Kimonos have always brought a worldly air to women who wear them, says devotee PENNY McCORMICK
Japan has such a rich and inspiring textile history, with the kimono at the centre of a complex design language. I wanted to reinterpret this classic style, paying attention to the significance of pattern and symbolism,” Danish designer Stine Goya tells me. Goya’s kimonos in floral patterns of contrasting scales (available at Brown Thomas) have been on my wishlist for the last few seasons. Goya enthuses: “The more prints the better. I design kimonos to be worn with a colourful lightweight knit and silk floral print trousers in a clashing print. Or you could wear a kimono over a crisp white T-shirt and jeans combo – a simple way to add a flash of print in a relaxed and easy style.” I call it global nomadism, rather than cultural appropriation. Kimonos have joined kaftans in my wardrobe as versatile pieces of my off-duty wardrobe and as a brilliant way to introduce colour. The word “kimono” literally means “thing to wear” in Japanese and combines the languor of a dressing gown with a smarter finish. This traditional T-shape garment inspired couturiers such as Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet in the early 20th century, while John Galliano’s exquisite AW07 collection for Christian Dior and Rudi Gernreich’s Kabuki Dress from 1963 are iconic. Such is its appeal that, “Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk” opens at the V&A this month. Curator Anna Jackson (who wears a kimono over a white shirt), explores the 21st-century revival of the kimono among young people in Japan, who are rejecting western fashion and returning to this timeless and beautiful mode of dress.
HOW THEY WEAR IT
Designer Eoin Dillon of Irish online store Reuben Avenue says, “The kimono is multifunctional and can be an indoor or outerwear garment. I like to wear one with trousers and trainers.” PR Roisin O’Hea collects kimonos, especially from The Kooples, and says a gold Dries Van Noten from Vestiaire Collective and a Dodo Bar Or kimono, from Unit K, Sandymount, are current favourites. “The minute I put on a kimono I feel great: the colours, the feel of the fabric, they just dress up any outfit. They’re a big part of my personal look.” Trinny Woodall has done much to perpetuate the trend and is often seen in Zara jeans, a white T-shirt and her sequined-full-length kimono from Nasty Gal. “I think the art of styling a kimono to give you shape is to put a belt round the back inside the garment and tie it up. From the front you have the most amazing waist and from the back you don’t destroy the wonderful painting or drawing.”
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