The Met to Display Kimono Style

Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection

Tuesday, June 7 through February 20, 2023

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)

Admission: $25 / $17 seniors / $12 students

The newest Japanese-related exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection. It traces the transformation of the kimono from the late Edo period (1615–1868) through the early 20th century, as artisans adapted the T-shaped garment to suit the lifestyle of modern Japanese women. Consisting of a remarkable selection of works from the renowned John C. Weber Collection of Japanese art as well as highlights from The Costume Institute’s collection, Kimono Style explores the mutual artistic exchanges between the kimono and Western fashion.

Rise of the Kimono

The weaving, dyeing, and embroidery techniques for which Japan is famed reached their peak of artistic sophistication during the Edo period. Members of the ruling military class were the primary consumers of sumptuous kimono, each one being custom-made. At the same time, a dynamic urban culture emerged, and the merchant class used its wealth to acquire material luxuries. Kimono, one of the most visible art forms, provided a way for the townspeople to proclaim their aesthetic sensibility.

Inspiring Western Fashion

Depictions of kimono in Japanese woodblock prints were widely studied by Western couturiers in the late 19th century. The garment’s comparatively loose, enveloping silhouette and its rectilinear cut would have the most profound and lasting influence on Western fashion, with couturiers like Madeleine Vionnet and Cristóbal Balenciaga taking inspiration from the kimono for their avant-garde creations.

Japan Discovers Western Clothing

In the Meiji period (1868–1912), Western clothing was introduced to Japan. Simultaneously, modernization and social changes enabled more women to gain access to silk kimono than ever before. Around the 1920s, affordable ready-to-wear kimono (meisen) became very popular and reflected a more Westernized lifestyle. These were sold in department stores modelled on Western retailers, following Western-style marketing strategies. To illustrate these connections, the exhibition will present more than 60 kimonos alongside Western garments, paintings, prints, and decorative art objects.

View the Exhibition

The Met is open Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. On July 1, 2022, ticket prices will increase by $5 to $30 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $17 for students. Visit the Met’s website to select the desired date of your visit and to purchase tickets.

New York State residents and students in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut may pay whatever they wish. These guests do not need to register in advance; present a valid ID at a Met ticket desk on the day you visit.