Lana Matsumoto: "Kimono can transform a woman, her face and figure"

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The owner of the first online boutique of genuine kimono Lana Matsumoto talks about the modern traditions associated with this outfit, and why kimonos in the West have become more popular than in Japan.

Vintage kimono ShopKimono, pants and shirt Tezenis, bag Kachorovska

About the idea to open your store. Once in Japan, I had a chance to try on a real silk kimono, hand-painted. To be honest, I couldn’t even imagine how a kimono can transform a woman, her face, a figure. The image is so mysterious and feminine, and the movements are more graceful.

I was surprised by the incredibly low price for such a unique outfit. It turned out that this kimono is almost a hundred years old, although it looked flawless, quite like new. Kimono was carefully preserved for many years in someone else's chest, but it never remained unused. At one time, his family bought him for a very large amount of money as a dowry for his daughter – this was the way it was accepted. But now in Japan, kimono has already lost its relevance. And many Japanese women hand out their “dowry” for a symbolic amount.

And I thought: after all, this is a chance for us Europeans to finally touch such luxury when it became so affordable! An idea came to my mind: what if to offer our girls such an outfit as fashionable clothes?

Two years ago, when I decided to open a boutique, first of all I had to form not an offer, but a demand, no matter how strange it might sound. In Eastern Europe, the attitude towards vintage and kimono has always been mixed. Our girls did not even consider such clothes as kimono as fashionable clothes. It was firmly associated only with “geisha clothes”. Breaking stereotypes was not easy and quite expensive. (Laughs)

It was necessary to connect photographers, models, stylists to show how amazingly beautiful and elegant this present kimono looks like in casual clothes and clothes for going out. And, it seems, I still managed to convince the girls.

Left: ShopKimono vintage kimono, URSO Garment swimsuit, Accentuate Jewelry necklace. Right: ShopKimono vintage kimono, Tezenis pants and shirt

About the formation of the range. Unlike other kimono stores, we sell genuine premium vintage kimono (our term). They are in our boutique about 80%. So we identified absolutely new things, but long (from 30 to 50 years) stored in warehouses in large department stores or private collections. The word “vintage” itself reflects their exclusivity, uniqueness and impossibility of making analogs. They have several important advantages over new modern kimonos:

Just because vintage kimonos were kept for a long time, their prices are much more affordable. In our boutique they can be bought ten times cheaper than the real cost.
In addition, many types of silk, from which the kimonos of the last century were made, are no longer produced in Japan. So, this kimono is also an artistic and historical value. And its value over the years will only grow. However, taking into account the demand, modern new kimonos, as well as antique vintage kimonos, over 70 years old, appeared in the boutique over time.
As for the style, I try to select the copies, the colors and the painting on which can most harmoniously fit into the image of a modern fashionable girl.

About buying. Many girls are afraid of the word "vintage", but at the same time they are not ready to afford a new silk kimono for several thousand dollars. That is why I have been looking for a long time and found a way out: for the boutique I buy mostly unused, selected vintage. And to find such things in Japan is now very difficult, believe me. You will not find them either at flea markets or at ordinary kimono-markets, which are many in Japan. And here it is mainly ordinary kimono shops that are purchased.

Few people know about this, but there are still so-called closed auctions of vintage kimono in Japan, where only collectors and representatives of large department stores gather, for an ordinary person to enter there is closed. Here, as a rule, kimonos are already selected.

Each boutique kimono is the author's handmade work of a group of the best Japanese masters, silk of the highest quality and great artistic and historical value.

ShopKimono vintage kimono, skirt and top ARTEMKLIMCHUK, Accentuate Jewelry earrings

About customers. Despite the fact that we offer kimono many times cheaper than their real value, not everyone can afford a purchase even at that price. Mostly our customers are self-contained sophisticated ladies who know the true value of such authentic things. Now there are a lot of celebrities among our customers, recently a famous singer has purchased a kimono for a solo concert. There are many buyers and men looking for an unusual valuable gift for their chosen one. Particularly pleased that many of those who bought kimono from us, come back for more and more shopping. And I understand them perfectly. (Laughs) I myself have been suffering from “kimono-mania” recently. It is hard to stop by taste.

ShopKimono vintage kimono, skirt and top ARTEMKLIMCHUK, Accentuate Jewelry earrings

On the attitude of the Japanese to the kimono. I live in Japan, and among my friends there are many Japanese women. When I show them photos of my customers from Europe in a kimono, they have tears (tears of joy). Especially the older generation. After all, it is an opportunity to give a kimono a second happy life. Whereas the Japanese themselves for several decades did not get their kimonos from chests and closets due to their unpopularity at home.

Unfortunately, kimono in Japan is now unpopular and irrelevant. Even the older generation is now dressing exclusively in the Western way. Traditional outfit can be found except at the marriage ceremony or a 20-year-old girl on the day of majority.

In the West, on the contrary, interest in kimono is only growing. Moreover, now these man-made masterpieces have become much more affordable.

ShopKimono Vintage Kimono, Tezenis Pants, Accentuate Jewelry Earrings

About your wardrobe. I was lucky: unlike many Japanese women, I have a reason to wear a traditional style kimono. I have been practicing Japanese dances with fans for several years and am obliged to wear kimonos and all other accessories for each rehearsal. To learn this, I had to study at a special school. I also wear kimono with pleasure at home and on the way out. I like to combine with silk overalls or light dresses.

ShopKimono Vintage Kimono, Tezenis Pants, Calzedonia Top, Accentuate Jewelry Earrings, Kachorovska Cossacks

On the relevance of kimono. I think kimono is a thing out of time. It will always attract attention, decorate and “tame” a girl, making her image more feminine, tender, and sophisticated.

But for me now, kimono is a mission. I opened a boutique with the sincere hope of attracting the attention of our women to real Japanese kimono – this truly unique piece of art that can not only be stored, like valuable things and expensive paintings, but also worn as fashionable clothes.

ShopKimono Vintage Kimono, Tezenis Pants, Accentuate Jewelry Earrings

Over the shooting worked:

Video: Maxim Okhrimenko
Photographer: Vova Klever
Stylist: Anna Goncharova
Hairstyles and makeup: Lyuda Agahanova
Model: Anastasia Barabash
Producer: Diana Melnikova
Stylist Assistant: Alla Polyakova

ShopKimono Instagram account @shopkimono

See also: Summer languor at sunset: Shooting L'Officiel

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