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Woman's Ensemble: Evening Dress and Long Coat

Designed by Kansai Yamamoto, Japanese, 1944 - 2020

Made in Japan, Asia

1971 (dress); 1973 (coat)

Dress: Printed synthetic satin. Coat: synthetic satin with machine embroidery

Dress: 36 x 61 inches (91.4 x 154.9 cm) Waist: 32 inches (81.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Hess's Department Store, Allentown, 1974

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The bold graphics on this evening dress, which was modeled in Kansai's Tokyo-London fashion show in 1971, were inspired by large tattoos called irezumi. Such tattoos became popular in Japan during the Edo period (1615-1868), following the publication of the Japanese adaptation and translation of the Chinese story of the 108 heroes of the Suikoden and a series of woodblock prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) that illustrated the tales of these rebel bandits. Irezumi were outlawed in the late nineteenth century during the Meiji Restoration and legalized again after 1945.

This coat, reminiscent of a woman's black formal kimono, is embroidered with the image of a seated tiger and kanji characters that spell the designer's name. It was modeled in Hess's fashion show of trends for 1974, the year of the tiger.