‘Kimono Refashioned’ reveals Japan’s effect on global design

Offering yet another example of how it’s fun to look at fashion in hallowed institutions, the Asian Art Museum’s compact and eye-catching “Kimono Refashioned” details the influence of the kimono on 19th, 20th and 21st century clothing design. It’s a treat.

At its opening last week, curators Yuki Morishima and Karin Oen led a tour through the roughly chronological exhibition, which covers two rooms. The show reveals how the kimono’s construction has been copied for centuries and how certain designers began to combine Eastern and Western elements in their garments following Japonism, a late 19th century trend when Europeans and Americans became fascinated with, and began to collect, Japanese art objects and motifs.

Creations in the show — by Japanese, American and European designers — range from 1800s dresses with bustles to a high-tech 2016 mini-dress made with material called Super Organza, woven from threads of polyester measuring about one-fifth the diameter of a human hair.
Haute couture is represented, but so is ready-to-wear and pop culture. Men’s fashions are showcased, too.

Morishima and Oen said the most difficult task in assembling the show, which is accompanied by a lustrous catalog subtitled “Japan’s Impact on International Fashion,” was determining what to leave out.

Culled from the extensive collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, the exhibit includes designs by Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, Issey Miyake and Tom Ford.

IF YOU GO
Kimono Refashioned
Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except closed Mondays and until 9 p.m. Thursdays; closes May 5
Admission: $20 to $25
Contact: (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org

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