Wendy has had a decade-long fascination with the kimono. She is inspired by the look, feel and creative process behind the Japanese style of dress, as well as its history and cultural significance. That passion and inspiration have come together beautifully in her newest creation, Kimono Gold, a stunning hand-tufted wool rug with opulent gold stripes and design details handcrafted in Tencel.
Often regarded as timeless and traditional, the kimono has played a dynamic role in Japanese dress for centuries. The word ‘kimono’ simply means ‘the thing to wear’. The style of dress has a 1,000-year history, but from the 16th century was worn by everyone in Japan.
It may look complex, but the kimono is simply constructed, made from a single bolt of cloth, which is cut into seven pieces. It is through the surface pattern, colour, decoration and techniques used that the wearer can express everything from gender – a woman’s kimono tends to be more decorative – to social status, taste and style. The shape of the garment is always the same, but the detail involved transforms the kimono into a work of art.
‘I’m always looking at kimonos,’ Wendy explains, ‘I love the history and textile artistry involved in these creations. Although simply constructed, the combination of materials, decorative techniques, patterns, and the ways in which they are worn can vary considerably. Just as storytelling is at the heart of rug design, the kimono tells its story too. It tells a story of the person wearing it, their age, status, style and personal taste. I find it all fascinating.’
‘There is a fantastic exhibition at the V&A London, called Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, which brings the history of the kimono to life and is great viewing for anyone with an interest in fashion, culture or design.’
Kimono Gold features a beautiful bold design showing cranes in flight above peonies and chrysanthemums set against a striped gold background. Maximalist and luxurious, the stripes create a slightly retro feel. The warm tonal gold-and-white stripe base is the perfect backdrop for the soaring birds, chrysanthemums and peony roses, plus a sprinkling of chinoiserie, all in a glorious spectrum of red, orange, light pink and blue, green, pale yellow and lilac. This rug is a wonderful combination of feelgood colours, designed to lift the spirits.
Hope and positivity
Kimono Gold’s story is a positive one. Throughout Eastern philosophy, the crane is a symbol of happiness, eternal youth, good fortune and longevity. It is often associated with a long, happy marriage, because cranes mate for life. In essence, it is seen as a sign of good things to come.
The chrysanthemum is a much-loved flower in the Far East. A symbol of joy, chrysanthemums are also believed to represent happiness, love and longevity. The peony signifies beauty, prosperity, good luck, love and honour. A symbol of spring, in full bloom it is often used to represent peace. Our previous journal post, Storytelling is at the heart of Eternal Toile, explains the meaning behind many of the motifs in Eastern philosophy, which you can read here.
Power of nature
As gold-edged cranes swoop and glide joyfully through colourful peonies and chrysanthemums, and light and dark green leaves swirl around the flowers of Kimono Gold, it is a reminder of the beauty and importance of nature in our lives. The gold stripes of the background enhance the luxurious, opulent style of this rug, and provide the perfect backdrop for every colourful, handcrafted motif to stand out. The story it tells is a joyful one, full of colour, light and hope for a long and happy life lived well.
Much like a beautiful form of dress, the effect is mesmerising. This is a rug to lift, lighten and brighten interiors, one to bring joy and happiness to homes. Kimono Gold will delight, impress and inspire. She is likely to draw attention and attract compliments because, much like the kimono she takes inspiration from, she too is a work of art.