The Art Of The Kimono: ‘Everything Beautiful’

Independent/Courtesy Joan Holden

Joan Holden, a regular customer at Salon Xavier in Sag Harbor, never thought that she would be hosting a kimono trunk show there on Friday, June 28.

The trunk show will feature many items in Holden’s vast collection of kimonos and haori (jackets); some worth up to $50,000. Holden believes that these pieces are life-altering because of their aesthetic value, and she wants to share with others their physical beauty, since she couldn’t in the beginning.

Holden had always loved to travel but wasn’t able to because of a variety of joint replacements which caused her to be “bedridden and bored but unable to do anything that required real concentration,” she said.

“I guess I wanted to escape my reality,” explained Holden. “I went online and started surfing the web for anything that popped into my mind.”

For Holden, that was kimonos.

“I fell in love with the art of it,” she said. “Their incredible beauty, their attention to detail, the subtlety of the fabrics, the delicacy of the hand-painted silks, and the extraordinary skill of the embroidery.”

Her fixation on obtaining one of these pieces became a reality as she purchased one silk kimono and one silk haori from Kyoto, Japan.

Independent/Courtesy Joan Holden

As time went by, Holden — who is the wife of Pultizer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer — found herself not only possessing one of these works of art but many of them. She grew to understand the history of the kimono and the work that was put into making it. She researched the fabrics, and who wore a kimono and why. It was never Holden’s end goal to host a trunk show until one day, when she was at Salon Xavier.

“The voice in my head said, ‘Geez, this would be a great place to have a trunk show! The space is absolutely beautiful and there’s even some space to set up some kimonos for people to see.’ That day, I acted on my hunch and was so utterly delighted that Xavier thought it would be an interesting idea,” she recalled

Holden stated that she loves to make people feel joy. She said, “We’re each a work of art in our own right, now we’ll just be wearing that work of art on the outside.”

She believes that her trunk show “will make a person’s day a little bit brighter.” The colors, the fabrics, the powerful history of the kimono will alter their life, Holden said.

“What harm can it do to indulge in a bit of art, beauty, and self-love by owning a kimono that celebrates our femininity in all its many facets? We have a real freedom; we can choose to look and wear our clothes however we see fit. We are the creators of our self-image.”

Holden mentioned that she celebrates all human beings’ uniqueness and stated that these kimonos are “everything subtle and beautiful, everything colorful and grand in the world.”

The trunk show will take place from 9 AM to 5 PM at the salon on Bay Street in Sag Harbor.

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