The meisen style is a consequence the opening to the West, in that era of modernization known as Meiji Period that would lead to the lively Taisho and Showa Period, that saw the boom of the meisen kimono.
Opening the borders and starting trades and massive export led to an impoverishment of the quality of the silk destined to the inner market-- but at the same time, Japan imported extraordinary novelties, like cinemas, dance, trends and different lifestyles. Modernization of life and freetime merged with the introduction of colourful, vivid patterns that characterized the modern days of Japanese history.
The economy of the areas focused on the production of meisen kimonos showed an increase, as the scholastic education started to spread to the female population, with more and more women starting to work and leading professional, independent lives.
In this peculiar historical momento, the meisen kimono, with its cheap price and colourful designs, became a symbol of a progressive and active lifestyle.
The printing used the ikat technique, imported from the Asian territories of Indonesia and Philippines. By this peculiar technique, the silk is dyed, then the yarn is separated and weaved back: this permits a great freedom with design and styles, and that typical "soft", blended look that defines the patterns realized in such a typical style.
The exhibition was part of the 150th Anniversary of the Japan-Italy Relationship, and it's been an extremely interesting visit!