Gentle Vintage Mood

I received this absolutely gorgeous piece yesterday, from a friend who was clearing out some of her collection. I am slowly turning into the kimono equivalent of a crazy cat lady, but I’m fine with that. I love how soft and subdued this piece is, and I wanted to emphasise a very gentle vintage mood with the coordination.

It started with this breathtaking haneri I posted on Instagram recently. I won it back in late October or possibly early November, and I had entirely given it up as lost. I got it at quite a bargain so I didn’t even bother pursuing the issue, since I suspected it was Canada Post’s problem. not the sellers. So imagine how thrilled I was when it showed up unexpectedly earlier this week! I thought the two pieces would complement each other very well, since the haneri has a bit of a vintage feel to it despite being a modern piece. I was really taken by how well the lilac tone matched the brown of the kimono and thought it would be a good opportunity to use my repaired lilac bird obi.

Some days, the actual physical act of dressing the mannequin goes very smoothly. Some days, every step is a struggle, almost as if the mannequin herself is fighting me. This particular outfit was somehow both! Putting on the collar and kimono went off without a hitch. Smooth lines, clean v-shape to the collars, flat and even ohashori. But then came the obi. This obi is gorgeous but my god it’s a nuisance. It’s floppy and slippery, the pattern is laid out very oddly, and it needs to be pressed again as it’s somehow turned almost puffy. No matter how many different ways I tried to tie it, I could not get birds to show up on the front and the back. Eventually I realised it would be an excellent opportunity to feature this stunning brooch I got from Pinto Pony Productions and use it as an obidome. Rather than fret about the lack of interest on the front of the obi, I worked with it to make it a canvas.

I know I say this a lot, but I love how this finally all pulled together. It’s such a soothing combination, and looking at it just makes me content.

Items used in this coordination

Kits-Mas Day 10 – Eye of the Tiger

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…

Okay, I confess. Today’s coordination has absolutely nothing to do with the theme. I initially had a completely different outfit planned for tonight, more red and green. I had a long, tiring day at work. One of those days where nothing explicitly terrible happens, but lots of little things go very slightly wrong. I was already kind of dreading having to redress and photograph the mannequin before I’d even left work, but I knew I would persevere and do it.

However, this kimono arrived while I was at work. I actually won it back at the beginning of November, and it’s been in customs limbo for months. Part of me had already given it up as a lost cause. So imagine how excited I was when I found out it had been delivered! It completely changed my mood, and I couldn’t wait to see how it looked. When I bought it, I had suspicions that it would work well with my “tiger’s-eye” tsuke obi, and I’m really happy with the pairing. It also helped motivate me knowing I wouldn’t have to wrestle with an obi. While dressing a mannequin does have its advantages, it also has some disadvantages compared to dressing a person – there’s no passive resistance so you constantly have to be pulling fabric while pushing the form away. In my exhausted state, the lessened effort really appealed to me.

I think the obi works not only colour-wise but also thematically in a way. While I know the motif on the kimono is whirlpools and waves, I can’t help but see eyes with really lush eyelashes! The blue accessories just tied it all together neatly, pulling out the hits of pale blue in the wave design. I really like how it all worked out, and I kind of wish I could leave it on the mannequin for longer. Maybe I’ll put it back for a bit after this project is over.

Pocahontas – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵Can you paint with all the colours of the Wind?🎵

Ahhh, Pocahontas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, but it’s so far removed from any remotely accurate representation of her story, as well as helping to reinforce the “noble savage” trope that I have conflicted feelings about it. That being said, I was looking forward to seeing how I could represent her without resorting to tired or hackneyed accessories and gimmicks. Her outfit is so simple that I knew converting it would be a challenge in sharp contrast to all the previous ones I’ve done, where I’ve had plenty of room for accessories and experimentation. I’m home sick today, dealing with an ear infection, so I thought I’d take advantage of the unexpected time off.

A light brown iromuji, reminiscent of buckskin, seemed like the ideal canvas. I did debate adding suede fringe somewhere but it started to feel like I was veering too far into cheesy costume territory. I remembered I had this lovely subdued brown obi with nature motifs on it, and loved the way the two pieces blended together in a nearly monochrome, uniform way. Unfortunately, the obi is quite short and hikinuki-style, which means the pattern on the tail end is reversed. I’d initially planned to do a relaxed, vintage-feeling obi and I remembered that Naomi had shared a fantastic tutorial for tsunodashi musubi done with a softer, older hikinuki obi. Great timing! It was definitely easy and quick to tie, even in my miserable ear-infected fever state.

Pale blue may seem like an incongruous choice for this outfit, but I chose it to echo the stone on her necklace, and the beaded accents on her tunic. It also had the added benefit of popping really well against the muted brown without being overpowering, which worked out really well. A few beaded accessories from some nearby First Nations communities added the perfect little punch of colour, reminiscent of the fall foliage often surrounding Pocahontas. I’d tried to find a way to include Grandmother Willow when it hit me that right behind her, already waiting happily, were branches of willow buds in a vase that belonged to my own grandmother. How perfect was that? And as I was dressing the mannequin, one of the cats brought down this ridiculous floppy raccoon toy they all love to bits, so of course Meeko had to make a cameo appearance.

We’re so close to the end, you guys! Only Rapunzel is left, and I’m hoping to get her done by the end of the week.

Items used in this coordination

May the Fourth Be With You

It’s no secret that a huge part of Star Wars’ visual identity owes much to traditional Japanese aesthetics. From Darth Vader’s samurai-like helmet to the kimono-inspired robes of both the Jedi and Sith, the influence is apparent in many facets of the Universe. May the Fourth is known as Star Wars Day to many people, a play on words about the date sounding so much like the traditional May The Force (be with you) greeting.

I had been wanting to do a Jedi-inspired kitsuke using beige and brown toned items ever since I did the Star Trek themed one a while back. What can I say, I am an equal opportunity fangirl! I found these two iromuji for a song a while back and thought today would be the perfect day to do it. I tried to keep the actual dressing manner quite traditional, aside from taking the liberty of using a second kimono as a long over-robe, instead of finding a haori. I wanted something I could try to fake the appearance of a hood with, and something that would flow to the ground. I used my spider obi flipped inside-out to get a rough-textured beige obi, and a brown mottled leather obijime to replicate the belts usually worn by Jedi. The finishing touch was one of my Jedi symbol earrings clipped to the obijime as a little decoration.

I really like how well this all came together. It’s really evident to see the kimono origins of the Jedi robes when it’s all set up like this, and now I’m very tempted to adapt this outfit to wear to a convention. Maybe I’ll hike up the hem and wear brown leggings and boots underneath it for comfort and ease of movement. Of course, this means I’ll have to get myself a lightsaber!

Steampunk Adventuress

I was so pleased with the end result of using the high-necked Victorian-style blouse under the pink iromuji a few weeks ago, I thought I would try it again! Rather than simply re-hash the outfit with a different kimono, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do a full Steampunk-style ensemble. I purchased this corset recently for a cosplay, but it seemed like the perfect jumping-off point for this outfit. While I use it fairly frequently, this outfit screamed for my Gothic Victorian Landscape houmongi. A ruffly black crinoline and a brown faux-fur stole pulled everything together neatly, and a brooch from Scotland was the perfect finishing touch. I couldn’t be happier with how this one came together. I could totally imagine myself wearing this outfit – with a fabulous hat and knee-high boots – on the front deck of an airship, travelling to Japan to do some more shopping!