Some of our daily activites are influenced by traditional Japanese culture- sushi is average lunch fare, bento boxes are used as desk organizers, ikebana (flower arranging) is wildly popular, and paper lanterns are present in everyone's home. And the trend towards all things Japanese is also influencing contemporary fashion- I've noticed kimono style wraps, dresses and tops on the street and online, as well as graphic tees featuring cherry blossoms and indecipherable calligraphy. Even cosmetics companies are catching on to the trend, and Sephora now sells sake bath products and flower face masks. I think that the highly anticipated "Memoirs of a Geisha" film starring Zang Ziyi (above) has also helped to stir up interest in Japanese style.
There are two things I love about kimonos: the first is that they are incredibly beautiful- often exquisitely printed or embroidered- making the wearer look like a global style queen (a la Laetitia Casta at right), and the second is because the kimono silhouette is figure flattering. The v neck, wraparound waist and kimono sleeves are very forgiving. Of course, not everyone wants to go out looking like a fully bedecked geisha, so the style has to be adapted a little to work in the modern fashionista's wardrobe. The zen wrap by anthropologie and origami dress by velvet are both elegant,wearable pieces. A kimono style top can be worn with black pants and heels for a dressy event, or with jeans for a more casual style. Remember to keep accessories at a minimum- the fabric should speak for itself without being cluttered up with jewelry.
Below is a Viktor and Rolf kimono wrap that a fellow fashionista is salivating over...
Note the strands of pearls that flow over the silk- I don't think any other garment can make patterns come to life like the kimono.
And for a finishing touch, fresh has just created a Memoirs of a Geisha crushed pearl shimmer powder to make your skin glow against the silk of a kimono.
Feel free to release your inner geisha...
* update: for those interested in this style, check out anthropologie's solstice catalogue- there are several new stunning kimono inspired pieces