Kobe Fashion Museum


Kobe Fashion Museum was established as the first public museum specializing in fashion in Japan on April 25, 1997. Its objective is to find the answer to why fashion has been so appealing to mankind since our inception. 

The history of the Museum

The Kobe Fashion Museum is Japan’s first public sector museum specializing in fashion. Opened on April 25, 1997, it symbolizes Kobe as the City of Fashion. Aiming to promote fashion-related industry and culture, it also functions as a facility for training and education, publicity and communication, and for attracting visitors.


The collection consists of more than 9,000 Western costumes from the 18th-20th century, and folk costumes from over 70 countries. Additionally, the museum holds, 1500 fashion plates, 2000 fashion photos, and over 4500 movie posters. The library holds more than 40000 books, magazines, and movies. 

Installation view, costumes of Napoleon Ⅰ and Josephine (Replica) (1993) by UnknownOriginal Source: http://www.fashionmuseum.or.jp/museum/index140412.html



Grand coronation robes (Emperor Napoleon I)

1993-95 (1804)
Silk satin, silk velvet, gold thread, flat gold thread, white ermine and rabbit fur, silver and zircon
Reconstructed by Atelier Brocard

Le grand costume du couronnement(d'un empereur Napoléon)
La reconstruction 1804 / Paris
Atelier Brocard

18th century collection

This collection focuses on European women’s clothing of the 18th century, but also includes menswear, fans, and accessories. Robe à la française is a type of women’s gown that was worn throughout the 18th century. Attached to the chest is a panel of fabric known as a stomacher. The neck and front panels are decorated with frills and fly fringes.

19th century collection

This collection focuses on 19th century European women’s clothing, but also includes men’s suits, hats and shawls, reticules and other accessories. There are examples of day dresses and evening dresses in romantic style, crinoline style, and bustle style.

Folk costumes and ceremonial robes

The museum also has 19th century and 20th century costumes and decorative articles from many different regions. They include examples of a long kurta worn by Maharajah class men in India, and costumes such as embroidered semi-formal court robes worn by the Qing Dynasty royal family in China, employing unparalleled hand work.

20th century collection

This collection includes garments by some of the top designers of the 20th century, from Callot Sisters, Paul Poiret and Mariano Fortuny, Gabrielle Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior to Alexander McQueen and Martin Margiela.

Photography and poster collection

Photography and poster collection
Some 1400 fashion photographs taken by prominent photographers include the work of Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Man Ray, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon.

ファッション・プレートKobe Fashion Museum

Fashion Plate

The museum possesses about 1,500 fashion plates from publications such as Gazette du bon ton and Modes et manières d’aujourd’hui.

There are over 300 mannequins, broadly categorized into three types: Mannequins made to suit Western historical dress of the 18th and 19th centuries, mannequins suitable for 20th century and later clothing, and wooden mannequins made for folk costumes.

Installation view, sack-back gown (robe a la francaise) (1760) by UnknownOriginal Source: http://www.fashionmuseum.or.jp/museum/index140412.html


There are over 300 mannequins, broadly categorized into three types: Mannequins made to suit Western historical dress of the 18th and 19th centuries, mannequins suitable for 20th century and later clothing, and wooden mannequins made for folk costumes.

Installation view, afternoon dress (1900) by UnknownKobe Fashion Museum

18th–19th century mannequins

To create special mannequins appropriate for clothing of different periods and styles, over 200 garments from the collection were measured. Hairstyles and makeup are selected so as to best reflect the atmosphere of each period and location.

Installation view, tartan suit (1993) by Vivienne WestwoodKobe Fashion Museum

Modern mannequins

The modern mannequins, they did not need as much specialized specifications, but the museum created two types of 100 mannequins while keeping in mind the beauty and quality needed to represent the museum.

Installation view, evening dress (1968) by Paco RabanneKobe Fashion Museum


Mannequins must be able to express various poses. You also need to be able to deal with styling that uses accessories for ears, nose, arms, and legs.

Installation view, evening dress (1945) by Nina RicciKobe Fashion Museum

How are the mannequins made?
The mannequins are made of FRP and natural solid wood from Thai grown silk trees which made the heaviest mannequin weigh over 100 kg.

Installation view, women's costume (1900) by UnknownKobe Fashion Museum

Study corner

Installation view, wedding dress (1998) by Agnès Andrée Marguerite TroubléKobe Fashion Museum

Study corner

Serve as the basis for each exhibitions.

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