Kimono Couture

GBP £29.95



ISBN: 978-1-911282-66-2

112 Pages

280 x 229 mm (9 x 11 in)

84 colour illustrations

In association with Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts

May 2020


“A brilliant resource for anyone interested in kimono.” “Both inspirational and educational, and should therefore be added to the personal library of anyone with an interest in textiles, art and crafts.”—Carolin Becke, The Japan Society

“A paean to a very special Kyoto-based drapers emporium, Chiso by name, which has been in existence for 465 years!” “Beautifully produced and lovingly photographed”—Sheelagh Killeeen, Journal of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society

“An insightful guide to the intricacy, character, and artistry of kimono design”—Embroidery

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Kimono Couture is an extraordinary presentation of the kimono and art collection of Chiso, a 465-year-old Kyoto-based draper that is one of the oldest and most prestigious kimono-makers operating in Japan today.

This volume highlights Chiso’s textile and design innovations and testifies to its unwavering commitment to the beauty of the kimono form, with fourteen exquisite historical kimono and kimono made by Chiso, including a specially commissioned wedding kimono and a kimono created by the internationally acclaimed designer, Yohji Yamamoto, who has been working with Chiso since the 1990s. Kimono Couture approaches, for the first time, the subject of the kimono from the perspective of the maker.

The authors elucidate the ongoing significant role of the kimono in contemporary Japan and discuss Chiso’s extensive network of over 600 artisans as well as the survival of many now endangered techniques and textile crafts in the 21st century. An illuminating interview with Chiso’s senior designer, Imai Atsuhiro, focuses on the commission of the wedding kimono and Chiso’s endeavour to combine timeless style with the ever-changing demands of fashion.

The accompanying virtual exhibition is online at Worcester Art Museum.

With contributions by Monica Bethe, Kikuchi Riyo, Vivian Li, Yukio Lippit, Nagasaki Iwao, Nii Rie, Christine D. Starkman, and Stephanie Su

About the Authors

Vivian Li is the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art

Christine D. Starkman is an independent scholar and guest co-curator at the Worcester Art Museum

Kikuchi Riyo is a senior researcher at the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

Yukio Lippit is Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University

Table of Contents

  1. Forewords by Matthias Waschek and Nishimura Sōzaemon
  2. Acknowledgments by Vivian Li and Christine D. Starkman
  3. Note to the Reader
  4. From the Everyday to Couture: Chiso and Contemporary Kimono by Vivian Li and Christine D. Starkman
  5. The Kimono as Japan’s “Cultural Property” by Kikuchi Riyo
  6. The Turning Point: Kishi Chikudō’s Ōtsu and Karasaki Screens by Yukio Lippit
  7. Inside Chiso: A Conversation with Kimono Designer Imai Atsuhiro by Monica Bethe, Vivian Li, and Christine D. Starkman
  8. Plates Section
  9. Exhibition Checklist
  10. Bibliography
  11. Glossary
  12. Kimono Construction
  13. Contributors
  14. Photo Credits