Haori

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japanese-haori

- Haori Collection -

Haori is the outer garment worn by the Japanese over the kosode (a type of robe), both for men and women. The haori is cut like a kimono, but shorter and varies in length from mid-thigh to mid-calf.

The haori has one layer of silk, like a kimono, and is lined with another layer of silk or cotton. Unlike the kimono, the haori does not overlap at the front and is not secured by an obi, a type of sash. It is fastened at the centre front with braided silk cords.

Haori Origins

Geisha, professional hostesses and entertainers, were the first women to wear haori over their kimonos. In the 17th century, geisha in the Fukagawa district of Edo, as Tokyo was then known, began wearing haori to demonstrate their mastery and skill in the arts "like men".

The haori looks like a shortened kimono without overlapping front panels (okumi). It usually has a thinner collar than a kimono and is sewn by adding two thin triangular elements at each side seam. The jacket is tied in the front with two short cords, called haori himo, which are attached to small loops hidden inside the garment.

In the early 1800s, the geishas of the hanamachi (花街?) of Fukagawa, began wearing haori over their kimono while the garment was exclusive to men. Known as haori geisha, they would popularize the wearing of haori by women, which became common in the 1930s.

Initially a radical fashion statement, within a century it was common for women to wear either the haori under their kimono or the hakama (a cut-out trouser or split skirt) over their kimono, but not both. At that time, geishas were the only Japanese who did not wear the haori.

In the nineteenth century, the haori became the main garment for displaying the mon, or family crests, at occasions such as weddings and funerals.

The mon are small, usually white logos that are simple decorative designs of natural symbols that families have adopted.

Unlike the yukata, the haori is not closed, but instead is worn open or held closed by a cord connecting the two flaps. During the Sengoku period, the sleeveless haori was often worn over samurai armor, much like the tabard in Europe.

During the Edo period, Japan's economic growth allowed the middle class to begin acquiring haori, along with the emergence of laws against ostentatious display for all but the warrior caste; this in turn gave rise to discreet haori designs with lavishly ornamented fabric.