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The Khalili Collection of kimono, which was carefully photographed for this book, comprises more than two hundred garments and spans almost three hundred years of Japanese textile artistry; it brilliantly exhibits the remarkable creativity of designers who used the surface of garments to produce a wearable work of art. Kimono display an enormous range of patterns and motifs, often executed in a complex combination of weaving, dyeing, and embroidery techniques, with some garments requiring the expert skills of a number of different artisans.
The Khalili Collection includes formal, semiformal, and informal kimono and undergarments and jackets worn by women, men, and children. Represented are the sophisticated garments of the imperial court, samurai aristocracy, and affluent merchant classes of the Edo period (1603–1868); the shifting styles and new color palette of Meiji period dress (1868–1912); and the bold and dazzling kimono of the Taisho (1912–1926) and early Showa (1926–1989) periods, which utilized innovative techniques and drew fresh inspiration from both past traditions and the modern world.