The kimono is one of the most emblematic symbols of Japan. It is rich in symbolism and social messages. It is not only a garment: It gathers a wealth of codes and traditions. It is the essence of Japanese culture itself.
The principles that rule its making were established in the 17th century and haven't changed since. However, the kimono exists today in endless varieties thanks to the diversity of fabric, weaving techniques, and printing patterns. The simple T shape of the kimono can have thousands of different appearances, depending on the style of folds and tucks of fabric.
Wearing a kimono and knotting an obi—the wide belt that secures the garment—according to traditional rule is extremely difficult. This expertise was once transmitted from mother to daughter, but now there are specialized schools from which one can get a diploma on proper kimono etiquette. An expertise is necessary to avoid unacceptable mistakes: Lively colors are for unmarried girls only and long-sleeved kimonos are not to be worn by married women.
With original photographs and drawings, Kimonos beautifully illustrates the various facets of the garment, historically and in modern times. Its elegant layout evokes the grace of Japanese graphics.
About the author
Sophie Milenovich studied Textile Design at the Duperré Applied Arts School in Paris. She has worked as a designer for Mantero Silk manufacturers in Como, Italy, and for Renault. Between 2004 and 2006, Milenovich lived in Tokyo, Japan. There, her attraction to textiles led to a passion for the kimono.