A Modern History
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Tracing the evolution of the kimono from daily wear to a national symbol of Japanese culture, Milhaupt travels back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the foundations of the modern kimono fashion industry. During this period, she shows, art and fashion merged as famous Japanese painters began to work with clothing patterns and painted directly on garments. Milhaupt then moves to the nineteenth century, when Westerners were exposed to distinctive Japanese modes of dress and design, and the kimono came to be associated with an exotic culture and an alluring female form. The twentieth century saw kimono production undergo a period of modernization, the garment becoming intermixed with Western fashion, paralleling Japan’s social transformation. Milhaupt describes how, after World War II, the Japanese government sustained the kimono industry, and kimonos produced by famous designers became collectors’ items and museum pieces. She concludes with a discussion of the effect the Internet and social media have had on the modern kimono, making it a versatile garment integrated into a range of fashion styles.
Written to accompany the kimono exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in September 2014, this sumptuously illustrated book tells the incredible story of a single garment and provides a fascinating new perspective on Japan’s modernization and encounter with the West.