News from Kazari + Ziguzagu

Kimono: Its Place in the Modern World

Monday, January 14, 2019

1,2[The February 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a fun time dressing up in Yukata - a semi casual type of summer kimono.]

The Japanese kimono (or traditional Japanese robe) is a timeless icon of style and culture worldwide. Whether it’s a men's kimono or women's kimono, this simple, elegant garment has a revered history, dating back to the Heian period (794-1192). Yet even today, style lovers still regard the kimono as having earned an unshakeable place as a 21st century sartorial statement. At Kazari + Ziguzagu we’re in agreement.

Traditional Japanese kimono: a history

3[The March 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon net focused on a modern interpretation of traditional indigo dyed cotton Kimono.]

The first recorded Japanese kimono was during the Heian period (794-1192). The word kimono derives from two Japanese words4: ‘ki’ (meaning wear) and ‘mono’ (meaning thing) but was commonly understood as the word for clothing. A traditional kimono was hand sewn and designed to reflect the distinctive ‘self’ of the person wearing it. When laid flat, a kimono or ‘Japanese jacket’ is T-shaped. A kimono gown was traditionally made from silk, hemp or linen and the colour, style and pattern varied greatly depending on many factors like age, gender, occasion, marital status and social class. Common motifs for the Japanese kimono are nature scenes and flora and fauna.


5[The April 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net featured a striking vintage Kimono and an unusual abstract linear motif Obi pairing with brightly coloured accessories based around a theme of 'wearable art'. Set in the grounds of the Heide Museum of Modern Art's sculpture park.]

There are many unique charms to a kimono. Just one instance is the fact that the dye colouring kimono fabric is thought to transfer its medical benefits into the fabric. For example, blue fabrics dyed from indigo were believed to have the ability to heal and prevent infection. A red traditional kimono - symbolising not only happiness but also passion, sacrifice and power - is still the most popular colour in Japan.

During the Meiji Period (1868-1912) the Japanese government encouraged its citizens to adopt western style dress and the kimono fell out of fashion as an everyday garment but has undergone steady resurgence in recent times as a vibrant form of self-expression. The world over, it is seen as a signifier of a uniquely Japanese reverence for grace and elegance.

Kimono as contemporary fashion

6[The May 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a very versatile type of Kimono called Komon which has a all-over pattern. You can dress up or down by pairing with casual or formal Obi and Kimono dress accessories.] 

Many aspects of Japanese culture have influenced western countries and these photographs show models wearing kimono Australia style, demonstrating how it can be worn in a contemporary western context. Kimonos are very versatile, wearable during all seasons and for many occasions, depending on the materials and patterns.


7[The June 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a Kimono in wedding style with a modern long-sleeved formal Kimono called 'Furisode'.]


Kimono ‘obi’ or sash

Obi kimono and kimono sash in fact refer to the same thing (the word ‘obi’ means sash in Japanese) and tend to be worn in a more traditional context. Despite the popularity of the silk kimono dressing gown or floral kimono Australia wide, which can easily be worn without an obi or sash, there is still a place for traditional kimono, worn in the Japanese traditional style.

Kazari + Ziguzagu has kimonos for sale in a variety of colours, materials and patterns, offered with a co-ordinating ‘obi’ and suitable for a wide variety of uses, styles or occasions. If you’re interested in learning more or wish to buy kimono, Kazari + Ziguzagu stock new kimono, as well vintage and antique kimono styles.


Kimono as art


Aside from their allure as clothing, kimonos’ outstanding craftsmanship and design also make them highly sought after as unique and stunning art pieces that will increase in value over time. Come in store to browse Japanese kimono for sale or purchase a kimono as a special gift.


Antique and vintage kimono are especially popular as wall hangings because of their faded beauty and the fact that they are too fragile to be worn or washed. Select a one-of-a-kind artwork to add individuality to your home.


10[The July 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features striking Meisen Kimono.]


Kimono fabric used for other purposes


12Handmade vintage Kimono fabric Zabutons


Kimono material is traditionally 36 centimetres wide and cut into four panels before being fashioned into the garment. Instead of the classic robe, striking kimono textiles can be used for many things, such as cushions, quilts, scarves and accessories.


13[The August 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a winter casual style with a vintage wool Kimono.]

Repurposing kimono fabric is an ideal way to bridge the gap between ancient Japanese culture and present-day Australian decor.


14[The September 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features an antique kid’s Kimono style for 'Shichi-Go-San' - a traditional Japanese celebration for the growth and passage of young children into their middle childhood, for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys.]

As these beautiful images show, kimono can be worn in a variety of ways. Select a light fabric for an outdoor summer outfit or rug up in wool for a cosy winter’s coffee date. The colours can reflect your mood and you can also turn to the obi to add variety and accentuate shape.

At Kazari + Ziguzagu we periodically run workshops  on how to wear kimono. Come in store or shop online to discover the vibrant world of Japanese kimono.

15[The October 2017 issue of the Japanese community paper Dengon Net features a dressing up in a Kimono for Spring Racing Carnival.] 


1 All kimono model images posted in Dengon Net Feb-August 2017 issues: Stylist Sala Okabe W: | Photographer Rina Kakioka W: | Instagram @kimono_biyori_au

2 Dengon Net February Issue: Wardrobe Ziguzagu women's Yukata | Location Yoku Ono W:

3 Dengon Net March Issue: Location tana cafe | W:

The Unique History and Fascinating Evolution of the Japanese Kimono

5 Dengon Net April Issue: Wardrobe Kazari + Ziguzagu | Model Miho Ishii Instagram: @mihoishii_japan

7 Dengon Net June Issue: Hair and Makeup Artist Yumi Conaghty W: | Wedding Florist by Azumi W: | Model Maria Abe | Shop more Kimono and Obi at Ziguzagu!

8 Vintage Japanese Kimono fabric piece | Material: Rinzu silk damask | Motif: floral folding fan | Age: early 20th C | Condition: slightly yellowed and spotted, still in good vintage condition | Measurements: 34cm wide x 128cm long.

9 Antique Men's Hemp Kimono

10 Dengon Net July |Hair Stylist Maiko Kobayashi / Maison Tsumiki Instagram: @koba_maiko_hairstylist | Model Akane Instagram: @qqq_akane Mio Instagram: @mi000ooo | Location Parlour Diner Facebook: parlourdiner2012

11 Handmade Vintage Kimono Fabric Zabuton

12 Handmade Vintage Kimono Fabric

13 Dengon Net AugustModel YeYe, Seido Tanaka (TANAKA OF THE HAMADA), Jun Hamada (Lainy J Groove/TANAKA OF THE HAMADA) | Location PAPIRICA Instagram: papirica_cafe | Instagram @kimono_biyori_au

14 Dengon Net SeptemberWardrobe Ziguzagu Children's Kimono | Model Elly

15 Dengon Net OctoberHair Stylist Hiroko Okada Art of Hair W: | Model Enna Raphaelle Rossy Instagram: @rrrphaelle | Milliner Serena Lindeman W:


Transforming the Broken to the Beautiful:The Art of Kintsugi

Wednesday, January 09, 2019


“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.”
- Ernest Hemingway

The famous American writer’s quote could very easily be seen as a metaphor for the age-old Japanese art of kintsugi, in which golden or other precious metallic joinery is used to repair and in the process, transform, broken pottery. The material used is essentially lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. 

Kintsugi is built around a deeply held philosophy; that all things are impermanent and that change and flux are part of the human condition. The art therefore reveres breakage and repair as part of the story of an object, rather than something to mask. Not surprisingly it is also closely linked to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which sees beauty in the flawed or imperfect, the Japanese feeling of mottainai or regret over waste or loss, as well as mushin, the acceptance of change. Kintsugi is also related to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" which is based on the ideas of non-attachment, acceptance of mutability, and fate.


The history of Kintsugi

Like many Japanese traditions, while kintsugi’s origins also encompass China, Vietnam, and Korea, its application in Japan helped raise it to the level of true artistry.

It is thought to date back to the late 15th century, when, as legend has it, Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a cracked chawan or tea bowl back to China to be mended. He was displeased to find the repaired bowl had been restored with ugly metal staples and spurred his craftsmen to find a more aesthetically pleasing method of repair. Kintsugi is still closely associated with ceramic vessels used for the Japanese tea ceremony although its application has also expanded to a wide variety of objects.



Step by step Kintsugi:

There are numerous kits and workshops available for anyone wishing to repair a loved object and give it new life through the gently restorative art of kintsugi. While the below steps are a simplified breakdown of the method, which requires painstaking cleaning, patient layering and mindful waiting (or drying time), they provide a useful starting point for understanding this time-honoured tradition.
  1. Break: Accept the impermanence of all things and gather the fragments of the broken object. Make the choice to give a new life to the object instead of discarding it.
  2. Assemble: Clean the fragments with a brush or cloth. Collect the necessary tools (spatula, palette, lacquer, brushes, gold powder, drying box, chopsticks, turpentine, sandpaper, silk cotton...). Carefully assess and assemble the puzzle of the broken object.
  3. Repair: Apply layers of lacquer with a very fine brush on all broken edges of the object and assemble them to make the object whole.
  4. Embellish: Apply gold powder with cotton or application tube onto the still sticky lacquer. Once the lacquer dries, use a soft cloth to remove excess gold powder and reveal the gold scars.
  5. Protect: Use a thin layer of protective lacquer to fix the gold. Let it dry for 24 hours. This last step is not always performed as it affects the colour of the gold.

In our western modern world, bound by consumerism, waste and attachment to unrealistic ideals of beauty, the concept of kintsugi has much to teach us. If you would like to know more about kintsugi at Kazari + Ziguzagu we would be more than happy to assist you. We also offer a kintsugi service to bring new life and a beautiful new layer of meaning to objects in need of repair and restoration.


Wabi Sabi For Contemporary Spaces

Friday, August 24, 2018

Scarlet Opus, a highly regarded global design trend forecaster, have given a macro trend forecast around the concept of imperfect beauty, releasing a blog post How to Embrace the Wabi Sabi Design Concept in March this year. This trending topic is also gaining attention in Australian design circles, with the much anticipated recent release of the Dulux Colour Forecast 2019. Now is the perfect time to revisit the concept of Wabi-Sabi; its Japanese aesthetic tradition and its place in contemporary design. 

Wabi sabi meaning

The Wabi-Sabi meaning, simply translates from the Japanese:

Wabi - ‘tranquil simplicity/elegance in poverty’

Sabi - ‘patina of age’

Suki - ‘subtle elegance’

This meaning is explored in more depth in a previous post on Wabi Sabi Suki. The concept of wabi sabi is about beauty in everyday things - originating from Japanese aesthetic ideas of transience, imperfection, simplicity, fragility and incompleteness. Kintsugi, the practice of repairing broken ceramics and pottery with gold is an example of a wabi sabi design principle. The item is considered more beautiful and is more highly valued because of its flaws and individuality. 

"If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi."

- Andrew Juniper1


Where and when it originated

Wabi sabi ideology came from Zen Buddhism, which was introduced to Japan from China in 1191 by Aisay, a monk who returned to Japan intending to build a Zen Temple. The words wabi and sabi originally had negative meanings of loneliness or poverty and decrepit old age but evolved into a bittersweet aesthetic philosophy that has shaped Japanese design for hundreds of years, and is still influential today.  

The influence of wabi sabi can be seen in various forms of Japanese artistic expression. Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591)2 is believed to have transformed tea ceremony into what it’s known as today - a humble ritual of preparing a bowl of tea from one’s heart with an intense awareness of their surroundings, and a deep appreciation for natural form and simple beauty. Ideas of wabi sabi led to the haiku poem being created by Matsuo Bashō in the Edo region in 1684. Haikus have been embraced and adapted into Western poetry and culture - their short, simple celebrations of transient beauty have universal appeal.

Wabi sabi’s growing popularity in the West

"Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

- Richard Powell3

Recently, the concept of wabi sabi has been brought to the forefront of Western design consciousness, featuring on popular television shows like The Block. Wabi sabi challenges beauty in its traditional forms by celebrating imperfection. It is this aspect of nurturing the authentic self that holds modern appeal for the contemporary design space: allowing a uniquely personal expression of form and function.


Wabi sabi: a way to view beauty and the world

Western ideals of beauty depict perfection, strength and youthful invincibility. Instead of viewing beauty as something fixed and unchanging, wabi sabi teaches that beauty is relative, and therefore open to change through the passage of time.  

Wabi sabi refers not only to a design aesthetic expressed through furniture, art and decor, but philosophical way of life.

Why Shop Antique?

What better way to celebrate the concept of transience than owning a piece of furniture that has a rich patina of history? Antique stores like Kazari + Ziguzagu stock quality pieces, lovingly restored, that have stood the test of time. By choosing to buy antiques, we reduce our environmental impact and guarantee a unique object, enhanced and improved with age.


Wabi sabi styling in modern spaces

The minimalist style that is so popular right now entwines perfectly with the Japanese ideal of beauty in simplicity. Most Japanese furniture and decor pieces derive their essence from simplicity and can be styled to look completely at home in a contemporary space. Appreciating the beauty of our everyday life promotes peace and tranquility, no matter the culture or setting. 

1Juniper, Andrew (2003). Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence . Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3482-2.  
2Maxwell, Catherine. Wabi Sabi: The Essentials of Japanese aesthetics . Hitokuchi Memo. Omusubi vol. 16. The Japan Foundation. ISSN 1832-0341.
3Powell, Richard R. (2004). Wabi Sabi Simple . Adams Media. ISBN 1-59337-178-0.


Our Warehouse Closing Down Sale

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Kazari Warehouse Closing Down Sale:

We recently sold our warehouse in Hill St, Cremorne. It has been our storeroom, restoration workshop and showroom for more than 30 years. Loved by many, while overwhelming others, it is a veritable Aladdin's Cave of eclectic items.

A bumper re-location sale is about to be announced as we will be vacating in the next few months – many items are already on sale, including furniture, textiles and ceramics, and others will be added over the coming weeks.

Sign up for the mailing list (by entering your details at the foot of the page on our website) to receive all notifications – re – bumper Closing Sale and our new home!



Japanese Antiques in Contemporary Spaces // The Design Co-Op, Melbourne Design Week

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Design Co-Op, at Melbourne Design Week 2018, was an opportunity to showcase how well Japanese antiques can work in contemporary spaces.


About The Design Co-Op + Melbourne Design Week

Now in its second year, Melbourne Design Week is a series of talks, exhibitions, workshops, tours and other industry events held at a range of venues across the city and state. Created to “celebrate the diversity and impact of design while giving local Victorian designers the exposure they deserve”, the theme for 2018 was Design Effects. The event is a partnership between the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Victorian government’s creative industries strategy, Creative State. It ran from 15-25 March 2018.

The Design Co-Op was one event in the suite presented during the week, running from 23-25 March at Glow Studios in West Melbourne. The event was a collaboration between some of the best and brightest in Australian design community: interior designers and brands with a focus on design. 14 brands, 3 interior designers and 20 industry professionals were involved, brought together by Liz Bull of One Fine Print, a company working with talented photographers to create photographic prints for the home, and Anne-Claire Petre of Anaca Studio, a furniture design practice.

The Design Co-Op was created to “bring together brands, interior designers and design enthusiasts to meet and exchange ideas” and to “strengthen relationships, share knowledge, and seed ideas”. The event featured a showcase, with the studio space transformed into a home by three guest interior designers ( Lauren Li, Fiona Parry-Jones and Manuela Millan), and a series of talks focused on “empowering attendees to realise that any space can be transformed into a meaningful ‘home’”. Sessions covered topics like using design to create the Australian dream in a rental property, designing and styling a thoughtful home, and buying good design and avoiding instant decoration gratification.



Antiques in contemporary spaces

Kazari + Ziguzagu featured as part of the showcase collaboration at The Design Co-Op, with a range of pieces on show. These antiques were a perfect match for the focus on creating the feeling of ‘home’ using high quality design pieces. The way the spaces were pulled together highlighted how Asian antiques can be incorporated into contemporary spaces as an accent, without being confined to a themed space. You don’t have to have an entire Japanese-style home to see the benefit of antique Japanese pieces: they can complement any style, and will look incredibly contemporary when combined with new design styles.



There are three main reasons to incorporate Japanese antiques into your home design, regardless of the style. These were on display at the Melbourne Design Week showcase.

1. Unique Style

Design-savvy people prioritise having high quality pieces in their home and typically look for unique pieces with a story and personality, instead of opting for the same mass-produced goods that are found everywhere. Antiques offer something completely unique. Many Kazari Japanese antiques are over a century old, and were handcrafted by artisans skilled in their trade. This kind of individuality makes the perfect statement piece for your home.



2. Sustainability

If you’re thoughtful about what you include in your home, you probably already consider sustainability when selecting pieces for your space. There’s nothing quite like antiques when it comes to sustainability: reusing beautiful pieces of design that were created long ago instead of producing new ones. You know you’re being light on the planet by electing to use what we already have, and you also know you’re getting quality: these pieces have proven themselves through their longevity.


3. Contemporary feel

Contemporary style is often eclectic, incorporating a range of different periods and styles along with newer pieces. Everything old is new again, and vintage or antique styles can look incredibly contemporary in a fresh context. As trends come and go, classic pieces stand the test of time and will look contemporary for decades to come. 


Thanks to everyone who was involved in The Design Co-Op, especially the three wonderful interior designers who paired our pieces so perfectly with complementary products.

Browse our range today to find the perfect piece for your home, whatever your style.

Photo credits: Elizabeth Bull and Jonathon Griggs

Featured - Donna Hay Magazine

Monday, April 30, 2018

Antique Japanese accounting ledgers supplied by Kazari + Ziguzagu have been featured in Donna Hay Magazine. These books date back to the Edo period, 18th century and were used to style contemporary Japanese dishes in the Autumn 2018 issue of the magazine, available now.


Crispy rice cakes with spicy sashimi tuna and green tea



Miso clams with udon noodles and pickled shitake mushrooms



AAADA Melbourne Antique Fair 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

After a year on hiatus the Melbourne Antique Fair is back on the calendar, presented by the Australian Art & Antique Dealers Association, it will run from May 4th-6th in a new location in the Town Square Pavilion at the Melbourne Showgrounds.  With the opening Gala preview evening on Thursday 3rd May.

For tickets and further information please visit the AAADA website. We won't be at the fair in a retail capacity this year however highly recommend a visit. It's just like walking through the pages of history. 



Art Money now available at Kazari + Ziguzagu

Monday, April 23, 2018

Kazari + Ziguzagu now partners with Art Money, the new, easier way to buy art.  Payments are spread over 10 months, interest free. Pay a minimum 10% deposit, and take your artwork home straight away. This is a great new way to build or even start your art collection, Art Money is making buying art achievable for anyone!

We're now happy to say we are on board with Art Money, watch this short video about how Art Money can help you expand or even start your art collection!
Art Money is available from $675 to $50,000 and once your credit line has been established it can be used again and again. Whether you want to purchase one statement piece or multiple pieces from several partner galleries. Apply Now!



It's a wrap : The Design Co-op

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


After some excellent planning and a few solid days of setting up, The Design Co-op kicked off in style with a packed opening on Friday 24th March. Big thanks to Liz (@onefineprint) and Anne-Claire (@anacastudio) for their hard work in bringing together so many different artists, makers, designers and importers. Check out this short video from the event and images below.

Dining Area - designed by Manuela Millan of Meanwhile in Melbourne beautifully styled with an assortment of our
antique and vintage Japanese pottery tea bowls, plates, vases and decor objects.


Hall way - designed by Manuela Millan of Meanwhile in Melbourne featuring our
very own GIANT cast bronze sculpture of a Rhino

Office space - designed by Manuela Millan of Meanwhile in Melbourne incorporating a contemporary Japanese seto pottery
vase with abstract design in black and white by Kato Reikichi. The full bio and product can be found here.

Entrance - designed by Fiona Parry-Jones of Von Haus Interiors incorporating a contemporary Japanese vase with gold
kintsugi repairs, a contemporary bronze sculpture of a crab and a Chinese pottery parrot.

Bedroom & Study - designed by Lauren Li of Sisalla incorporating an assortment of Kazari's decor objects, including
mizusashi, vases, and Peking glass from the recent Chinese shipment.


Photo credit: Elizabeth Bull


Event: The Design Co-op

Monday, March 05, 2018

A few of the featured suppliers selected by Anne-Claire Petre and Elizabeth Bull for The Design Co-op

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Bull of One Fine Print


Kazari + Ziguzagu are proud to be part of a unique collaboration known as The Design Co-op

Liz Bull of One Fine Print and Anne-Claire Petre of Anaca Studio have united a total of 14 brands, 3 interior designers and 20 industry professionals to create an exciting bespoke event: The Design Co-Op.

Spread over three days in March 2018, The Design Co-Op will celebrate the blending of unique Australian design brands and empower attendees to realise that any space can be transformed into a meaningful ‘home’. The event aims to strengthen the existing design community, encourage the growth of new networks, promote boutique local design brands, and offer interactive learning opportunities for both industry professionals and the design-savvy public.

The Design Co-Op will consist of a launch party, a showcase and multiple learning sessions and will run in inner-Melbourne for one weekend only.

When: 23rd to 25th of March 2018
Where: 19 Ireland Street, West Melbourne.

The Design Co-op is one of Melbourne Design Week’s satellite events. Melbourne Design Week is an annual initiative of the Victorian Government linking creativity with business and community.

Visit The Design Co-op, NGV: Melbourne Design Week or What's On in Melbourne for more information and tickets