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When Art Became Fashion

Book Information
Title When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan
Author/Editor Gluckman, Dale Carolyn and Sadako-Takedam Sharon
Publisher Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Year Published 1992
ISBN 083480266X
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This book is actually an illustrated museum catalogue for an exhibit of the same name curated at the Los Angeles County Museum. It is divided into essays about many topics, from the evolution of the kosode to calligraphy as a motif to the cultural and social impact and relevance of red “beni” dye. Each essay is complemented by many lush full colour photographs and multiple page spreads, as well as smaller inserted black and white and detail shots.

The essays themselves are written in a fairly dry academic style, but they are not difficult to read or alienating to people unfamiliar with the terminology. Any Japanese terms are italicized and explained in clear plain English the first time they make an appearance. There is a very useful glossary of terms in the background that is a huge asset to anyone interested in kimono either as wearable clothing or as historical costume, as well as many fascinating and well-organized charts and graphs documenting the flow of Japanese historical eras, common kosode pattern layouts, and garment dimensions. It is not something ideal for light bedtime reading, but it makes an excellent addition to any kimono-specific or Japanese cultural reference library. Several of the kimono in the book are also in the Kyoto Shoin, Yuzen edition book, but I found this to be a good thing – it was very interesting to see that some of these garments are so historically famous and relevant that they appear in multiple texts.

The layout of the book is also very lovely, the text is clear and the images are crisp and beautiful, with vivid colours and plenty of detail shots. Captions are always large enough to be legible but small enough not to be obtrusive. There are also some very charming touches, such as the text on the first page of each section being in the shape of a kimono. This may not seem like such a big thing, but it really adds to the cohesive feel of the whole book.


Sample Pages

Recommended For

  • People interested in the history of Japanese textiles.
  • People studying historical fashion or evolution of fashion and trends.
  • People interested in Edo-era Japan.
  • People looking for beautiful photos of kimono.

Not Recommended For

  • People looking for how-to-wear guides.
  • People looking for coordination ideas.

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: Diane Quintal (Moonblossom (IG Username)) Reposted from Kimono Tsuki Blog