Grey poppy houmongi

Yesterday was quite an exciting mail day! On top of the obi I posted about, I received a couple of books I’d been waiting for and this beauty. The obi yesterday was so special and so heartwarming that I wanted to make sure it had its own entry, so here’s the other item I received!

Since I started collecting kimono, one of the things on my life’s want list has been a kimono with poppies on it. They’re not a particularly common motif, so it’s been a long and arduous hunt. I wanted poppies for several reasons. Firstly, my mother’s name is Poppy (okay, it’s technically Καλλιόπη but she goes by Poppy now for obvious reasons). Secondly, as a Canadian with family members who have served in the military for generations, the significance of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance is very important to me.

When I finally found this particular piece, I decided I would fight for it. Thankfully, due to a few hidden spots and a seller who a few people are having problems with lately, it didn’t go for as much as I was anticipating, which was nice. It’s a gorgeous dove-grey chirimen with really unique, vaguely psychedelic poppies. There’s also some strange batik/bokashi hybrid designs on the background, I’ve never seen anything like them. At first it looked like dirt and stains, but on closer inspection they’re definitely intentional.

Poppy houmongi

The flowers themselves have a very unique and sort of funky style, but are definitely and absolutely poppies – the seed pods and leaves are a dead giveaway.
Poppy houmongi

Poppy houmongi

Poppy houmongi

Another awsome thing about this kimono is that it’s signed. There’s a signature on the inside okumi panel that would be hidden when worn, but it makes it a little more special to me.
Poppy houmongi

There will be kitsuke photos of this particular piece soon, but I won’t be wearing it 😉

Moorish arches nagoya obi

Recently, I won a kimono from Yahoo Japan with a mosque around the hem. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I don’t have photos, but it’s absolutely unique and stunning. When I posted about it on the Immortal Geisha forums I got a lot of questions and suggestions about coordination. Several people actually found the same obi on eBay, a deep rusty reddish orange with blue archways on it that had similar Middle-eastern style ornamentation on them. Technically it’s a little casual for the kimono but thematically it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, I’d pretty much blown my budget for a while on the kimono itself, so I had to pass it up.

I should also mention that around the 2010 Holiday season, I organized a gift swap on the forums. Since I was the one arranging it, I wasn’t technically able to participate. In the end I did get a lovely gift from one of the members, due to my own disorganization – I’d accidentally left her out of the swap so I sent her things from my own collection and she graciously sent me a package of lovely handmade things in return.

Fast forward to this morning, when my father informs me that I got “a ton of mail”. I am expecting a few things so I wasn’t terribly perplexed, but when I started opening the package I had no idea what it was. I was worried maybe one of the sellers had mixed up my order, until a note fell out of the package.

Moony, thank you for the work you put into the ImmortalGeisha forums, especially the Winter Swap. You didn’t participate, but here is your surprise gift!

There was no name and no signature, and since several people brought the obi to my attention I really have no idea who sent it! I did make a post on the forums thanking whoever it was and explaining that in the end I did get a package though. ~.~;; In any case, it’s stunning and very appreciated, and will be cherished. I can’t wait for the kimono to arrive so I can put them on together.

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Kasuri wool komon and haori set

A few months back, Amelie wore this set when we went out for shabu-shabu and I commented on how much I loved it and how I’d been wanting one of these matched sets for a while, but never found one that would fit me. Because Amelie is a total sweetheart and a very generous person, she offered the set to me as a late birthday/Christmas present. I couldn’t say no!

I love wool kimono for their versatility, ease of wear, and comfort. They’re wool so they can be nice and warm, but they’re unlined and relatively breezy so they’re comfortable in warmer months too. They’re also typically woven with bold geometric motifs, so they’re seasonless. They’re a great casual addition to any kimono wardrobe.

This one also appeals to my inner ex-goth (if you’re curious to see how I dressed when going out when I was younger, click here or here) due to the black and red colour scheme. What can I say, I’m easily amused.

Kimono and haori together
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Kimono alone
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Haori alone
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Fabric detail
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Not only is it adorable, it’s also more than big enough for me, which really shocked me considering how tiny Amelie is XD. I can’t wait to wear it!

Sushi dinner with Amelie

Last night, I met up with Amelie and we dressed up and went for delicious sushi near her place. I decided to wear my new black komon with a cream hanhaba obi and haori, and Amelie wore her beautiful new pastel bingata-ish komon with a pretty blue nagoya obi.

Sushi avec Amelie

I got a bit matchy-moo and even busted out a coordinating purse. I do love how the whole outfit came together.
Sushi avec Amelie

I also tried karuta musubi for the first time and I am totally in love. It’s super easy to tie, and incredibly comfortable if you’re going for a car ride or going to be sitting western-style in a chair for long periods of time. I also think it looks like a cute little bow.
Sushi avec Amelie

I really love how the blue of Amelie’s obi picked up on the pale blue in her kimono.
Sushi avec Amelie

And if anyone wonders how one keeps warm in kimono in sub-zero temperatures, the answer is lots of layers and lots of accessories. I wore footless tights under my kimono and tabi and was quite toasty.
Sushi avec Amelie

Sushi avec Amelie

Of course, the star of the night was the sushi. We ordered waaaay too much food, but that’s okay. It was delicious!
Sushi avec Amelie

Sushi avec Amelie

And a bonus, here we are laughing like idiots!
Sushi avec Amelie

What were we laughing at? The discovery of what happens when you eat way too much sushi in kimono
Sushi avec Amelie
(Don’t worry, I am going to fix it for her)

Omake – we came across this really awesome light fixture in a store near the restaurant. It was a branch covered in acrylic Sakura flowers with LEDs that slowly changed colour. It was so pretty!
Sushi avec Amelie
Sushi avec Amelie Sushi avec Amelie

Sock it to me!

As with everything else when it comes to kimono, “normal” accessories just aren’t good enough. 😉 Due to the thong-like nature of traditional zori shoes, a sock with a separated toe area is necessary. These socks are referred to as tabi, and are very much like conventional toe-socks but with the smaller toes all connected. Another apt comparison would be mittens for your feet.

Typical standard tabi are solid white. For formal events white tabi are a necessity, and there isn’t much room for experimentation. However, when it comes to more modern or casual ensembles, a pair of fun coloured tabi can make all the difference, much like coloured haneri. I have several pairs of white tabi in varying levels of formality, from stretch cotton to solid thick ones with the hooks up the back (known as kohaze), but really – white socks are white socks, right? It’s the fun ones that are worth sharing!

Formal black tabi with daschunds
Daschund tabi
Yet again, my friend Kansai_gal’s loss was my gain. She got these but they turned out to be too big for her so she sent them to me. They are perfectly at home on my freakishly large feet. They’re also a bit of an oddity in that they’re clearly goofy casual tabi, but they’re seamed hard cotton with four kohaze up the ankle, which is typical construction of formal white tabi.

Stretch tabi with multiple florals
Patterned stretch tabi
These are some adorable stretchy tabi with tons of flowers (fuji, kiku, tachibana). These are also nice and versatile, since the colours are so neutral.

Stretch tabi in solid colours with insert panels
Stretch tabi with inserts
These are some of my favourite tabi. I have a green pair *somewhere* but I have no idea where they are currently. I may just cave in and buy a new pair XD They go with almost everything, and I love how subtle they are. They work really well with very busy kimono, since they coordinate but don’t compete. I also apologize for the high volume of cat hair in this photo – these have a slightly brushed texture that attracts lint and hair like a magnet!

Pink lace stretch tabi
Pink lace tabi
These are sheer lace and they go great with my navy ro kimono with the pink flowers, but they’re also very useful for layering over top of the solid tabi posted above, for adding an extra soft girly touch. I did this when I wore my furisode recently.

I know I said earlier that I was going to focus more on special, rare items but I think I may have to splurge on some more tabi in the near future 😉