This show begins with a review of the mid-1800s to early 1900s when Japonism first hit American and European shores. Oil paintings by William Merritt Chase and Jacques-Joseph James Tissot depict their Western subjects in kimono. Next follows a parade of 19th-century Western garments influenced by Japan; they are paired with Japanese woodblock prints and kimono. A dove grey dress of wool and silk satin (France, c.1897) features stylised irises crafted from enamel and appliqué and placed at the collar and sleeves, a composition similar to that found on a nearby furisode, the most formal kind of kimono. More literal interpretations are also on display. An English dress (1870s) includes a bodice and overskirt fashioned from a dismantled kimono, while a regal purple silk evening gown (1910) is adorned with lamé waves (a traditional Japanese motif) and chartreuse, obi-like sash. A spectacular emerald and black evening coat (1913) shimmers with sparkling beaded flowers, a reference to Kabuki costumes of the day. But such luscious offerings are only appetizers in an exhibition that features about forty garments on loan from the Kyoto Costume Institute.
Until 5 May 2019, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA