Wrapper/Kimono

"Now, in the privacy of the bedroom, with a good bed of coals in the fireplace and two fresh splits of oak laid atop them because it was cold as a tomb in this rambling stone and stucco citadel with its leaks and drafts and the windows that might was well have been made of transparent paper for all the good they did at keeping the weather out, she practiced before the mirror, dipping her torso and rising again with her eyes radiant and a full-lipped smile spreading across her face until her dimples shone like a girl's, How nice to meet you, Hayashi-San, enchantée--or no, that wasn't the right note at all. She should keep silent, letting her eyes do the talking for her--wasn't that the way Oriental women did it?
"Study for Making Her Toilet." William Merritt Chase,  1889
(maybe just before Miriam was in Paris?). Private Collection.
...
She'd known a few Japanese in Paris--Japonisme was all the rage in those days; she imagined it still was...
...
She was just cinching her blue shantung silk wrapper over an emerald-green V-necked chemise that would show prettily at her throat, thinking with some satisfaction that this was the very quintessence of the Oriental look, perhaps with the addition of a string of pearls and the jade pin of a smiling tumescent Buddha she'd picked up as a curiosity in a stall on the avenue d'Ivry some years back, when Frank came hurtling through the door. He was in a state. His hair was standing out from his head like a collapsed halo and his eyes were so inflamed he looked as if he'd been up all night long. But he hadn't been. She could testify to that.

"My god, Miram, what are you thinking?" he shouted..."Get dressed. They'll be at the station any minute now." (266-7)


One last one from T.C. Boyle's work on the loves of Frank Lloyd Wright, The Women (Bloomsbury, 2009).

East/West and lover/lover misunderstanding, intentional or no. Love the use of the phrase, "Oriental look." Partly the woman's self-assertion against FLW. When the Japanese guests do arrive at their Wisconsin home, she realizes why "hair, which she'd pulled back with a comb so as to mimic the pictures of the geisha in Frank's woodblock prints, and her eyes, which she'd extended vertically with two triangular slashes of kohl" (267) would have been an offensive mistake:

"When she saw Hayashi-San in his Western suit, spats, mustache and slicked-back hair, she bowed as deeply as the hat would allow her and whispered, 'Komban wa' in the most delicate voice she could muster, just as Frank had taught her." (269)

The (temporary) taming of Miriam Noel Wright.