"Kimono Style" by Monika Bincsik

Kimono Style Edo Traditions to Modern Design Monika Bincsik, Karen van Godtsenhoven, Masanao Arai

Publication date:
28 Jun 2022
Metropolitan Museum of Art
224 pages: 279 x 216mm
150 color illus.
Sales territories:

The untold modern history of the Japanese kimono and its dynamic relationship to Western culture

Though often presented as an unchanging, traditional costume in the West, the Japanese kimono dynamically evolved from the Edo period to the modern age. This publication explores the kimono’s fascinating modern history and a cross-cultural sartorial dialogue with Western fashion that continues to this day. Originally signaling the wearer’s social position, marital status, age, and wealth, the kimono’s traditional designs gave way to the demands of modernized and democratized twentieth-century lifestyles as well as the preferences of the emancipated “new woman.” Access to Western culture inspired new patterns and production techniques, while Western-style marketing and mass production drove sales of affordable, ready-to-wear kimonos in Japanese department stores—a departure from the bespoke, haute couture tradition associated with the garment. Inspired by the kimono’s silhouette, Western designers such as Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet  liberated the female figure from conventional tailoring and provided a new direction for modern Western fashion. Establishing the complexity of Japan's fashion trends and systems while juxtaposing never-before-published Japanese textiles from the John C. Weber Collection with Western couture, this book places the kimono on the stage of global fashion history.

Monika Bincsik is the Diane and Arthur Abbey Associate Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts in the Asian Art Department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Karen Van Godtsenhoven is an independent curator based in Belgium. Arai Masanao is a textile historian based in Japan.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
(June 6, 2022–February 20, 2023)