A dazzling show of 100 detailed replicas of historical women's garments, "Kimono: From the Kofun to the Edo Period" at the Kobe Fashion Museum takes us back in time in two ways.
The first way is obvious. The time span of the costumes on display, from Kofun (250-538) to Edo (1603-1867), offers a rare opportunity to see very early styles of Japanese dress and its development over time. These outfits are displayed on mannequins, making the exhibition a theatrical and dream-like trip through Japan's history.
Some pieces are based on designs from before the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) and before the kimono was even invented, such as a Kofun Period replica that consists of an upper robe with a charming leaf pattern, an ankle-length pleated skirt and a mantle, which the wearer would use to gesture with as a means of silent self-expression. This shows the strong influence of other areas of Southeast Asia on Japanese culture, and is quite different to the kimono.