Last Updated on November 29, 2022 by Dominique de Merteuil
I’ve been dreaming about a 1930s kimono robe ever since I saw Marlene Dietrich wearing one in Shanghai Express. The 1931 visual masterpiece was directed by Josef von Sternberg.
The notorious white flower of China. You heard of me, and you always believed what you heard.Shanghai Lily
Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express.
The breathtaking 1930s kimono robe you see me wearing in the pictures is one of my most cherished vintage pieces. It was a gift from Letia, the Queen of vintage kimonos herself, owner of Daggers and Dames, where you will find truly extraordinary vintage lingerie.
I remember opening the incredibly well-packed garment and immediately falling in love with the magnificent shade of teal. The kimono is made of silk crepe with floral lace panels throughout and what makes it really special for me, is that it’s adorned with hand-painted cranes. Very similar to the ones on Dietrich’s robes in the photographs above. It’s definitely the most dramatic dressing gown I’ve ever owned and it’s a piece I wouldn’t hesitate to wear on a red carpet.
Its previous owner had an exquisite taste and inexorable appetite for collecting kimonos in the 1930s and 1940s. She had a separate room with drawers made of cedar wood where she would store her precious pieces.
This is one of the many reasons why I love vintage fashion. The history of each garment, the lives they had before they came to us, and the new generation of vintage aficionados.
I only hope that I’m doing this extraordinary piece of well-deserved justice by wearing and styling it the way I do. One thing is for sure, I cherish and love my 1930s kimono as much as I’m sure the original owner did.
To give my 1930s kimono robe a slightly modern twist, I accessorised it with;
- Wolford Lea tights
- French Sole Love Heart flats
- Handmade hair-flower pin from Shazam Pin Up Flowers
PHOTOGRAPHY, GREGORY MICHAEL KING
Don’t you find respectable people terribly… dull?Shanghai Lily
- I’m wearing an original 1930s kimono robe
- 1940s bracelet
Full-length image of my beloved vintage kimono robe.
Detail of my 1930s Kimono robe paired with Wolford Lea tights and French Sole Love Heart flats.
The back of my 1930s Kimono robe from Daggers and Dames.
Vintage Kimonos at Daggers and Dames
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