I think I’ve already said this before, but I’ll say it again: despite my terrifying love of Japanese fashion, what I know about kimono could probably fit on the back of a postage stamp. However, I am a huge fan of the visuals, and my clumsy attempts to think about kimono in depth (maple leaves – autumn, maybe?) just leave me wanting to explore this intricate world with its levels of meanings.

I think it’s a popular opinion that the art of kimono, and all it’s related fripperies, is a dying one… I don’t think I’m qualified to provide a proper cultural analysis here, but I will say that I do see at least a few women in some kind of traditional Japanese dress pretty much every day in Tokyo. Maybe I’m simply a lucky kimono-spotter, but I don’t think it’s entirely correct to say that kimono are obsolete. I have noticed a bit of an up-surge in a the rather niche market of kimono-related magazines, particularly those aimed at a younger and more fashionable crowd: Kimono Ageha and Furisode Egg are two titles that come to mind here, surprising cross-overs between gyaru publications and kimono (Furisode Egg even has instructions on how to arrange your obi etc like an (ahem) lady of the night. Very educational!).

Actively prising the nails out of the kimono coffin is Yukiko Hanai – perhaps the most traditionally Japanese collection shown during October’s fashion. Making the choice to put so many kimono on the catwalk (as well as more Western-styles) is undoubtedly a bold decision even in Japan, so I think Hanai deserves a huge round of applause – to my mind, she was also one of the only designers to use Japanese models too. This was a wonderful celebration of authentic Japanese clothing and stood up incredibly well even in such a high-fashion context as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo.

I personally would love to see more Japanese influences in fashion here in Tokyo, especially as there are so many fantastic motifs and patterns and so much history to draw from, it seems like a terrible shame to let it all slip by. Yes, kimono are incredibly expensive and fiddly and time-consuming, but when the end result is as amazing as those below… well, I think it’s time to champion the kimono again and loudly proclaim that kimono’s not dead yet!

Saving my favourite until last!

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5 Responses to Yukiko Hanai S/S 2012 Collection – Kimono’s Not Dead!

  1. Sarah says:

    Whenever I saw a lady (or – even rarer – a gentleman!!) in traditional garb while out and about in Tokyo, I was filled with joy. I love kimono, because they really are an art… Even simple everyday styles are beautiful!

  2. Ms.Godzilla says:

    The decline is somewhat understandable, if sad. I have to wear kimono on occasion, and it really is not suited to running around busily, as most people in Tokyo do ;p

  3. Rebecca says:

    @ Sarah – I completely agree! It always makes me smile to see people wearing kimono 🙂

  4. Rebecca says:

    @ Ms.Godzilla – Thank you for getting in touch! (And what a lovely blog you have too!)

    Kimono is such an art it does seem a real shame that doesn’t fit in with modern life. Thank goodness people like Yukiko Hanai are still designing for kimono! 😉

  5. James says:

    I am pretty sure that not all of those models are japanese, for one thing. Secondly those color palettes are anything but modern. The coral orange, browns, cream, mustard gold and forest green are ripped right out of Showa kimono from the 70s and 80s. You can find kimono exactly like that in any used kimono store in Japan. Even those furisode are not what the younger generation are interested in wearing. Where is the pink, saturated turquoise, black, yellow, even a decent red? These are not only traditional but OLD and stodgy. Far more exciting work is being done in the field of wearable, vintage-inspired kimono if you just look so far as rakuten.com, Japan’s favorite online shopping website. I was disappointed by this collection.

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