Resist-dyed purple clouds share the landscape with embroidered painted clouds on this semi-formal kimono, or furisode, meaning “fluttering sleeves.” Notice the small squares of gold and silver leaf applied to the red silk lining. A furisode is the type of kimono worn by unmarried women, characterized by vivid colours, bold patterns and curved mid-length sleeves.

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Can you describe how someone puts on a kimono?

responded: Apr 4, 2012

Posted by Stephanie Burdzy

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When I first saw this beautiful furisode I was struck by its inherent flatness. Kimono, when laid on flat surface and not inhabited by a body, are highly abstract, two-dimensional garments with strong vertical and horizontal lines. The initial construction and care of a kimono has much to do with respecting a certain geometry. Cutting the silk bolt (tanmono) used to make a furisode entails a predetermined order of folding the length of fabric into the various sections that will be decorated and cut to make the finished garment. Even the process folding a kimono correctly for storage is an art involving strict adherence to the making of neat and precise folds at the vertical seams. In contemporary Japan, knowing how to correctly put on a kimono, much less construct one, has become the esoteric knowledge of a select few. Certified kimono dressers train women in the art of properly folding and aligning the different fabric layers of the full traditional ensemble. I immediately thought of origami and its emphasis on neat and correct folding. The colourful screenprinted chiyogami rice paper used to make origami has it origins in the Japanese textile industry. The vibrant patterns and gold leaf seen on chiyogami are inspired by yuzen, the art of hand-dyeing silk in intricate motifs like those which decorate this winter furisode. I chose to respond to the similarities between the two traditional arts by making chiyogami haori (short kimono jackets). A good tutorial for making these fun objects can be found here:

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