Anna Jackson, Curator of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition (29 February – 21 June 2020), where two of the kimono ensembles from the film will be displayed, gave an illustrated introduction to the film, with a behind-the-scenes look at this spectacular new exhibition.
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
dir: Rob Marshall
with Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li
Costumes by Colleen Atwood
USA/Japan | 2005 | 145 min | cert. 12A | col<
Based on the novel by Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha tells the wonderful story of a little Japanese girl who is sold by her poor parents to a geisha house and, against all expectations, becomes the most celebrated geisha in Kyoto.
Colleen Atwood’s work to design the film’s wardrobe relied very much on books, museums and consultants both in the US and in Japan. Her costumes, and particularly kimono, capture superbly the mood of the scenes helping portray the characters’ personalities and emotions. Hence, vibrant reds and dark colours for the deceitful Hatsumomo, soft colours for the motherly Mameha and more sophisticated kimono for the evolved main character, Sayuri. Many of them were made from luxurious silks with intricate hand-painted patterns executed with Atwood’s contemporary vision. A real feast for the eyes that won Attwood her third Best Costume Design Academy Award, and a BAFTA, among several other awards.
ABOUT COLLEEN ATWOOD
With a career that spans nearly forty years, Colleen Atwood has designed for almost every genre, from comedy (Married to the Mob) or fantasy (The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Alice Through the Looking Glass) to adventures (A Series of Unfortunate Events) or comedy/horror (Dark Shadows).
Her astonishing costume design work has won her several awards, among which four Academy Awards (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Alice in Wonderland, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and three BAFTAs (Sleepy Hollow, Memoirs of a Geisha, Alice in Wonderland).
ABOUT ANNA JACKSON
Keeper of the Asian Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Anna Jackson is curator of the exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk (V&A, 29 February -21 June) and editor of the accompanying publication. Other books include Japanese Country Textiles (1997), Japanese Textiles in the Victoria and Albert Museum (2000), and Kimono: The Art and Evolution of Japanese Fashion – the Khalili Collection (2015). Her other major research interest is the cultural relationship between Asia and the West and she has contributed her knowledge to a number of V&A exhibitions and their related publications including Art Nouveau 1890-1914 (2000) and Art Deco 1914-1939 (2003). In 2004 she was co-curator of the V&A exhibition Encounters: the Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800 and in 2009 lead curator of Maharaja: the Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, which subsequently toured internationally.