A rare and up-close look at the intricacy, character, and artistry of kimono design and fabrication in one of Japan’s most exclusive kimono houses.
“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
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 exhibition opens at the Worcester Art Museum, November 7, 2020—January 31, 2021.
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
- Forewords by Matthias Waschek and Nishimura Sōzaemon
- Acknowledgments by Vivian Li and Christine D. Starkman
- Note to the Reader
- From the Everyday to Couture: Chiso and Contemporary Kimono by Vivian Li and Christine D. Starkman
- The Kimono as Japan’s “Cultural Property” by Kikuchi Riyo
- The Turning Point: Kishi Chikudō’s Ōtsu and Karasaki Screens by Yukio Lippit
- Inside Chiso: A Conversation with Kimono Designer Imai Atsuhiro by Monica Bethe, Vivian Li, and Christine D. Starkman
- Plates Section
- Exhibition Checklist
- Kimono Construction
- Photo Credits