Traditional Japanese garment. It is still used, especially during official ceremonies. Soft and loose, with characteristically large sleeves, it is fastened around the waist by a broad sash (obi), measuring 76.2 inches in height and 3.66 yards in length, often in richly embroidered silk. The several ways to knot it around the waist take on different meanings, a secret which is transmitted from mother to daughter. Splendid examples from Japanese history are seen in costume museums around the world. Kimonos appeared for the first time in the 12th century, worn by members of the aristocracy, who would don several colors, one on top of the other. In the centuries that followed, their extraordinary embroideries became rich elements of decoration. A rule of the Samurai class in 1600 forbade colors and decorations, so in that period the kimono became almost a monkish garment, just black or white, no longer made from silk, just simple cotton. Following the influence on European art and fashion of Japanese prints, in the late 1800s and early 1900s the kimono was portrayed by painters, such as Toulouse-Lautrec, who also wore it as a night robe; and by Mucha and Gustav Klimt. At the same time the kimono became, for the Western woman, an elegant afternoon or house-party dress, and reappeared as a night robe. The term “kimono cutting” indicates the style in which the sleeve is cut in the same size as the armhole. The obi and its large but flat bow has long been a feature of fashion. Fortuny dedicated the same attention to the kimono that he did to other ethnic garments; Ferré took it up in some models when he was more influenced by fluid colors, which he assimilated during his travels to the East. In the 20th century the most renowned creator of kimonos was Itchibu Kuboto (1971), who exhibited in museums around the world. He is a specialist in the tsujigahana art, a method of dyeing that was used at the end of the sixteenth century.


Alberto (1928-2001). Cuban photographer whose real name was Diaz Gutièrrez. Very famous for being the official photographer of Fidel Castro since 1959, as well as for taking the most celebrated picture of Che Guevara and being the main correspondent of the newspaper Revolucion. Korda started his career in 1956 opening a studio of commercial, fashion and advertising photography in Havana, in which his work was dominated by the American style. His activity as a photographic reporter was always accompanied by commercial works for Cuba Export, Contex, and Cuba Moda.

Kata Zone

An artisan’s technique of Japanese printing created with small wooden molds. It was very successful in the West in the late nineteenth century and was reproposed by designers such as Kenzo and Kawakubo.


German hosiery company, the European market leader. It produces the brands Hudson, Kunert, and Silkona. In 1990 it started an acquisition strategy, beginning with Burlington. The group also owns a jeans line. It employs 4,000 people.

Kobe Fashion Museum

This is the first Japanese museum entirely dedicated to fashion. The Western clothing industry came into being with the arrival of the first foreign ships when Kobe’s harbor was opened in 1868. This met with the demands of European and American traders, but also with the Japanese themselves, who were looking towards modernity. In constant growth during the twentieth century, Kobe was nominated the Japanese Fashion City in 1973. The purpose of the museum is to record the development of this local industry. The museum’s Research Center offers help to designers and operators through courses, access to sophisticated computers, and a library. The center systematically collects examples of the local textile production. The museum’s main Collections include European clothes and accessories from the 18th century to the present day, ceremonial costumes made using traditional manufacturing techniques, sailing clothes, jacquard and fabrics, and American and European prints. There’s a large audiovisual department and a Collection of original fashion photos. Officially opened in 1997, this very modern museum hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions.