“Believe me, the art of the kimono is a very complicated form,” says costume designer Colleen Atwood on Entertainment Weekly. A kimono requires a lot of work to be perfected, from choosing its fabrication to deciding on the nature motif of the design. Even putting it on is a discipline one must learn in order to wear it with pride.

Since the 1660s, the kimono has been viewed as Japan’s national garment. Though it is always seen as a costume, the T-shaped garb eventually became an iconic fashion item recognized globally.

The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London wants to impart to its visitors the colorful history of the kimono and its journey to the runway through “Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk” exhibit, which opened last February. Due to the coronavirus threat happening around the world, the museum was forced to close its doors after two weeks.


Photo from Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Fortunately, the V&A Museum is giving everyone a chance to see and enjoy the exhibit while staying at home. The museum releases a series of videos taking viewers on a tour led by curator Anna Jackson.

“Having closed the exhibition early, I am so pleased that we can share the kimono experience with viewers around the world,” says Anna. “Many of you will be at home on lockdown, so I hope you will enjoy an opportunity to escape on a journey that will take us from the sophisticated culture of 17th century Japan to the creativity of the contemporary catwalk.”


Photo from Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Housing over 300 kimonos, the exhibit features robes worn by singers Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, and Madonna. It also includes fashion interpretations of designers Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Jean Paul Gaultier, and John Mollo‘s Star Wars costumes inspired by 17th and 18th century style kimonos.


Photo from Victoria and Albert Museum, London

“We look forward to welcoming you to the V&A museum again soon so you can encounter these sumptuous garments and exciting displays for yourself,” says Anna.

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk” exhibit is the UK’s first major exhibition devoted to the kimono.

Watch the whole tour here.

Images captured by Peter Kelleher.

Source: Manila Bulletin (