Rochester is the upstate city in New York, on the south of Lake Ontario, where we get fro, NYC for about 1 hr by plain. This city prospered as key junctions of trade between Great Lakes and Pennsylvania. Companies like Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb were founded in this city. Now the special exhibition “Fashioning KIMONO: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan” is held at the Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester University, from January 31st to April 4th. The opening party for the exhibition was held on January 30th, where I presented kimono styling at the auditorium of the museum.
The opening party was very crowded. Queues of people formed in front of the exhibition room.
I presented kimono styling twice. Each time the auditorium was mostly full. First the curator introduced me and I introduced myself in English, but I could not speak very well because I didn’t have enough confidence in English. While my English teacher advised me that I have to speak slowly and pause at 2 sec after each period, it was difficult.
On the exhibition, many kimonos from the Taisho to Showa period, including Meisen kimonos, were displayed. Most of them were affected by Western designs. I used the Taisho kimono, but not Meisen kimono, for my presentation. I put it on the lady’s model and demonstrated obi exchange. When I compared obi tying to “big origami (paper folding)”, audiences laughed all together. At the other room, origami art was demonstrated.
Second, I demonstratd styling of men’s kimono, haori hakama with five family crests. After a man’s model came up to the stage in nagagi style, I told audience that I made a little strange style and I made him yakko style, tucking up a skirt of his nagagi. I told audience the origin of this style. I explained that each process of kimono dressing had history and meaning. They were very interested in all the stories. Finally, I completed hakama dressing and showed traditional Japanese formal men’s style.
After my presentation, I told the model of haori hakama style, a student of the law school, “You may go to the party in kimono style.” He was happy to run to the party. He was surrounded and photographed by many attendees.
I was a little disappointed because I could not speak very well, but representatives of the museum and the curator, Sydney, who supported me for my presentation, called my presentation a complete success. I was very happy.
As the reply of my Email, she wrote me to keep in touch in the future. I feel that this message is a wonderful present.