Kimono exhibit at LACMA

Kimono photos all from Museum Associates/LACMA

Kimono for a Modern Age at LACMA presents more than 30 of the traditional Japanese garments, on display for the first time in the museum's Pavilion for Japanese Art. The kimono are from the first half of the 20th century and are displayed in tokonomo, described as "traditional viewing spaces as trios that relate in terms of motifs, themes, or approach to the graphic layout of patterns."

Curator Sharon S. Takeda shared some observations with LA Observed in the gallery.


"These are all daily leisure wear, not ceremonial. The majority of them were made in the Kanto region around Tokyo, made after the great Kanto earthquake of 1923. Most are made of machine real silk and machine loomed silk and most were pre-dyed before they were woven."


"They were fashionable- affordable by working class women. Because they were so fashionable it's thought that wealthy women also purchased them."

"I was interested in how they're still the traditional kimono but also that they're modernized. A lot of these are probably thought of as common rather than really high class. It's really more about the machine age and technology."


"Even today there are different levels of kimono. They can be made in silk, cotton, polyester, rayon, any number of things. If you walk into the department store today you would have different qualities to choose from-machine printed, hand printed, hand dyed, and ikat dyed. So there's a whole hierarchy and price range."

"A lot of these were for a mass market which had it's height during the first half of the 20th century and then it kind of died out or started to dwindle particularly as Western fashion took a stronger hold post-World War 2."

"A lot of this was never handed down with the finely made things because it was considered 'fly-by-night' fashion or everyday wear rather than something precious."

"Kimono for a Modern Age" is on exhibit until October 19.

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