kabuki , the male actors also played the female roles. They started the fashion trends in the kosode of women, including popularizing certain color shades and individual design patterns. Publishers of wooden prints had greedy townspeople lining up to buy the latest images of Kabuki stars, and also geishas , who were the women who started the trends of the moment. At that time, men's kosodes were no longer interchangeable with women's dresses.
Another style that emerged during the Genroku years was named after a painter from Kyoto , Yōzensai Miyazaki, and is referred to simply as Youzen. He is believed to have popularized a technique that combined freehand painting and paste dyeing using a wide variety of colors and allowing for the production of very painterly images and unusual shadow effects on the kosode. .

the Youzen kosode represents a typically Japanese achievement in the field of costume arts. While technological advances in textile production had been initiated on the Asian continent (especially China) and had been copied and perfected by the Japanese, a new means of decoration using the know-how of the dyer and the hand of the painter had been created in Japan itself. The closest equivalent of Yōzen in textiles outside of Japan is Indian chintz, which however uses cotton fabric rather than silk and makes less use of freehand painting and shadow effects. Yōzen remains a popular technique for decorating kimono in the early 2000s.

5 - End of Edo period style

Fin Periode Edo The extravagance of the style kosode Genroku and Youzen brought the authorities tokugawa to enact sumptuary laws from time to time, which has led to restrictions on the use of certain colors for the lower classes and controls on some of the textile techniques the most expensive. Besides the sumptuary laws, the application of which was haphazard, a backlash against flamboyance and excess became the underlying basis for a new style.

Aesthetic terms such as iki and shibui were used by trend designers who dressed in kosode with a simple striped pattern in muted colors, or who chose a discreet patterned fabric for their dresses. The other kosodes were decorated only along the hem, the rest of the clothes being devoid of patterns, with the exception of family crests traditional arranged on the shoulders. Subtlety, with a touch of luxury, could be conveyed by wearing a plain kosode with a richly decorated lining.

Excess was not completely forgotten at the end of the Edo period. Years Bunka-Bunsei (1804-1830) saw the production of many densely embroidered kosodes rich in Yo gold thread and which were often chosen by brides for their weddings. Even Buddhist monks commissioned extravagantly woven ritual robes during this period.

A tendency in the kosodes of the samurai class was playing on the juxtaposition of certain design motifs alluding to literary works from the medieval period of Japan. Another style, which continued into the modern era of Japan, was inspired by the work of the painting school Shijō-Maruyama , whose artists were influenced by Western painting techniques such as the use of perspective. Several of these painters were recruited to work on kosode designs and managed to adapt their themes of landscapes, birds and flowers to the T-shaped garment.

6 - Style of the Meiji period (1868-1912)

Japon Meiji In the 1850s, Japan was forced to end its policy of isolation when militarily superior Western powers demanded trade concessions. China, which had historically been the source of culture for the Japan , as ancient Greece and Rome had been for the rest of Europe, was then under the yoke of Western imperialism and was no longer seen as a suitable model for the Japanese .

When the emperor Meiji seized power in 1868, after the collapse of the shogunate, Japan's elite embarked on a serious program of study and emulation of Western technology and customs, including clothing. In 1887, the Empress Meiji issued a statement denouncing the wearing of the kimono as detrimental to the female body and advocating the Western blouse and skirt as a more practical form of female clothes .

However, only wealthy women moving in international circles felt the need and could afford to dress Western. The long kimono and its large obi and greenhouse made it difficult to sit on a chair. In the House traditional japanese , the women dressed in kimono sat on a tatami-covered floor, their legs tucked under the thighs.

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Most women continued to wear kimonos because they did not lead public life and did not have the opportunity to experience western interior design. The daughters of the Meiji women, however, improvised a kind of western outfit in two pieces to serve as a school outfit. They wore their kimonos tucked into the hakama , the traditional pants in the form of a skirt, which had recently served as ceremonial dress for the men of the samurai class during the Edo period .

For urban men, whose lives were led in public while their wives remained at home, uniforms inspired by European models were worn in the exercise of certain professions. If a man could afford it, he could go to a tailor and have a fit fitted. suit , which was invariably made of wool, a fiber that the Japan himself never produced. Otherwise, at least one symbolic item of Western dress would be worn in public, such as the bowler hat.

Madame Butterfly Meanwhile, in the West, kimonos appealed to certain sophist who were passionate about Japanese things. Many portraits of Western women in kimono were painted in the latter part of the 19th century. The kimono could add both an exotic and erotic flavor to a painting. Madame Butterfly by Puccini and Le Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan presented the kimono to large audiences in Europe and America. Fashion designers such as the Callot sisters and Paul Poiret were inspired by the shape of the kimono.

7 - Style of the period Shōwa (1926-1989)

Kunihoko Militarism arose in Japan in the 1930s, which ultimately led to the disaster and devastation of World War II. Rampant nationalism did not lead to a renaissance of the kimono. Women were needed to fill positions abandoned by men in the armed forces, and kimonos were impractical as work clothes. The fabric was rationed, and the kimono was considered a waste, requiring more fabric than Western-style clothing. During the period of occupation following the defeat of Japan, many families were forced to sell or trade family kimonos for daily needs, causing another setback to the tradition of wearing the kimono .

However, the economic recovery and prosperity created a large middle class in Japan, resulting in an increase in disposable income and leisure time. Housewives now seek to cultivate themselves by indulging in traditional arts such as flower arrangement and tea ceremony, for which the kimono is the appropriate attire.

Department stores became major kimono retailers, which were still made made to order from narrow pieces of silk. Brides continued to dress in kimono for weddings (but they also changed into Western-style wedding dresses for part of the ceremony), and could even enroll in a school where choice and choice were taught and the appropriate wearing of kimono and obi . Traditional annual events, such as New Years celebrations and coming of age ceremonies, were also the occasion to wear the kimono, although this was primarily for women and children.

The colors and patterns of the kimonos changed from year to year, but the explosion of creativity in surface design and staining of the Edo period has yet to be matched. the modern kimono represented the rediscovery of a traditional clothes by the middle class. Its role is minor, if not nonexistent, in the lives of japanese women at the start of the 21st century, with the exception of geishas, who continued to wear the kimono with a sense of style while entertaining men.

However, kimonos saw another incarnation in post-war Japan as works of art. Some craftsmen who continued to practice traditional craft , in particular textiles, have been designated "Living National Treasures" by the Ministry of Culture. Two of the most famous treasures in the field of textiles, Kako Moriguchi and Keisuke Serizawa , had part of their textile production transformed into kimonos, which were then presented in exhibitions and collected as works of art. Their work, and that of other artists of their caliber, extended the creative life of the kimono.

The Art-to-Wear movement led to an artistic production inspired by the kimono in the West. These pieces were worn as clothing or displayed on the walls, showing that the scope of the kimono extended far beyond that of a national costume.

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