“Essence of Kimono” At Nippon Gallery
by Marina Rybak
A lingerie kimono is a sexy essential, tucked away in our wardrobes. It is seductively comfortable and allows a wearer graceful freedom of movement. Without restriction it is easily slipped on and off. It remains a lifestyle choice and a sole survivor of the bygone robe era. And it has an impressive pedigree, being a direct descendant of the thousand-year-old piece of clothing, considered a cultural and artistic symbol of Japan.
Some time ago I stumbled upon stacked boxes in my friend’s apartment, supposed to be filled with antique and vintage kimonos. Fascinated with a few kimonos that were displayed on the walls of his home, I wanted to see more. I was curious to find out what was hidden in those boxes.
I am always inspired by the world heritage of historical and cultural references. It is a tremendous source of inspiration for me. I enjoy being a magician, discovering the remnants of the past and weaving them into the present, ultimately creating something modern for a contemporary human.
So when the first ancient specimen was “unearthed” from the box, I was mesmerized. I was at awe with the unique artistry and the craftsmanship of this kimono. It was such a privilege to come so close to this masterwork, feeling the kinship with the unknown artist, who has created it few hundred years ago. I also realized that the secluded treasures were an unprecedented and a rich design resource, I have not encountered before.
Months later Essence of Kimono – Art, Culture & Commerce exhibit came to life. Magnificent selections from the Alexander Collection are finally shared with the public for the first time at the Nippon Gallery, 145 West 57th Street in New York City and are on view through August 23.
The exhibit showcases rare examples of wearable art, spanning more than two hundred years. Hand-painting, embroidery, gold leaf, shibori tie-dying are just a few of the decorative techniques, utilized in the one of a kind kimonos on display. Essence of Kimono is both a visual celebration and a journey across history and culture. It also reminds us that the artistic language is universally understood by all.
Anyone, whose life is enhanced by pure beauty, must visit this exhibit.