Paul Binnie A Contest of Contemporary World Fashion
Konze Fuzoku Kurabe (A Contest of Contemporary World Fashion) shows a sort of 'alternate history' - let us imagine that instead of being closed to all outside influence until the 1850s, Japan had been able to access information about the West in the 1780s. Women might well have rushed to dress in the height of Western fashion of the time as they did a century later, and this print shows what might have been the outcome. A young woman proudly wears her French court dress, including high powdered wig surmounted by a galleon in full sail, and drinks her tea from a handled cup, to the surprise and bemusement of the other women around her. This print was made to display with a Shuncho print of beauties in a garden of the 1780s, and that is the date of the style of French costume too.