LETTER FROM KYOTO
A centuries-old traditional garment from Japan, the kimono refuses to give in to its complex letters of nobility. Taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, a Kyoto consortium (in the west of the country) bringing together, among others, the Union of weavers of Nishijin and Tango – two strongholds of silk -, the Kyoto Yuzen Confederation, named after a renowned dyeing technique, and the specialist store Tomoe, inaugurated at the end of February the “Kyokimonogatari” (“History of the Kyoto kimono”).
This very rich site designed with Extended Reality technology, which combines virtual reality, augmented reality or even 360-degree capture, allows you to discover “The beautiful kimonos, the cute kimonos, the tailoring workshops, the history and the landscapes of the city”, specifies the consortium. It immerses the visitor in the world of this outfit, the name of which literally means “the thing you wear”.
Closing of stalls
The initiative is funded by business support funds during a pandemic. Since the appearance of Covid-19, the wearing of the kimono has been lost in the former Japanese capital. The opportunities to wear it have disappeared from the agendas and the 87.1% drop in foreign tourism in 2020 resulted in the closure of the kimono rental shops that abounded around the traditional district of Gion with its dark wood facades and that frequent maiko, the apprentice geishas, or the popular vermilion Kiyomizu-dera temple.
Young people from China, Southeast Asia or the West would dress for a few hours in a yukata – cotton kimono with patterns inspired by nature and worn more in summer – to explore the city. This vogue advantageously reducing the circulation of traditional T-shirt-shorts-thong sets, however, made some purists tick. The wearing of the kimono obeys strict and ancient rules.
Influenced by the outfits worn in China, the silk or cotton kimono follows a unique pattern, cut from a roll of fabric 11 to 13 meters long and 36 centimeters wide. Once donned, it is held in place with a wide belt called an “obi”.
The kimono envelops the body more than it emphasizes the shapes. Only the face, neck, back of the neck, hands and forearms are visible. Physically binding, its wearing is dictated by complex rules, linked to the season, age or even the circumstance. For the celebration of 20 years of coming of age, women wear a kimono said “Furisode”, with long sleeves and shimmering colors.
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