Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk

V&A spotlights the sartorial and social significance of the kimono

Stepping into the V&A’s new blockbuster exhibit is like being catapulted back centuries and across the ocean into 17th century Japan. Centre stage in the first room sits an intimate tea house, crafted from spun paper, which is set against a matcha green backdrop where freestanding bamboo accents punctuate the space; over the speakers, a custom audio was created to evoke the sounds that might have been heard at the time — horses clacking against rudimentary roads, china cups clinking and the sound of feet shuffling across tatami mats.


The immersive space is the handiwork of London-based set designer Robert Storey and his team, who were tasked by the V&A to bring the exhibition — which charts the kimono’s cultural relevance from 1660 Japan to today — to life.


Key features of Japanese design are present throughout; from gravel taken from rock gardens to bamboo and woven flooring; even the graphic signs were printed on Japanese paper scrolls affied to beechwood structures. Within the exhibit, a mirrored ceiling and an angular mirrored column create all the drama of a runway show; reflecting and refracting the dozens of technicolour kimonos that decorate the walls.

Source | Wallpaper


Ellen McNeelance

17th March 2020

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