Freddie Mercury kimono worn at home to go on show

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A kimono worn by the late Freddie Mercury in his home is going on show for the first time.

The garment, to be displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), has been in a private collection until now.

It will “provide audiences with a glimpse into the personal life of the singer,” the V&A said.

Freddie Mercury Kimono (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

The exhibition will look at the “ultimate symbol of Japan” and its role as a “dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion”.

Mercury began to collect Japanese art and antiquities after Queen toured Japan in 1975.

The frontman, famous for his flamboyant stage performances, sometimes wore boldly patterned kimono on stage in the mid-1970s, “challenging the norms of gender and sexuality”, the V&A said.

But the personal kimono “is more delicate in its design and overtly feminine, revealing that gender fluidity extended to his private life”.

Exhibition highlights will also include the Alexander McQueen dress worn by Bjork on her Homogenic album cover.

Bjork photographed by Nick Night (Nick Night/Alexander McQueen/One Little Indian Records)

The show will also feature original Star Wars costumes modelled on the kimono, and the Jean Paul Gaultier ensemble which Madonna wore for her Nothing Really Matters video.

The Star Wars costume, a light brown robe of threadbare cloth, was worn by Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

More than 315 works will be featured in the exhibition, including kimonos especially made for the show.

Anna Jackson, curator of Kimono: Kyoto To Catwalk At The V&A, said: “Freddie Mercury was one of the most talented and charismatic musicians and performers of the 20th Century and we are delighted to display a kimono that belonged to him in the exhibition.

“Mercury’s wearing of a kimono reveals how this iconic garment has the power to transcend national, cultural, sexual and gender identities.”

Kimono: Kyoto To Catwalk runs from February 29 to June 21.