Summer is usually symbolized in fashion publications by images of light dresses or swimsuits, but there are other garments that can hint at summer through their palette, embroidered motifs or decorative patterns.
This furisode (kimono with swinging sleeves left open for the entire length of the body side until they join the main garment body) for a woman is a great example. It was probably made in the Meiji period (1880-90) and it's now on display in the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art at London's V&A.
It is elegantly patterned with lengths of fabrics (maybe representing kimonos) hung on an elaborate stand. The fabric flutters in the breeze surrounded by clouds, fans, tasseled and ribboned flower bouquets, and falling cherry blossoms on pale blue silk crêpe (chirimen).
The design, denser on the bottom half of the kimono as shown in the second picture in this post, was created using a technique called yūzen, which consists in paste-resist decoration. After drawing the pattern on the cloth with rice paste extruded through the metal tip of a cloth bag, the paste forms a protective coat, a boundary between the various colours that prevents them from penetrating when the dyes are applied.
The embroiderer in this case highlighted the stand and the edges of the fabrics using polychrome untwisted silk straight stitches, knot stitch and stem stitch and adding flowers, blossoms and elaborate ties and tassels in soft pink, green and ethereal white. Who said that Summer should be just about swimsuits and bikinis?
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos