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The Kimono: A Cultural Icon That's Influenced Fashion for Centuries


The traditional kimono designs of the Japanese culture have influenced Western European fashion since the opening of trade with Japan in 1854. The simple structure of the garment appealed to Western European fashionistas, who were looking for a more relaxed and comfortable alternative to the corseted and restrictive clothing of the time.


One of the first designers to be influenced by the kimono was Charles Frederick Worth, who was known as the "father of haute couture". Worth was inspired by the kimono's simple lines and elegant drapery, and he incorporated these elements into his own designs. He also popularized the use of Japanese fabrics and motifs in his work.


Other designers who were influenced by the kimono in the Victorian era include Paul Poiret and Mariano Fortuny. Poiret was known for his flowing, uncorseted dresses, which were inspired by the kimono. Fortuny, on the other hand, was inspired by the kimono's use of pleating and draping. He created a number of iconic garments, including the Delphos gown, which is still popular today.


The kimono continued to influence Western fashion in the 1920s, when it was adopted by flappers and other young women who were looking for a more modern and liberated look. Designers such as Coco Chanel and Jean Patou incorporated elements of the kimono into their designs, creating a new style that was both elegant and chic.


The kimono continues to influence Japanese fashion today. Designers such as Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto have incorporated elements of the kimono into their work, creating a new style that is both traditional and contemporary. The kimono is also popular on the runways of the world, where it is often seen as a symbol of Japanese culture and sophistication.

Here are some of the key ways in which the traditional kimono designs have influenced Western European fashion:

  • The simple structure of the kimono appealed to Western European fashionistas, who were looking for a more relaxed and comfortable alternative to the corseted and restrictive clothing of the time.

  • The kimono's use of flowing lines and elegant drapery inspired designers such as Charles Frederick Worth and Paul Poiret to create new styles that were both beautiful and comfortable.

  • The kimono's use of Japanese fabrics and motifs popularized the use of Asian influences in Western fashion.

  • The kimono's adoption by flappers and other young women in the 1920s helped to create a new style that was both elegant and liberated.

  • The kimono continues to influence Japanese fashion today, and it is also popular on the runways of the world.

The kimono is a beautiful and versatile garment that has had a significant influence on Western European fashion. It is a symbol of Japanese culture and sophistication, and it continues to be popular today.

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11 jul 2023
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I got three antique kimonos from my mom and I love them. Thanks for the article.

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28 may 2023
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Very informative how a simple garment can inspire fashion around the world.

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27 may 2023
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Beautiful!! 😍 Thank You JAS for this insightful story !

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