Montreal Kimono Club Meetup!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a group of other local kimono enthusiasts. I will admit, I was more than a little nervous since it’s been over five years since I’ve worn kimono out of the house. Initially, I’d wanted to wear this coordination but it’s been so hot and muggy here lately that I knew I needed to switch to a hitoe kimono. Once I’d decided to run with my bunny komon, I decided to go a bit overboard with adorable animals, finishing the outfit off with my ridiculous daschund tabi and bunny geta.

We met up at a metro station and helped a few folks who didn’t have items of their own get dressed. Of course, we attracted some curious attention, but it was primarily positive. From there we headed to Kimono Vintage Montreal. I’ve been wanting to check this store out since it opened, but I hadn’t had the opportunity yet. It was definitely worth the wait! The store is an amazing little gem, filled with gorgeous treasures. The women there were incredibly friendly and helpful, and seemed genuinely excited to see our ragtag little group. We spent a fair bit of time there, eyeing all the beautiful kimono and accessories on display. I’d not intended to buy anything, but of course I found one piece I absolutely loved and knew I had to have. There was a brief moment of sticker shock for someone who has been spoiled by buying things from online auctions, but the experience and the quality were more than worth it.

After we posed for a few photos and said goodbye to the lovely ladies of Kimono Vintage, we headed a few blocks away to a tiny gem of a tea shop, Cha Do Raku. Of course, we attracted attention from the few other patrons, but again, it was overwhelmingly positive!

There was a huge selection of tea available, and with the muggy weather I was happy to hear most of them could be served iced. The young woman working there was so sweet and helpful, and she served us our teas and snack with warmth and grace. The shop is quite small and intimate, and was a wonderful place to relax and cool down a little after our adventure.

Overall, it was an awesome day. I met lots of wonderful, like-minded people and it felt really excellent to get out and about in kimono again! I’m really looking forward to doing this again sometime soon.

If you’re in the Montreal area, please check out the following links:

Kimono Vintage Montreal Website | Kimono Vintage Montreal Facebook
Cha Do Raku 茶道楽 Website | Cha Do Raku Facebook
Montreal Kimono Club Facebook

Pretty Pastels

It’s hot out there, you guys. It’s so hot! I really needed to make an outfit that felt summery and breezy to counteract the oppressive weather. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this adorable card-suit obi that followed me home from California. It seemed like a good place to start. Even before I’d brought it home, I was thinking it would work well with this hydrangea hitoe komon I’ve had for years that never gets enough love. It’s way too tiny for me to ever wear, and I admittedly only bought it because it was bundled with an obi I wanted, but the light colour palette and seasonality of motif fit perfectly with the breezy summer concept I was aiming for.

This adorable shell haneri from Kansai_Gal seemed like the ideal finishing touch for the outfit. Rather than default to my usual standbys for a hanhaba obi (chocho musubi or karuta musubi) I thought I might try to be inspired by Choko and her amazing ability to improvise soft and relaxed-looking obi musubi that would also fit with the airy and relaxed style I was aiming for. I would like to think I’ve succeeded.

A few of us here in Montreal are having a kimono meet-up  this coming weekend and I do wish there was some way I could get this kimono to fit me, but even if I were to lose a huge amount of weight it would still be too narrow across the back and too short, sadly. It would look so cute with pink lace tabi and my card-suit geta, but that’s a coordination for another person on another day. I will likely end up wearing my bunny komon and teal hakama, and you can be sure I will take tons of photos so check back early next week for that.

Art Gallery – Moonflowers

I recently bought myself a Microsoft Surface to be able to work on the go, and one of the greatest appeals for me was the fact that I could draw directly on the screen. What I didn’t take into account is the significant learning curve. Painting with a graphics tablet like a Wacom is markedly different from painting on a canvas, and painting directly on your work surface is different from both. The Surface has the benefit of allowing me to put my input tool directly on top of the artwork, more like a traditional painting, but the screen itself is so smooth, there’s no tooth at all like there would be with “real” paper or canvas.

I found a photo of a lovely painting of a moonflower in a book recently and it called out to me.  As you may know, moonflowers are kind of my “thing”, hence the moonblossom.net domain, my moon and flower custom kamon, etc etc. So when I found this, I thought I would use it as inspiration to start to get the hang of painting directly on the Surface! I’ve definitely got a ways to go, but I’m happy with my progress.

I suspect I will be doing digital painting much more often now that I have this thing, so be prepared for an influx of kimono and woodblock-inspired doodles!

Princess of Themyscira

This outfit was inspired by the strong and compassionate warrior whose name is on everyone’s lips these days – Wonder Woman! I’ve had so much fun doing geeky-inspired kitsuke in the past (Star Trek, Bitch Planet, and Star Wars) and I wanted to give Diana her due. My initial plan was going to be a blue kimono and red haori, but I realised the vaguely onna-bugeisha style of a hakama would be much more balanced and representative of her red top and blue bottom. I felt like the kiku motif of this vivid red kimono was reminiscent of the star motif of her outfit, and a navy hakama grounded the whole thing. Of course, I had to bring in gold as the accent colour of the haneri and obi. The sword seemed like a foregone conclusion once everything came together, and what would Wonder Woman be without her golden lasso (or in this case, her golden obijime)?

Overall, I feel like this was another ultimately successful cosplay-style kitsuke. I would love to wear this outfit to a convention or something at some point, along with a tiara and bracers. It’s the sort of outfit that would take a minute to “get”, but I think once people recognised it, it would go over really well.

Architectural Ikebana

Most of the arrangements I’ve done so far have been fairly loose and natural in feeling, working with the shape of the flowers instead of forcing them. I really wanted to try something more sculptural and geometric and work with straight lines and the very linear quality of lucky bamboo (which isn’t really bamboo) seemed like an excellent starting point. While I was at the florist’s I saw these gorgeous miniature purple calla lilies and I knew I’d found the perfect counterpart for the bamboo.

I focused on the diagonal lines to draw the eye from the top of the arrangement to the bottom. Initially I’d just wrapped the vase in the faux banana leaf but the colour balance felt off. I found this ribbon while packing for vacation; it’s actually the belt from a dress I have. The mauve was a perfect match for the calla lilies, and it really helps to anchor the whole arrangement and make it feel much more balanced. Overall, this one turned out very close to what I’d initially had in mind, and I’m very happy with it!