Catwalk-Worthy Fashions in Our Collections

National Museum of Asian Art

As documented in such publications as Fruits magazine, Japanese street style pushes boundaries a bit further each year. 

No costume (atsuita-karaori), 19th century or earlier, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Fashion Forward
Going back a few centuries proves that Japanese fashion has a history of catching eyes. There would be no missing the girl in an orange vermilion dress, painted somewhere between 1661 and 1673. 
Girl in an orange vermillion dress, 1661-1673, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art

Compare her ensemble to the eighteenth- or nineteenth-century silk costumes made for No performances. Gold is seen extensively in No costumes, used to reflect light and highlight the actors’ slow, stylized movements.

No costume (atsuita-karaori), 19th century or earlier, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
No costume (choken), 18th-19th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art

Long, flowing robes also were en vogue in China, as seen in these tiny but detailed figurines dating between the eighth and thirteenth centuries.

Female attendant holding a fan, 13th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Tomb figure of a standing woman, Early eighth century, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Standing female, 12th-mid 13th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Imperial Noblewoman’s Summer Surcoat, 1821-1850, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Status in Silk
A few hundred years later, noblewomen wore coats over their floor-length robes. Dating to the mid-1800s, this summer surcoat is patterned with encircled dragons. The number of these roundels—and of the dragons’ claws—let everyone know the high status of the woman within the silk garment.
Portrait of Chinese Woman in a Kingfisher Headdress, 19th-early 20th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art

The woman in the nineteenth- or early twentieth-century portrait posed in her coat, which she paired with a headpiece made of vivid kingfisher feathers. Speaking of which: see our post on fabulous accessories in our collections.

Portrait of Chinese Woman in a Kingfisher Headdress, 19th-early 20th century, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Hair ornament, -1/1, From the collection of: National Museum of Asian Art
Credits: Story

Joelle Seligson is digital editor at the Freer|Sackler.

http://bento.si.edu/from-the-collections/japanese-art/nyfw/

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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