Kimono Tales by Keiko Gordon

18 August 2017 by Jo Keenan

Keiko, age 3 in her first kimono

Keiko Gordon will be delivering kimono demonstrations at the Lady Lever Art Gallery at 2pm on 2nd and 16th September as part of our Edo Pop: Japanese print exhibition programme. Pre-booking is essential and tickets are now available for both sessions for free.

2nd September – fully booked

16th September – fully booked

You can add your name to the waiting list, in case of any cancellations by clicking the links.

Keiko’s beautiful handmade accessories, which are made from kimonos are on sale in the Gallery shop.

Keiko says:

Coming of Age ceremony at Keiko’s old primary school when she was 20 years old.

‘‘I’m from Nagoya, in central Japan and met my British husband  there. I’ve lived in England for twenty years.


I remember when I was three years old wearing a special kimono for Shi-chi-Go-San, which means seven, five and three. It’s a tradition in Japan to visit shrines and pray for children’s health, wealth and happiness when he/she reaches three and five year old for boys, three and seven year old for girls. I remember that the hair ornament I wore that day dangled down and tickled my face and my kimono was uncomfortable!

My mother and I were taught how to wear kimono by Kurenai San who was the most elegant and beautiful lady I’d ever met. My favourite kimono is a very colourful kinsha chirimen which is so soft and has gorgeous patterns. It’s a Taisho era (1912 – 1926) vintage kimono.

Keiko with her mother on the day of her university graduation.

I’m a very happy owner of about 30 kimono including yukata (summer kimono).

I source all my kimono in Japan and love visiting antique markets and secondhand kimono shops searching for a real gem! I also look for kimono to create handmade handbags and accessories with colourful, flowery and traditional patterns. By doing this, I hope to share the beauty of kimono patterns with a wider audience.

People wear kimono for special occasions like weddings, or the Coming of Age ceremony (at twenty years of age).  The kimono is having a revival in Japan with many people enjoying wearing kimono daily.

Summer is a great time to try yukata (summer kimono), which involves less accessories and is much simpler to put on. People go to summer festivals in yukata and watch fireworks.

Keiko now..

Kimono prices depend on the quality and how you’d like to have it. Kimono are traditionally a made to measure garment so a special one, is quite expensive.

A ready-made or secondhand kimono, kimono which includes all accessories could cost £250 but you could easily pay up to five thousand pounds for one!”

  1. Yasmine Katrak says:

    How interesting! Never knew there were so many… summer kimonos. The Kimono is indeed a work of art. Thanks Keiko for the wonders of Japan. Loved it.

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