Meisen haori and kimono.
Meisen kimono, although originating much earlier, became the popular kimono of the Taisho and Showa periods and are a form of “mass-produced” kasuri (Japanese ikat). Rather than wrapping and tying the warp threads as in traditional kasuri, they were woven with a temporary weft, printed with the desired pattern, and the weft threads were removed, allowing the warp to then be woven with the permanent weft.
The surface patterns of these pieces reflect the new fashions of a Japan increasingly involved in exchange with the rest of the world. The motifs of wisteria (fuji), cross (juji), and butterfly (chou) all belong to the traditional Japanese repertoire. However, the color and scale of pattern have changed.
The first haori, purple with a wisteria design, shows the change in the large scale and repeating nature of the pattern, where either a much smaller scale repeat or a fewer large motifs would have appeared in earlier designs. The same is true for the third, with its large scale crosses, which were a typical kasuri pattern and traditionally indigo-dyed, but here present a newly fashionable aqua.
Another traditional design element can be seen in the second haori and first kimono; urushi, or gold and silver lacquer threads, are shot through the warp and weft, throughout the haori, and in the center of the crosses of the kimono.
Aside from the reinterpretation of traditional design elements through a new color palette and exploration of scale, other designers borrowed motifs and entire designs from the Western art movements from the late 19th through early 20th century. Many of these kimono feature geometric prints clearly inspired and occasionally even copied from these movements.