The Kyoto Costume Institute has some amazing items in their collection including this circa 1902 evening dress/ball gown (where one ends and the other begins can sometimes be a bit ambiguous). Unfortunately, we don’t know much about this except to say that it’s definitely reflects early 1900s style and uses an artfully arranged combination of lace and fashion fabric (no doubt a silk satin). The pink-colored silk satin fashion fabric has a series of vertical stripes along with two vine-like lines that appear to be beaded/jeweled.
Evening Dress, c. 1902; Kyoto Costume Institute
But what’s more striking is how the fashion fabric’s hem has been cut so as to mimic a leaf, longer in the front (and presumably the back) and shortening on the sides. Framing this is a layer of ivory lace that forms a complete underskirt (and no doubt backed with a lining). The bodice also has a layer of the same lave draped across the front. This is a brilliant style and we only wish that were more pictures available. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little pop of fashion history. 🙂
Although we have never visited the Kyoto Costume Institute in Kyoto, Japan, a friend of mine took the opportunity to do so while on a recent visit to Japan. From the website, it’s hard to tell just what’s there to visit but my friend was in an adventuresome mood and it’s located relatively close to his relations so he decided to take a chance- at worse, there would be no showroom or museum space and that would be that. However, as things worked out, it was an incredible experience sitting in an anonymous and non-descript setting….
First, if you’re expecting some sort of “curb appeal,” the answer was no…it could have been an office almost anywhere in Japan… 🙂
Upon entering, the receptionist and the security guard were a bit quizzical what a foreigner was doing there but after explaining that he wanted to view the collection, he was directed to the 5th Floor of the building where they have a small showroom:
From what they told my friend, apparently they stage a number of exhibits per year mostly in conjunction with another museum and that they even have a number of international travelling exhibits. The exhibition going on during my friend’s visit was 18th Century themed and he got got a few pictures for us:
Although it’s difficult to make out, my friend told me that the condition of all the garments and accessories were either in pristine condition or close to it. My friend also noted that he was given a personal tour by one of the assistant curators and he was impressed with their complete dedication to preserving and displaying the various fashion- “The level of dedication was samurai-like.” From my friend’s description and the pictures he sent me, we are definitely impressed and now we’re making plans to one day pay it visit in person. 🙂