Outside the museum (Photo: Ellis Kim)
Apr 15th
Jun 25th
Outside the museum (Photo: Ellis Kim)

The Elegant Other: Cross-cultural Encounters in Fashion and Art 2017

West meets east fashion exhibition in Yokohama

Venue: Yokohama Museum of Art When: Apr 15th - Jun 25th 2017

During the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912), Japan rushed to catch up with the powerful, influential Western countries in order to become equal competitors. The nation saw the need to modernize by following the manner in which the U.S. and Europe had developed their countries. Consequently, Japan adopted Western political, social, and economic ideas, and one extreme change in Japanese society was the fashion.

Once Japan opened itself up again to foreigners and foreign trade, a flow of cultural imports between the West and Japan began, with each integrating aspects of the other’s fashion into their own. During the early Meiji period, those in the military and police force wore Western uniforms, but it wasn’t until later when the rest of society wore Western clothing. Western clothing symbolized modernity in a country that was trying to reestablish itself as a strong and independent country in the world.

Those interested in seeing the combined products of Western and Japanese fashion can visit the Yokohama Museum of Art. It is holding its exhibition 'The Elegant Other: Cross-cultural Encounters in Fashion and Art' until June 25th. This exhibition is a collaboration with the Kyoto Costume Institute and showcases the everyday dresses and evening gowns Japanese women wore during the Meiji period. In addition, visitors can also see paintings, photographs, and accessories which help create a much more detailed image of life in Japan back then.

Although the exhibition is open until late June, spring is perhaps the best time to go – there’s a nice, small park area right outside the museum where you can sit and enjoy the flowers and the quiet bustle of other visitors, couples having a picnic, and children running around.

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