Daria Werbowy Photographed by David Sims for Vogue in May 2009
If a derivative of the blazer has been your go-to winter cover-up, it’s time to make the switch to a warmer-weather alternative. Cue spring’s new essential: the kimono wrap. Gone are the sharp edges, fixed lapels, and heavy fabrics of the boyfriend jacket. This season we’re falling for the kimono’s liquid-silk allure.
Today’s incarnations may still evoke the traditional Eastern romanticism of the beloved characters in Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, but these modern T-shaped garments have traveled a long way since Paul Poiret first cut a maverick Oriental-inspired cloak back in 1911, even since Christian Dior showed Madame Butterfly couture in 2007. While those designs were fit for nothing less than a high-octane opera outing or a black-tie charity extravaganza, spring’s runways were awash with everyday, urbanized midi and maxi updates that promise to sweep just as effortlessly—but far more romantically—over high-waist pants or floor-length frocks, in the same way that our trusted blazers have these past few cooler months. Whether Dries Van Noten’s bed-ready tunics, Céline’s minimal, quilted sleeveless vests, Alexander Wang’s utilitarian frock–trench hybrids or Haider Ackermann’s sumptuous jewel-tone tops, the new kimono offers a welcome shot of lightweight glamour to balmy summer days and nights.
Photo (from left) Marcio Madeira/firstVIEW ( Haider Ackermann); Monica Feudi / GoRunway.com (Céline); Marcio Madeira/firstVIEW (Alexander Wang); Marcio Madeira/ firstVIEW (Dries Van Noten)
Says Ackermann, “The fainting of the fabric on the floor and revealing of the neck brings back a certain sensuality.” And for full effect, he recommends using “graceful gestures” that allow it to “gently slide off your shoulder.” Squared obi belts: recommended; tabi shoes: optional.
Click through for a slideshow of Vogue’s picks for blazers’ silken successors.