The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-to-Wear in America
April 6 - June 1, 1997

This exhibition explores the use and meaning of the kimono in America in a fascinating demonstration of cross-cultural influence as a result of economic imperialism, war, and social change. The Kimono Inspiration traces the transformation of this quintessential Japanese garment from its ethnic origins, through its many appearances in fine art, costume, and high fashion, to its role in the contemporary Art-to-Wear Movement in which clothing is a means of artistic expression. Previous studies of the kimono have dealt mainly with the garment's beauty and formal qualities, largely ignoring its sociological context and meanings. This exhibition focuses on the American conception of the kimono and the American use of the kimono as a social symbol, and as an important element of a new art form.

Organized by The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C., the presentation of The Kimono Inspiration at the Parrish will be enhanced by works from The Museum's collection, including Chase's Girl in Blue Kimono (c. 1888) and Alice in the Shinnecock Studio (c. 1900), as well as Irving Ramsey Wiles's Costume Study (1885) and photographs from the William Merritt Chase Archives showing the Chase family's love for things Japanese.

The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-to-Wear in America has been organized by The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with The Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. The Textile Museum is grateful to the following foundations, corporations and individuals for support of this exhibition: The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; The Richard & Rosalee C. Davison Foundation, Inc.; Neiman Marcus; The T. Backer Fund, Inc., The Rau Foundation; Friends of Fiber Art International; Hecht's; Mr. and Mrs. Carl S. Gewirz; Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. Rosenfeld; and members of The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-to-Wear in America Support Committee.