Thursday, 26 August 2010

Festival of Quilts 2 - My New Kimono

This is the kimono I bought from Susan Briscoe at the Festival of Quilts.  You can see why I was tempted, it is so "my colours".  In fact Susan's entire stand seemed to be draped in the tones of autumn, wonderful golds, oranges and rusts, all shimmery and silky and gorgeous and complemented by Japanese traditional indigo blues.  I'm not sure how I escaped with buying so little actually.

The kimono Susan labelled as,
"1930s meisen silk kimono - may be blended with other fibre"
and I'm more than happy to take her word on that!  I've found two definitions for the fabric/style:

meisen : The "meisen" style silk kimono was the most popular garment at the beginning of the Showa era. It is very different from fancy Furisode or other formal kimono, but this is one of the kimono which people wore everyday at home. The people over 60 years old feel so nostalgic seeing this kimono. The principal characteristic of meisen is its interesting surface decoration made by pre-dyed threads. As the fabric is woven the surface decoration appears as a shimmering, soft-edged pattern. The technique is related to earlier methods kasuri (ikat), in which threads are resisted before dyeing and weaving, and e-gasuri ("picture-ikat"), a Japanese innovation in which threads are resisted, rather than direct-dyed, with the use of a stencil.
Because of the events such as World War I and the Kanto earthquake( 1923 ) there was an intensified demand for silk garments, and as the result, by the beginning of the Showa period, the production and popularity of meisen kimono was at its height. Meisen kimono were affordable, durable, smart attire for everyday wear loved by everyone.  

Meisen fabrics are strong, amazing silks made from the cocoon of the silkworm. Meisen pieces are highly collectible as they were only made from the 1920s -1950s.

This is a length of silk that I could not leave behind.  I am thinking of using it as an obi with this kimono, or with the gold one I bought in Tokyo in May.  I shall have to have a trying on session and get your opinions, but for the moment I am just stroking it and admiring it.  As well as the wonderful colours it has such a great texture, beautiful.


  1. I just find those autumnal colours very hard to resist ! Nice that this kimono has gone to someone who will really appreciate it. I love meisen, especially meisen with retro modern kinds of designs.

  2. The kimono is a great find. And that piece of!


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