Last time, I wrote about the difference in the type of KIMONO depending on each season, today let me explain about the design of KIMONO.

As you may know, KIMONO is traditional clothing characteristic of Japan, so Japanese culture is condensed in it.  

In addition, highly delicate and outstanding technique of Japanese artisans are used throughout the KIMONO making process such as dyeing and weaving process.

Being blessed with a richness of nature which changes from season to season, we Japanese acquired a specific sense of beauty which is represented by such expressions as “KACHO FUGETSU” or “IKI TO MIYABI”.

This sense of beauty is expressed everywhere in KIMONO design.

kachofugetsu“KACHO FUGETSU” literally means “Flower, Bird, Wind and Moon”, but it actually means the beauties of nature in general. So, in KIMONO world, “KACHO FUGETSU” means patterns of KIMONO which are based on the beautiful scenery or things of nature.

As for “IKI TO MIYABI”, this is the very phrase to express the sensitivity of Japanese people.
“IKI TO MIYABI” can be translated somehow into “urbaneness and elegance” in English but I guess you will need further explanations about it. 

edokkoOriginally, “IKI” means the disposition of a native of EDO (the ancient name for Tokyo) and it is said that they were frank, cheerful, refined and romantic even.

So “IKI” is the sense of beauty spontaneously generated from the life of ordinary EDO people known as EDOKKO.

For the KIMONO patterns or colors which were loved by those EDOKKO, we call “IKI” color or “IKI” pattern.  

tsumugiThe striped pattern of a KIMONO preferably used in TSUMUGI (a daily KIMONO fabric) is the typical example.

In contrast to “IKI”, “MIYABI” is an expression to mean elegant, graceful and courtly.
maiko“MIYABI” colors or patterns are preferred mainly by people in KYOTO, so MAIKO (apprentice geisha in KYOTO) dresses up herself in KIMONO in a manner which is “MIYABI” and “HANNARI” (graceful atmosphere in KYOTO dialect).