V&A hosts Europe’s first major exhibition on kimono

Catwalk pieces and costumes from Memoirs of a Geisha and Star Wars will feature in show

A rare 17th century treasure from Kyoto, the costume worn by Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars and an haute couture gown designed by John Galliano for Christian Dior will be among the exhibits in Europe’s first major exhibition on the kimono, the ultimate symbol of Japan.

With catwalk pieces by Yves Saint Laurent and Rei Kawakubo, and costumes from the Oscar-winning film Memoirs of a Geisha as well as a cropped Jean Paul Gaultier kimono created for a Madonna video inspired by that film, curator Anna Jackson aims to “overturn the idea of the kimono as static, atrophied object and show it as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion”.

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