There are few things that I know less about nor care less about than fashion. Magazines like Vogue and Elle, weighed down by the lux ads and creepy photos of emaciated models bore me, though I read their mainstream cousins Glamour and Mademoiselle at the hair salon for the useful tips and tricks: Need a pedicure fast? Quickly polish your toenails in the evening–feel free to be messy. In the morning after the polish softens in the shower, you can wipe it off your skin with your thumbnail. Voila! These little gems are what I’m looking for when I pick up a fashion magazine, not the runway inspiration.
That said, I do appreciate colorful textiles and the craft and history of traditional dress. When we were in Kyoto, Japan, we visited the Nishijin Textile Center, an arts center in the traditional garment making district in the former imperial capital. We went to learn about the Japanese art of silk and wool weaving. I was in the middle of trying my hand at a basic weaving technique on one of their historic hand looms when one of the museum staff tapped me on the shoulder.
“Please consider going downstairs,” she was so polite. “The fashion show is about to start!”
Kevin and I exchanged a glance. We were having fun goofing around on the looms and a fashion show didn’t sound quite as much fun, but we put down our tools.
We went downstairs to find a brightly lit stage, and a short catwalk. The room lights dimmed, and for the next fifteen minutes, we watched models show off the latest trends in kimonos, the typical dress for formal and ceremonial occasions in Japan.
The outfits they wore were gorgeous. Like the use of seasonal ingredients in Japan, kimono design is supposed to evoke the season. It was early March, so all the kimonos featured vivid, bright, and pastel colors, as well as floral and nature motifs that screamed “springtime”. The pairing of fabrics was very unique — I never would have guessed that such divergent patterns and colors (bold florals and pastel paisley?) would look good together, but they did.
But what do I know about fashion?
I do know that I enjoyed playing runway photographer at my very first fashion show.
More shots from the kimono fashion show:
This trip to Kyoto was supported by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Opinions and photos are my own.