Have you seen the film “Memoirs of Geisha”? If you have, odds are that you have seen how elaborate the kimono of a Maiko or a Geisha might be. The long train dragging on the floor is the telltale sign that the kimono being worn is a hikizuri kimono.
This type of kimono dates back to the Meiji era of Japan (pre 1868) when the upper class favored this elaborate dress. Hikizuri kimonos are not worn out much, but you may see them on a stage performer in kabuki. You will notice the obi worn with the kimono is left longer in the back and is not tied off as a furisode kimono obi may be.
Jumping back into the world of formal kimonos, let’s look at a tomesode kimono. This type of kimono is worn mainly by relatives of a bride or groom to a wedding and other formal occasions. Think evening dress occasions. The tomesode comes in a variety of colors; most married women will wear the black variation (kurotomesode) while unmarried women will wear the colorful counterpart (irotomesode).
The pattern on the tomesode kimono is below the obi. As mentioned in the previous post, the Mon crests make the kimono formal. The Tomesode will typically have 5 adorned throughout.
Taking it down to “semi-formal” wear, the houmongi kimono looks fairly similar to a tomesode kimono. If you look a a houmongi kimono before a person is dressed, you would notice the pattern on the kimono flows “seamlessly” creating a single picture. This is known as an “eba” style kimono and dates back to the 1920s (Taisho period). With a houmongi kimono, there are not usually Mon crests on it. The colors may vary by season. This kimono can be worn by unmarried or married women.
In my next kimono post we will look at the last of women’s kimonos and look at men’s kimonos. I hope you enjoy seeing a different type ofpost like this.