By Patricia Belyea
KYOTO JP I’m telling you about this amazing exhibit, Kimono Roboto, with the fastest possible typing because it opened last night and closes in nine days. Yikes! To see the show, you would have to leave immediately, fly to Japan, train to Kyoto, and get to Nijo Castle.
The high-style show of nine impeccable kimonos, made by textile masters around the country, is mounted in the Nijo Castle Kitchen—itself a wonderful old edifice.
At the center of Kimono Roberto stands a gently moving robotic mannequin dressed in a superstar kimono and highlighted with a music video featuring Björk. The exhibit’s impact is heightened further with black tatami mats and dramatic lighting.
Here are five of the kimonos, full-size and up-close:
KAGA YUZEN ICHIRO KAKIMOTO ISHIKAWA
AWA SHIJIRA ORI TOTARO NAGAO
NANIWA HONSOME YUKATA TAKAO KOMATSU, OSAKA
(This cotton kimono is chusen-dyed, just like the fabrics in Okan Arts shop!)
ARIMATSU NARUMI SHIBORI HIROMI TAKEDA, AICHI
NISHIJIN ORI HARUO MURAI, KYOTO
The show is so classy that gorgeous posters are available for visitors to pick up for free. Victoria took away a roll of four!
To use broad strokes on major cities in Japan: Kyoto is the Culture Center, Tokyo is the Fashion Center, and Osaka is the Culinary Center. So there's no better place to seek out Japanese textiles than in Kyoto, the ancient capital.
Victoria and I saw many textile treats in Kyoto including
Some-Seiryukan Museum: Dedicated to the art of Japanese textile dyeing—excellent, beautifully curated; highly recommended although small. 300¥
Kyoto Shibori Museum: Focused on the ancient art of Japanese tie dyeing—the short workshops are interactive and fun; the English video taught me a few things; very friendly. 500¥ entry fee, workshops are additional
Nishijin Textile Center: Sponsored by an alliance of 700 regional textile companies—get to one of the 6 daily kimono shows and enjoy the 10-minute performance; big shop plus a used kimono store. Free
Aizen Kobo: Recognized as an important indigo-dyeing studio—in a traditional machiya; a small family business; full of desirable products to buy! Free All in all, Kimono Roboto made our hearts beat faster as we saw the most magnificent examples of kimono. How cool that we were in town at just the right time!
May 10 - May 20, 2018
Niji Castle, Kyoto
Sponsored by Melco