FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sarah Hirahata models a 1940s silk kimono with the bold colors of an entertainer's garment at Garakuta-Do, a Japanese antiques store in Kakaako.
As seen on 'Geisha'
You, too, can own a real kimono
Those inspired by the costumes of "Memoirs of a Geisha" might head to Garakuta-Do for an upclose glimpse of elaborate woven and embroidered vintage, antique and wedding kimono and obi, along with 19th- and 20th-century furniture and housewares.
Kimono dating from the 1880s through today run from $25 to $900, with the bulk dating back 50 years. There are a few examples of kimono from the 1930s and '40s, when the film's story takes place.
According to Garakuta-Do owner Wataru Harada, geisha kimono are differentiated from streetwear by the brighter colors associated with the entertainers who wore them, and shorter sleeves that made it easier to carry out their hostess and musician duties.
Typically, those who buy the kimono and obi view them as art pieces to hang or spread on a table, or as raw materials waiting to be transformed into cushions or other pieces of clothing.
While Harada's wife Yasuko says it's sad to see them repurposed, "It's better than throwing them away. They survive that way. In the future, maybe 10, 20 years, maybe they're all gone."
Yasuko said few people buy kimono today, preferring to rent them, at $2,000 to $7,000, for special occasions.
To purchase them in "olden times," about 40 years ago, she said, would have cost $10,000. "Now there's no maximum for special orders. One takes a couple months to make.
"Used to be when we find the old tansu, inside had old kimono. Now, nothing. Now only the tea ceremony people and the flower-arranging people can survive. But maybe young people will discover kimono again someday."
The eye-candy film makes a good introduction.
Garakuta-do is at 433 Koula St. at the corner of Auahi Street. To celebrate the film's opening, the store is offering a 30 percent discount off obis and kimonos. Call 955-2099.