The VIctoria and Albert Museum has reopened and I’m really looking forward to returning to one of London’s great, world leading museums.
Just before lockdown I visited their Kimono : Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition and am delighted that is has returned and remains there through to October this year. This exhibition is a delight to the eye as we are guided through stunning kimonos, paintings from Japan and then onto the influence of these styles have had on the wider world and in particular fashion. The displays are beautifully put together
To start with here is a selection of the extraordinarily beautiful kimonos on display. As you go round the displays, you can learn of the significance of the pieces, the importance of the garments and cloth in Japanese society and how they developed over the centuries. Captions explain how the kimonos were worn and the extraordinary craftsmanship required to produce them.
Delicate and detailed paintings of people wearing kimonos feature heavily and add a great deal of interest as we can see how these garments looked on the wearers of that time in the classic Japanese art style. Through the artworks you get to hear of the complexities of the layers of society, the world of entertainment including geishas and the messages sent out through their dress by men and women.
Fast forward a couple of centuries (missing out many interesting displays in several rooms of the exhibtion) and we arrive at the world of modern fashion. Stunning pieces show the influence of the kimono on modern fashion and culture including pop music stars and films. As always the fabulous display work by the V&A shows them off at their best and the colours and shapes are breath-taking.
Every good museum needs a quality gift shop and the V&A is no exeption. Among an array of lovely smaller items and books this rack of colourful kimonos was extremely tempting!
For more information about Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, which runs to 25th October, entry prices to this special exhibition as well as free pre-booked entry to the rest of this wonderful museum: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/kimono-kyoto-to-catwalk
Full disclosure: I am a V&A member and pay for this myself so I am able to visit V&A’s great special exhibitions whenever I like.