Orchid Meisen with huge peonies

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My first Meisen kimono is in the Taisho Roman style.

orchid meisen kimonoThis was the first Meisen kimono I succeeded in buying, back in 2004, and it took me many bids on different kimono before I was finally successful.

This one is from Ichiroya, who no longer lists on Ebay, and cost about $32. That’s on the expensive side for Meisen, but it’s worth it for the Taisho Roman design and the high quality of the Meisen silk.

Meisen is a reeled silk that was only made from the 1920s to the 1950s and it also gives its name to the kimono made from it. Unlike most other vintage kimono, these are actually collected by the Japanese themselves. Meisen were everyday wear for wealthy people and ‘Sunday best’ for ordinary people, but even among the world of Meisen, this one could be described as high end.

Orchid meisen closeupMeisen is smooth, soft and durable – almost indestructible in fact – and I completely fell in love with this kimono when it arrived. The main body is lined in cotton and the hakkake (lower lining) in very thin silk, and the kimono felt very loved and worn and comfortable.

It’s hard to actually say how old this kimono is – certainly pre WWII. It could be as old as Taisho (1912-1926) or it may be early Showa, but it shows the influence of Art Deco. This is called the Taisho Roman (from ‘romantic’) style in Japan and is characterised by large prints and vibrant colours.

Of all the kimono I own, this is among those that I wear most. Its very short length means no ohashori, and the long sleeves are easy to tuck out of the way, but it’s the quality of the silk that really appeals the most – a really lovely kimono.

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