September 14, 2012

Kimono Display at the County Fair

A friend of mine has been trying to put together a display of kimono at our local county fair, the Puyallup Fair (or officially, Western Washington Fair) for several years now, and this year she finally got the opportunity to do it! The display is in the center of the fair's Hobby Hall, an area of the fair dedicated to displaying collections, crafts, and creations. My friend got the large main stage area in the center of the collections area, as well as a display case.

It took two days to dress the kimono on dressforms and set up the display. Most of the kimono and accessories are my friend's, but I lent two ensembles, some footwear, and small accessories for the display case. She put together some great ensembles, and everything was put together in a short amount of time as it was thought she would not be doing a display this year (basically, a crazy mad dash)!

Here are photos!. I tried to get photos all around the stage display.

 Front view of the stage, from the main entrance.

The kimono rack in the center, displaying furisode, is designed by my friend and made by her father. I love this kimono rack very much because it hangs two kimono at the same time, front and back! You can see the blue hem of the ro furisode on the other side, peeking from under the hem of the bingata furisode.

I took individual pictures of all of the ensembles (see below) but I just realized I forgot to take pictures of this green and lilac chirimen ensemble. It is one of my favorites too! I will try and take a better picture of it this weekend when my family visits the fair.

Diagram drawn by my friend. These photos were taken during fair set up, please excuse the mess of the background! During set up, it is a fun atmosphere to watch everyone all around working so hard to set up their beautiful displays.

The backside of the stage.

I believe they put up rope barriers around the stage for the duration of the fair, to prevent people from touching the kimono. 

Beautiful ro furisode.

Bingata furisode hanging on the opposite side. The mannequins were arranged so that people can see the obi musubi of the ensembles from the other side of the stage. You can sort of see the bright green hakata obi of the light blue kimono is tied in a otaiko musubi at a slight angle for a subtle chic look.

My two ensemble contributions, Meiji(?) uchikake set, and my husband's wedding set. The wedding set is nice when seen in person. The stripes on the hakama are black, white and silver, and the kimono and haori have a highly textured woven pattern.

I wish I knew more about kimono from this era, I would like to know how to dress it authentically. I dressed it based on this image from the taiga drama Atsuhime. My accessories are wedding accessories, so I imagine it would be more authentic looking if there were no tassels on the hakoseko and fan, and the obiage is probably supposed to be tucked all the way in the obi, but I felt it looked pretty this way and would be better appreciated by foreigners. It is difficult to see in the photo, but there are two white collars for the layered look.

I was lucky to have a nagajuban in my collection that was almost as old as the uchikake set, and the sleeves were the exact same length. Even if the nagajuban isn't seen at all, I was happy to have a good fit.

Black, white, and burgundy ensemble. I like this color combo, it is very chic and sophisticated. The zouri are snake skin patterned.

This haori is so lovely!

Wool ensemble.

I love this obi, because the design looks like needlepoint.

Furisode ensemble.

The furisode's obi musubi. The musubi is a variation of the Fuuha 「風波」 Musubi from the book Kitsuke to Obi Musubi 100 Variations. I say it is a variation, because the obi is somewhat stiff and was difficult to make it look exactly like the Fuuha musubi in the book!

Side view. The obi musubi has a good amount of volume, making it a good example of the different styles of tying obi.

Shibori yukata, and a child's yukata. My friend wore this yukata recently at the Tanabata festival. You can photos of the yukata worn, here and here. The vintage children's yukata has deer on it that look a lot like Bambi!

Cute yukata set with puchi heko obi, lace obijime and obidome.

Very bright bingata ensemble! This is a fun coordination of bright colors. There is a small clutch purse tucked in the sleeve which matches the ensemble.

A subdued ensemble with a vintage obi.

I forget the name of this obi musubi, sorry! This obi has a bunch of different designs on it, including radishes and a three scales motif called Mitsuuroko, which looks just like the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda. We joked, wondering how many people will spot it. Probably not many people, it is very small and hard to notice.

Here is the display case. Mostly showing textiles and small accessories. There are obi dangling in the background behind the shelves.

Padded girl's kimono hanging up top.

Folded obi.

Folded kimono and yukata.

Michiyuki coat on a half-mannequin. Dr. Who fans, do you recognize what is on the yukata hanging next to the michiyuki?

It is a TARDIS! This is a yukata that was hand dyed and sewn by my friend! 

Small textiles, obiage, furoshiki, and some example books in English, and one Japanese kitsuke book.

Kyodai tansu (vanity mirror) and kanzashi.
I hope you enjoyed the display! It was a lot of fun to put together. I am happy for my friend for getting the opportunity to share kimono at the largest event in our area!


  1. Wow! Just, wow!
    What a big and beautiful collection your friend has! And your two ensembles are so pretty as well!

  2. Beautiful! I just happened upon this, and wanted to say what a beautiful job your friend (and you?) did setting up the exhibit. I'm a former curator, and I know how much work these textile displays really are!