Charm-azing Bracelets, Stretchy Heroes in a Half Shell, Little Chirping Love Birds, a Virtual Construction Set and 200 Pound-Towing Truck Are Among the Top Toys Named to the Company’s Annual and Industry-Leading Gift List

With the holiday shopping season approaching, Toys“R”Us® has revealed its highly anticipated 2014 Holiday Hot Toy List. The annual list of 36 items, determined by Toys“R”Us play experts after months of extensive research, is packed with a wide range of brand new toys, games and other playthings expected to be at the top of kids’ wish lists this year. For the full list, visit or follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #TRUHotToyList.

“We take great pride in providing parents and gift-givers with a reliable and definitive shopping list that they can use as a starting point to help ensure kids will be smiling from ear-to-ear when they open their presents on Christmas morning,” said Richard Barry, Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “Our team of toy experts has a proven track record of predicting what are expected to be the most coveted toys each holiday season. By sharing our unique toy insights, while offering compelling services and savings opportunities, including the introduction of free online layaway and our new Rewards“R”Us loyalty program with “R”Us credit card incentives, we’re determined to help make holiday gifting easy for our customers.”

THE TOYS“R”US “FABULOUS 15”: The Best-of-the-Best of the Holiday Season

Among the 36 items named to the Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List are the Fabulous 15, expected to be the most sought-after and anticipated items of the holiday season:

THE 2014 #TRUHotToyList

From Baby’s First Christmas to Big Kids, the 2014 Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List represents the top new toys of the year in each age group:

Baby’s First Christmas:

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Bright Starts Having a Ball! Hide & Spin Monkey from Kids II®

It’s time for some monkey business! By picking up balls, placing them into the top of the monkey’s hat and pressing his nose, little ones can watch with excitement as the balls spiral down the ramp. With bright lights and silly monkey sounds and songs, parents should prepare for ongoing laughter. The Hide & Spin Monkey also encourages sit-to-stand play. 4 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 6 to 36 months.

MINNIE MOUSE Musical Touch 'n Crawl (In Packaging) - C.Hung Yu photographer

MINNIE MOUSE Musical Touch ‘n Crawl (In Packaging) – C.Hung Yu photographer

MINNIE MOUSE Musical Touch ‘n Crawl from Fisher-Price®

This too-cute Minnie Mouse is moving and grooving, encouraging crawlers to join along and further develop gross motor skills. With just a press of Minnie’s back, babies will hear adorable phrases such as “great job!” and “aren’t you sweet?” followed by Minnie crawling to a sweet melody. Minnie is soft to the touch and sized just right for little ones. 2 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 9 months to 3 years.

13 months to 2 years:

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride  (Out of Packaging)

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride (Out of Packaging)

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride Elephant from Fisher-Price®

This adorable elephant pal comes ready to play and ride with lights, music and three “grow-with-me” stages to get infants moving. Babies can bounce up and down, then steady their first steps as a walker, and ultimately take a ride. Upbeat tunes, fun sounds, phrases and sing-along songs encourage and reward actions of little learners. The elephant’s big, soft ears move as babies move to add even more fun and excitement. 2 “AAA” batteries required (included). Ages 9 months to 3 years.

Giggly Gears Twirltable

Giggly Gears Twirltable

Giggly Gears Twirltable from Little Tikes®

Little imaginations will spin into gear with this engaging and interactive Toys“R”Us exclusive play table. With over 20 colorful gears that turn, swirl and wind, there are endless ways to play and countless hours of imaginative fun to be had. Parents will love to watch as toddlers invent new ways to spin and stack gears while music plays. 2 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 12 months and up.

2 to 4 years:

Cabbage Patch Kids Twinkle Toes 2 (Out of Packaging)

Cabbage Patch Kids Twinkle Toes 2 (Out of Packaging)

Cabbage Patch Kids® 14-Inch SKECHERS® Twinkle Toes Kid with Backpack from JAKKS Pacific, Inc.

Kids can’t help but shine when playing with the all-new Toys“R”Us exclusive 14-inch Cabbage Patch Kid, featuring real light-up accessories and SKECHERS shoes. Available in a variety of ethnicities, face shapes, hair colors, eye colors and more to choose from, each Cabbage Patch Kid has a one-of-a-kind name and comes with a birth certificate and adoption papers. 6 “AG13/LR44” batteries required (included). Ages 3 years and up. Continue reading

Absolut® Launches Limited Edition Andy Warhol Bottle

Celebrated Vodka Brand Honors Iconic Collaboration with Legendary Artist in time to Make the Holidays “Pop”

“I love the bottle; I want to do something…” – Andy Warhol on the iconic Absolut® Vodka bottle

Absolut Vodka has proudly announced the Limited Edition Andy Warhol bottle, a new design celebrating the brand’s iconic collaboration with the illustrious Andy Warhol, embodying the brand’s commitment to supporting all things rooted in artistic expression and creativity.

In 1986, Andy Warhol became the first in a long line of celebrated artists to collaborate with Absolut, when he created an original piece inspired by his adoration of the brand’s iconic bottle. This fall, Absolut brings Warhol’s creative vision into the 21st century, by transforming his artwork into a three-dimensional bottle, allowing anyone to “Make the Holidays Pop” with their very own Warhol. Since 1986, the Swedish vodka brand has collaborated with thousands of cutting-edge artists, including Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois, Annie Liebovitz – and more recently, Jay-Z , Spike Jonze, Swedish House Mafia and Lady Gaga. The Warhol Limited Edition bottle design is black with blue, pink and yellow details – replicating Andy Warhol’s original Absolut Warhol painting and features approximately four million bottles, which will be distributed worldwide beginning October 2014.

Absolut Vodka unveils new Limited Edition Absolut Warhol bottle, offering a three-dimensional replica of Warhol’s original 1986 Absolut-inspired artwork and print ad for the vodka brand.

Absolut Vodka unveils new Limited Edition Absolut Warhol bottle, offering a three-dimensional replica of Warhol’s original 1986 Absolut-inspired artwork and print ad for the vodka brand.

We are incredibly excited to launch this unique bottle, the design of which exemplifies our iconic partnership with the legendary Andy Warhol,” says Joao Rozario, Vice President, Vodkas, Pernod Ricard.We hope party-goers everywhere will view it as the quintessential ‘plus one’ that will make their holiday parties pop this season.”

To support the launch of the Warhol Limited Edition bottle of Absolut Original, Absolut is launching two transformative consumer-facing initiatives: the Warhol Spirit by Absolut experience and the Andy Warhol Art Exchange by Absolut.

In celebration of the new Andy Warhol Edition, Absolut will collaborate with Andy Warhol once again by reaching out to his spirit for a one-of-a-kind nightlife experience in New York City. During the experience, acclaimed DJ A-Trak, light artist Schnellebuntibilder and experimental EVP artist Leif Elggren, will work together to transform sound waves originating from Warhol’s spirit into a one-of-a-kind nightlife experience. Using the sound waves as the main input, the three artists will create a live-collaboration where Schnellebuntibilder’s interactive light installation will react to A-Trak’s music, which mixes in Andy Warhol’s words picked up by Leif Elggren’s EVP machine. Through this truly unique experience, Absolut seeks to inspire audiences to realize that anything is possible through creativity.

By transforming Warhol’s artwork into a three-dimensional bottle, Absolut allows anyone to “Make the Holidays Pop” with their very own Warhol.

By transforming Warhol’s artwork into a three-dimensional bottle, Absolut allows anyone to “Make the Holidays Pop” with their very own Warhol.

To allow audiences anywhere in the world to experience the connection with Warhol, an interactive site will live-stream what sounds are picked up from the EVP before, during, and after the event. Continue reading

Spring/Summer 2015 New York Fashion Week Report: ELLE Runway Collection by Kohl’s

Photo Credit: Tom Concordia

The ELLE Runway Collection by Kohl’s debuted their Fall 2014 collection at STYLE360 New York Fashion Week. Combining Parisian luxury and New York City Style, the collection consisted of delicate pleated skirts, embellished tops, elegant floral prints and exquisite polka dot patterns. Setting a romantic, whimsical theme with models walking under a frame of Eiffel Tower and front row café tables, guests were made to feel as if they were on the streets of Paris, with each look embodying fashion’s latest trends while still also providing easy to wear apparel for the everyday woman. The collection is available immediately for purchase on

Photo Credit: Tom Concordia

Photo Credit: Tom Concordia

Photo Credit: Tom Concordia

Photo Credit: Tom Concordia


Johnny Mathis Set To Release THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION On November 17

Johnny Mathis’ near 60-year tenure as a core artist at Columbia Records was only interrupted once, when he founded his own production company, Global Records, for a four-year stay at Mercury Records from 1963 to 1967.  His entire album output for that label (virtually every title rare and out of print for decades) is brought back into full focus with the release of the deluxe box set, THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION ( This 13-CD clamshell-design package, with personal album-by-album annotations by Johnny, will be available every­where on November 17(th) through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTER­TAIN­­­MENT.

THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION celebrates the versatile and distinctive voice of Johnny Mathis, who has been enchanting audiences around the

Johnny Mathis "The Complete Global Albums Collection" to be released Nov 17th. (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings)

Johnny Mathis “The Complete Global Albums Collection” to be released Nov 17th. (PRNewsFoto/Legacy Recordings)

world since the age of 19.  He was an athletic scholarship freshman at San Francisco State College in 1955, when Columbia staff A&R producer George Avakian ‘discovered’ him singing in a Bay Area nightclub.  Johnny was not yet 21 when he finally arrived in New York City for his first recording sessions with Avakian in ’56. Columbia A&R chief Mitch Miller took over Johnny’s hitmaking production reins from 1957 to 1960.

Mathis scored his first string of consecutive smash hits in ’57 – “Wonderful! Wonderful!,” “It’s Not For Me To Say,” “Chances Are” (his first #1), “The Twelfth Of Never,” “No Love (But Your Love),” and “Wild Is The Wind.”  He went on to enjoy one of the most enduring careers in popular music, an artist who has been present on the singles and albums charts in every decade from the ’50s to the ’10s.  He remains the only recording act in history with two LPs listed in the Billboard Top 10 (even the Top 25) on Joel Whitburn’s “Albums Of Longevity” chart – 1958’s Johnny’s Greatest Hits (at 490 weeks, that’s over nine years!) and 1959’s Heavenly (at 295 weeks) – iconic achievements in pop music history.

Johnny suddenly decamped for Mercury Records (Miller’s pre-Columbia label) in 1963.  With the launch of his Global Records imprint, Johnny was embarking on a new and challeng­ing chapter of his already illustrious career.  His first LP under the new deal was The Sounds Of Christmas (1963, his second career Christmas LP), produced by arranger/conductor Don Costa.  Without Miller’s input, Johnny made the bold decision to self-produce many of the Global titles, starting with his second release, Tender Is The Night (1964).

All of a sudden,” Mathis notes in his new introduction, written especially for this box set, “I was in charge of my own decisions in the studio, and I didn’t have someone to guide me on what I was doing, right or wrong… I wasn’t a producer, and I didn’t realize until then how important producers were and how much they assisted me in my work.  I tried to do what I could, but I had no idea what would be good for the market.”

Johnny’s oft-overlooked Global recordings have always cried out for a more in-depth look at their importance, given his lack of regard at the time for current trends.  With that in mind, THE COMPLETE GLOBAL ALBUMS COLLECTION offers a dazzling array of familiar pop standards and unique musical experiments.  Titles are as diverse as the Spanish language Ole (1965) and the forward-looking The Sweetheart Tree (1965), recorded in London.  Over the course of his Global recordings, Johnny collaborated with arrangers and conductors familiar from his time at Columbia (Costa, Glenn Osser) and drew on material by everyone from the Beatles, to Johnny Mercer, Bacharach-David, Bricusse-Newley, Brazilian composers Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa, even Gerry Goffin-Carole King. Continue reading

Stoli ® Vodka Launches New National Campaign

Stoli® Vodka has announced the launch of its new advertising campaign, “THE Vodka.” Produced by Richmond-based The Martin Agency, the campaign is the brand’s first major advertising effort since the inception of Stoli Group USA this January 2014. The new campaign, which will be used across global markets as well as the U.S., toasts this iconic heritage and bold character, declaring to all that Stoli is “THE Vodka.

Stoli(R) Vodka today announced the launch of its new advertising campaign, which was produced by The Martin Agency and celebrates authenticity and the brand's iconic heritage. (PRNewsFoto/Stoli Group USA, LLC)

Stoli(R) Vodka today announced the launch of its new advertising campaign, which was produced by The Martin Agency and celebrates authenticity and the brand’s iconic heritage. (PRNewsFoto/Stoli Group USA, LLC)

The new campaign boldly celebrates the brand’s authenticity and places the spotlight on Stoli’s heritage as a trailblazer in the vodka category for the past 80 years and aims to make a departure from an industry flooded with the superficiality of over-designed bottles and over-idealized lifestyles. Elements of the campaign capture what it means to be “THE Vodka,” a title reserved for Stoli as the original premium imported vodka in the United States, the first vodka brand in space and the pioneers of vodka flavors.

“‘THE Vodka’ campaign firmly supports Stoli’s commitment to stay true to our longstanding heritage and unwavering focus on what is the most important–the spirit inside the iconic Stoli bottle,” said Lori Tieszen, Chief Marketing Officer of Stoli Group USA, “This campaign represents what people crave from their vodka: something authentic; something bold; something real.

The campaign launched in the United States with a total redesign of the brand’s website, print campaign, and out-of-home advertisements appearing in major cities around the country including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Boston. A full range of digital content will reach Stoli’s target audience of millennials through online partners including Grooveshark, Playboy, Esquire, Mashable, Complex, DailyBreak, and UnRuly.  Print buys include ESPN The Magazine, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Men’s Fitness, Playboy, and Esquire, and in 2015, a new TV commercial will air nationally.

Creative executions will highlight the difference between being one of many versus being an original, including an ongoing series of animated videos made specifically for social media. The short, irreverent videos are illustrated by renowned graphic novelist and designer Andrew Rae, and will be released every week through the end of the year.

One of the best examples of Stoli’s authenticity is their iconic label. Unlike the many over-designed vodka bottles you see on shelves today, Stoli has been consistent and stayed true to its character since the beginning,” said Jorge Calleja, Global Group Creative Director, The Martin Agency.  “We wanted to showcase the iconography that has made Stoli ‘THE Vodka’ and explore the difference between what it means to be artificial vs. authentic.  Do you want to have ‘a’ night or ‘THE’ night? Do you want to drink ‘a’ vodka or ‘THE Vodka’?

To further celebrate what it takes to be a “THE,” Stoli is going on a tour of the country to pay homage to the people and places that have shaped nightlife culture within the United States and set the stage for the epic nightlife scenes of today.  From the bartender to the club promoter, the legendary music venues to the DJs, Stoli will tell the story of their journey to the iconic status they hold today. Beginning on Avenue A in New York City’s East Village this October, Stoli will celebrate one legendary epicenter of nightlife culture and how the local characters, its denizens and doyennes, have turned just a street in the city into “THE” street.

The campaign will continue through 2015 to celebrate nightlife scenes across the nation, spanning over 10 markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami.


Costume Institute’s Spring 2015 Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum to Focus on Chinese Imagery in Art, Film, and Fashion

Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion

Exhibition Locations: Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Costume Institute’s spring 2015 exhibition, made possible by Yahoo, with additional support is provided by Condé Nast, will be Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion, on view from May 7 through August 16, 2015 (preceded on May 4 by The Costume Institute Benefit). Presented in the Museum’s Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, the exhibition will explore how China has fueled the creative imagination for centuries, resulting in layers of cultural translations, re-translations, and mistranslations. In this collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, high fashion will be juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, as well as Chinese films to reveal ongoing dialogues between East and West, past and present.

This is The Costume Institute’s first collaboration with another curatorial department since AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion in 2006, a partnership with the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Chinese Whispers will feature more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art. Filmic representations of China will be incorporated throughout to reveal how our visions of China are framed by narratives that draw upon popular culture, and also to recognize the importance of cinema as a medium through which we understand the richness of Chinese history.

The exhibition, a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art, coincides with the Museum’s year-long centennial celebration of the Asian Art Department, which was created as a separate curatorial department in 1915. Chinese Whispers is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator, with the support of Harold Koda, Curator in Charge, both of The Costume Institute. Additional support is provided by Maxwell Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman; Denise Patry Leidy, Curator; and Zhixin Jason Sun, Curator, all of the Department of Asian Art.

The Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will present a series of “whispers” or conversations through time and space, focusing on Imperial China; Nationalist China, especially Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s; and Communist China, with an emphasis on changing images of Chairman Mao. These ‘whispers,’ and others in the exhibition, will be illustrated with scenes from films by such groundbreaking Chinese directors as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, and Wong Kar Wai. Distinct vignettes will be devoted to “women of style,” including Madame Wellington Koo, Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong May-Ling), and Empress Dowager Cixi.

Directly above the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the Chinese Galleries on the second floor will showcase fashion from the 1700s to the present, juxtaposed with decorative arts from Imperial China, including jade, lacquer, cloisonné, and blue-and-white porcelain, mostly drawn from the Met’s collection. The Astor Court will feature a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on the celebrated performer Mei Lanfang, who inspired John Galliano’s spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture Collection, ensembles from which will be showcased alongside Mr. Mei’s original opera costumes.

Designers in the exhibition will include Giorgio Armani, Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen), Roberto Cavalli, Peter Dundas (Emilio Pucci), Tom Ford (Yves Saint Laurent), John Galliano (Dior), Jean Paul Gaultier, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Picciolo (Valentino), Craig Green, Ground-Zero, Guo Pei, Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton), Mary Katrantzou, Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), Ralph Lauren, Ma Ke, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen (Givenchy), Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Isabel Toledo, Dries van Noten, Vivienne Westwood, Jason Wu, Laurence Xu, and others.

I am excited about this partnership between these two forward-thinking departments that will undoubtedly reveal provocative new insights into the West’s fascination with Chinese aesthetics,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Met. “The artistic direction of acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai will take visitors on a cinematic journey through our galleries, where high fashion will be shown alongside masterworks of Chinese art.”

From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashions are infused at every turn with fantasy, romance, and nostalgia,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in The Costume Institute. “In an intricate process of translation and mistranslation similar to the game of ‘Telephone’–which the British call ‘Chinese Whispers’–designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a fantastic pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.”

Internationally renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai will be the exhibition’s artistic director working with his longtime collaborator William Chang, who will supervise styling. Creative production company 59 Productions (exhibition designers for David Bowie is at the V&A Museum and video for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony) will serve as the exhibition’s production designers.

William Chang and I are pleased to be working in collaboration with The Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on this exciting cross-cultural show,” said Wong. “Historically, there have been many cases of being ‘lost in translation’–with good and revealing results. As Chinese filmmakers we hope to create a show that is an Empire of Signs–filled with meaning for both East and West to discover and decipher.”

In celebration of the exhibition opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit will take place on Monday, May 4, 2015. Silas Chou will serve as Honorary Chair. The evening’s co-chairs will be Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, Marissa Mayer, Wendi Murdoch, and Anna Wintour. This event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements. Additional financial support for the 2015 exhibition and benefit is provided by a group of Chinese donors. The design for the 2015 Costume Institute Gala Benefit will be created by Wong Kar Wai and William Chang with 59 Productions, and Raul Avila, who has produced the Benefit décor since 2007. A publication by Andrew Bolton will accompany the exhibition. It will be produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, and will be available in early May.

Kimono: A Modern History at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

September 27, 2014–January 4, 2015

Exhibition Location: Arts of Japan Galleries 225–231

The kimono has long served as a tableau on which to inscribe and describe the effects of modernization on Japan. This aspect of kimono—its capacity to absorb and reflect cultural change so that it has become a chronicle of the country’s efforts to shape its national identity on the world stage—will be highlighted in the exhibition’s organization. Worn by men and women of all ages, the kimono is a simple garment with a complex history that has been shaped by the evolution of weaving, dyeing, and embroidery techniques as well as cultural changes in Japan.

Featuring more than 50 spectacular robes dating from the 18th century to the present day, Kimono: A Modern History will tell the fascinating story of this eloquent garment, whose designs and patterns reflect trends in pictorial and decorative arts of the same period. Opening on September 27, the exhibition will present a range of garments, from sumptuous robes custom-made for wealthy patrons to every-day kimono worn by the general public. Some 25 robes on loan from private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the renowned John C. Weber Collection, and others, will complement examples from the Metropolitan Museum’s own rich collection. Also on view will be paintings, prints, illustrated books, and other objects, including lacquerware and ceramics, with design patterns that mirror kimono.

Utagawa (Gountei) Sadahide, Japanese, 1807–1878/79 Drawing Room of a Foreign Business Establishment in Yokohama Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1861, 9th month Center and right sheets of a triptych of polychrome woodblock prints Ink and color on paper, O-ban Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1959

Utagawa (Gountei) Sadahide, Japanese, 1807–1878/79
Drawing Room of a Foreign Business Establishment in Yokohama
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1861, 9th month
Center and right sheets of a triptych of polychrome woodblock prints
Ink and color on paper, O-ban
Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1959

The first gallery, with gorgeous Noh robes, will be followed by a section devoted to the development during the Edo period (1615–1867) of what would be considered today as the “fashion industry”; it will focus, for example, on the network that formed among publishers of ukiyo-e prints, woodblock-printed books, and fabric merchants. During this period, woodblock-printed pattern books, called hinagatabon, played a crucial role in transmitting the most fashionable designs, just as fashion magazines and catalogues do today. The objects on view will include a rare example of one of the very earliest woodblock-printed pattern books, the On-hiinagata, published in 1667.

Utagawa Kokunimasa, Japanese, 1874–1944 Swimming at Ōiso, Distant Views of Mount Fuji Japan, Meiji period (1868–1912), 1893 Triptych of polychrome woodblock prints; ink and color on paper Oban triptych: 14 1/8 x 25 1/2 in. (35.9 x 64.8 cm) Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1960

Utagawa Kokunimasa, Japanese, 1874–1944
Swimming at Ōiso, Distant Views of Mount Fuji
Japan, Meiji period (1868–1912), 1893
Triptych of polychrome woodblock prints; ink and color on paper
Oban triptych: 14 1/8 x 25 1/2 in. (35.9 x 64.8 cm)
Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1960

The history of Edo-period kosode fashion will also be discussed, through screens and ukiyo-e paintings. Among the works on view will be the provocatively entitled screen Whose Sleeves (Tagasode) and a selection of elegant kosode, women’s kimono with “small sleeve” openings.

The next section will focus on the modernization of the kimono in the Meiji period (1868–1912). In an attempt to place Japan on equal footing with Europe and America, Japanese officials began wearing Western-style clothing. In the late 1880s, even Empress Shōken promoted Western gowns to encourage women to adopt modern modes of dress. Kimono gradually became identified as Japan’s national dress, and at the same time became a highly sought-after fashion item in Europe and the United States, coinciding with the Japonisme craze that inspired many Western artists and designers, notably Vincent van Gogh and other Impressionists.

The importation of Western dyes and machinery had a profound effect on the kimono industry. This section of the exhibition will present a selection of modern kimono made especially for a Western clientele. During this time, with fabrics being designed to be exhibited at World Expositions, Japan’s domestic textile industry gradually became integrated into world textile markets. The late Meiji period saw the emergence of Japanese department stores, such as Takashimaya, new advertising techniques, the rise of a largely female consumer base, and wide distribution of fashion magazines, often inspired by Western models. The pieces on view will include—from the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute collection—a lavish Takashimaya kimono made for the Western market, as well as Meiji-period woodblock prints to illustrate contemporary fashion trends. A selection of Meiji period decorative arts will complete this section.

The Taishō period (1912–1926) saw great urban growth, particularly in Tokyo. The prosperity and optimism of the period is evident in the colorful and cheerful textile designs, such as a kimono ensemble with brilliant explosions of chrysanthemum blossoms. Although Western-style clothes gained popularity, the kimono continued to be every-day wear. The motifs were dramatically enlarged and new designs appeared, sometimes inspired by Western-style painting. In creating such boldly patterned kimono, the designers benefited from new types of silk and innovative patterning techniques, making relatively inexpensive, highly fashionable garments available to more people than ever before. These vibrant kimono styles remained popular until the 1950s.

During the Shōwa period (1926–1989), kimono design continued to evolve in response to artistic and political upheaval at the international level. This section will include a selection of war propaganda kimono with unique designs reflecting contemporary politics of the 1930s and 1940s. Representative of the kind of deluxe garments that were also created during the interwar period is a dramatic 1930s kimono on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, that shows a bold composition of brilliantly colored peonies against a mustard-colored background.

Over time, kimono makers evolved from nameless artisans to designated Living National Treasures, and the kimono gradually transformed from an item of every-day clothing to an exclusively ceremonial garment. And today the story continues, with Japan experiencing a “kimono boom” and many eminent fashion designers, both in Japan and the West, creating innovative works inspired by the age-old indigenous garment.

The exhibition is organized by John T. Carpenter, Curator of Japanese Art, and Monika Bincsik, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, both in the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This exhibition is inspired by the research and publications of the late Terry Satsuki Milhaupt, an independent scholar who specialized in the history of Japanese textiles. The exhibition will coincide with the publication of Milhaupt’s book Kimono: A Modern History, published by Reaktion Books. The Museum will offer education programs in conjunction with the exhibition, including aSunday at the Met on October 19, 2014, a Friday evening gallery event, exhibition tours, a Drop-in Drawing class, and a studio workshop.

Continue reading