When I saw this article in Dezeen, I knew that my fate for the next several hours was sealed. I was going to write a blog post, and then immediately go watch Memoirs of a Geisha. My awareness of the difficulty and movement constriction that the wearing of a kimono involves does absolutely nothing to remove the glamor of it in my mind. The richness of the fabric, the combination of colors and patterns, the expert craftsmanship and history all combine to make it irresistible. Japenese architecture has a similar allure. Rich in texture yet asture, it is always striking and has the seeming effortless that belies intense concentration and attention to detail. Not to mention the occasional dose of whimsey and historical references. I’m hopelessly addicted, and this new store in Kyoto is a double dose (triple if you include my love of reviving and evolving historical anything). Japanese designer Yusuke Seki wants to bring about the revival of the kimono as an everyday piece of clothing, and has put serious thought and effort into the storefront he designed. It seems more like a museum than a store, with beautifully curated displays built of light wood with black metal accents. The clean lines of the drawers and free standing railings showcase the various fabrics and styles, which are separated into three different price points for the ease of inductees. The building itself retains the tile from it’s days as a tofu factory, with the addition of new concrete floors and stairs. A scattering of white rocks brings to mind a Japanese style garden. Everything about it quietly suggests care and expense in every detail, which might rub off and transform your life if you are lucky (and buy a kimono).
I do I feel badly for the people who will have to keep this place neat, it’s going to be incredibly obvious when even and inch of fabric is skewed or a drawer doesn’t quite close! But that is the price of Japanese design, one must be vigilant against clutter. I’m not quite vigilant enough to manage this in my own life. And even more depressing is the knowledge that for daily wear I doubt I could be bothered with the many steps of kimono wearing. I can barely be bother to blow dry my hair. So for me, this style is more of an ideal, the glamor of which partly involves having someone else cleaning everything for me, and enough free time to take hours with my clothing. Which if I’m being honest, would drive me crazy. Ah well, a girl can dream.
Denzeen Article: http://www.dezeen.com/2013/02/07/otsuka-gofukuten-kimono-store-by-yusuke-seki/
Photography is by Takumi Ota.