A kimono worn by Queen front-runner Freddie Mercury will be put on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London this month. This is the first time that the piece of clothing will be made public, having been previously worn by the late singer-songwriter in his house. While prior to this the kimono had been kept in a private collection, it will now provide a glimpse into the intimate world of the singer.
The exhibition titled ‘Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk’, will open February 29. Believed to be the traditional symbol of Japan, the kimono has been seen as unchanging and timeless. The exhibition will counter this perception and show people that the garment can be dynamic and evolving in the world of fashion, inspiring designers along the way.
Mercury was often celebrated for his ostentatious choice of stage costumes. It is believed that while touring Japan with his band in 1975, he began collecting Japanese antiquities. The Victoria & Albert Museum told international media that in the mid 1970s, he would sometimes wear “boldly patterned kimono onstage, challenging the norms of gender and sexuality”. “This personal kimono however is more delicate in its design and overtly feminine, revealing that gender fluidity extended to his private life,” it said.
Mercury’s kimono will be displayed alongside Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork’s dress designed by Alexander McQueen, and featured on the cover of the album Homogenic; an original Star Wars costume resembling a kimono; and a Jean Paul Gautier ensemble worn by singer Madonna in her ‘Nothing Really Matters‘ video. In total, over 315 works will be displayed at the exhibition.
Show curator Anne Jackson has said Mercury’s clothing was significant for the exhibition, because his “wearing of a kimono reveals how this iconic garment has the power to transcend national, cultural, sexual and gender identities”. “Freddie Mercury was one of the most talented and charismatic musicians and performers of the 20th century, and we are delighted to display a kimono that belonged to him,” she said.
The exhibition will go on till June 21, 2020.
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