Hitoe (unlined kimono)
Tsumugi (raw or waste silk)

Kimono patterns are subject to trends, and go in and out of style, just as western patterns do. The pattern of this recent hitoe – dark shades of blue that change in accordance with the warps and wefts – was also popular during the Edo period (see bottom photo), and so is something of a classic. Below is a close-up of the point where four squares meet.

In some Japanese garments, the left and right back panels are aligned randomly, but here it is clear that they were aligned to form another contrast in addition to that provided by the warp and weft color combinations. This large plaid is called Benkei after a Kabuki actor wore a large plaid patterned yukata (casual summer kimono) in the role of the brash hero Benkei, so the plaid has some associations with raffishness. The soft cottony tsumugi silk also recalls the texture of yukatas.

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