Today our newest exhibition is open for the public to enjoy - Deco Kimono is a small display of six kimonos from the Art Deco period.

These fresh and bright kimonos with strong bold designs would not be out of place today and are a reminder of just how exciting Art Deco design was and still is.

These beautiful robes have all the patterns and motifs you would expect from the Art Deco era.

These include geometric shapes, bold colours and expressive curving lines (characteristic of the late-1930s period).


Traditional kimono motifs, such as stylised birds and waves, were enlarged and set in bold colours during this period, rendering them new and daring.

Hung simply with arms outstretched, the clean silhouette of each kimono is highlighted and allows you to see the entire design of both garment and fabric.

Art Deco was a global movement with different cultures around the world influencing the style and feel of the period.

Having recently watched a few episodes of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (highly recommended to me by locals) it's clear to see the influence of Japan's minimalist style and clean lines in many of the garments worn in the series.

Late in Japan's Meiji period (1868-1912), innovations in silk fabric production and dyeing techniques led to the first mass-produced and inexpensive silk kimono.

This meant that these "new" kimonos were easily affordable and became incredibly popular - worn everywhere from cafes to dance halls.

There's always more to learn about any subject and this exhibition, like all the others, has also taught me something new.

I'd no idea that one production method was to print designs straight on to thread before it was woven into cloth.

This technique was an evolution of existing practice and created a blurred effect in the finished image.

The robes on display come from the collection of Professor Jack C Richards, who has previously lent us items from his extensive collection of Lalique vases.

Jack also has a large collection of Korean, Japanese and Chinese robes and among these are a small number of kimonos from the Taisho period (1912-1926), six of which were selected for display.

Museums and galleries are incredibly lucky to have people such as Jack, who so kindly share their collections and passions - freely making their items available for broad audiences to enjoy.

As part of our ongoing commitment to participate in the Art Deco heritage of the region, we try to ensure there is always something deco-related on display over the summer Art Deco Festival period.

These robes, along with the Art Deco tea sets in our front window (with more upstairs), and some examples of Art Deco decorative arts by the Earthquake gallery, mean there is a touch of Deco on every floor in the museum this summer.

• Laura Vodanovich is the director of the Museum Theatre Gallery (MTG) Hawke's Bay.