If we think of the kimono at all, it's of the heavy, silken, flowery garments of the Edo period, starting in the early 1600s. They were status symbols, a way for merchants to show their wealth without threatening the primacy of shoguns, who ruled the fiefdom.
As Japan westernized, so did kimonos, transformed by imported powered looms and chemical dyes. The mix of old and new -- that familiar T shape blooming with modernist designs -- is startling to say the least. If "Mad Men" were set in Tokyo, these would be in the costume department closet.
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