Fudangi First Friday

Hello! Welcome to Fudangi First Friday, a sort of new feature here on Kimono Tsuki. Naomi and Lyuba of Immortal Geisha were inspired by the recent Fudangi Fun event in NYC they were lucky enough to attend, to create a day where kimono-lovers can focus on relaxed, wearable, casual outfits. We all love the vibrant formality of furisode or the subdued elegance of kurotomesode, but it seems like fudangi, which includes things like wool and cotton kimono, simple komon, and other informal relaxed pieces, often get overlooked. So they decided to create Fudangi Fridays to encourage all us kimono lovers to appreciate these everyday pieces.

However, I know that committing to do something every single Friday is just a recipe for disaster, especially with the holidays coming up. For those of you who don’t know, I work in a specialty collectible toy store, so this time of year tends to be incredibly busy for me. So I’ve decided to combine Fudangi Friday with a phenomenon known as First Friday, an art/networking/entertainment community event that happens in a lot of big cities in North America on the first Friday of every month. People gather to share ideas, show off creative endeavours, etc. Forcing myself to do this once a month without fail is definitely more achievable for me. I may even manage to dress myself for these on occasion, since the majority of my wider kimono are casual pieces.

I purchased this haori on a whim from the same seller as the beautiful kurotomesode I got recently. In the auction photos, it looked like a creamy white with ume blossoms, so imagine my surprise when I opened the package and a leafy green haori with sakura on it fell out! I’m not complaining though, it’s even more adorable and charming than I was expecting it to be. I had no idea what I was going to pair it with, but I had it out while taking photos for my updated collection catalogue and saw it sitting next to the vintage-style blue komon Naomi gave me years ago and I realised how perfect they were for each other. The colours reflect each other perfectly, and they both have a young, spring feeling to them. I finished the outfit off with a hanhaba obi and cotton haneri in shades of cream and green, and a skinny orange obijime for a little pop of colour. This outfit is definitely fudangi, and it’s definitely fun!

One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 4: Cute and Casual

At last, we’re coming to the end of this month’s theme project. It’s been fun, but honestly I am glad it’s over. I’m getting a little tired of this iromuji! For the last outfit, I decided to try to accomplish the one thing this style of kimono can be very difficult to do; a simple, casual cooordinate. Typically, iromuji can be a lot of things, but relaxed town-wear is not one of them. To make it work, I stuck with otherwise casual pieces. A coloured haneri, a bright meisen haori, and one of my favourite nagoya obi all in shades of purple all pop against the cool mint tone of the kimono itself. The early-afternoon sunlight today helped to keep things soft and warm. I’m not sure this outfit was as successful as some of my other attempts during this experiment, but I do really love how the haori and kimono look together.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with his whole experiment. It’s been really interesting to work within the constraints of the one single kimono. I may do it again sometime later with something other than an iromuji, to make it more of a challenge. I’ve also got some fun craft projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

One Kimono Four Ways

Komon Kollection

As this blog develops, I plan to catalogue everything I have. Some pieces, like my vintage furisode deserve their own entries, but for more simple or casual pieces, I figured it would be more straightforward to include them in larger group entries.

When I first started collecting, I was decidedly against the allover-patterned casual kimono known as komon. I thought the patterns I was finding were drab, distracting, and old-lady-ish. Small flowers, little geometrics, nothing with punch. And so, I staunchly avoided them, preferring to stick to the drama of houmongi, furisode, and the like.

Eventually my eyes were opened to the world of large-scale pattern, and a whole new avenue was open to me! Since then I have come to amass a fair number of bold geometrics and big “loud” patterns for casual wear.

Plaid komon
Maybe it’s my Scottish ancestry, but when I saw this weirdo I had to have it. I’ve seen plaid kimono before, but never in such a “typical” tartan-like colour scheme. The kimono itself is stiff and crisp and lush, but too smooth to be tsumugi. It’s a wonderful winter kimono with a vaguely holiday feel to it.

Green swirl komon with red flowers
This was a bit of a shock when it arrived. The auction photos made it look very rich and bright, but in person it’s very soft and muted. That being said, I still love the cool, watery feel of it and the contrast of the soft brick chrysanthemums against the pale dusty green. The silk itself is ridiculously buttery, far too rich-feeling for such a casual piece. Not that I mind!

Bingata-style navy komon with long sleeves
This was a gift from Naomi, a dear dear friend and terrible enabler. ;P I was bemoaning my lack of anything bingata and wham! I was the proud owner of this gorgeous piece that fits really well! Unfortunately, I can’t wear it yet. The sleeves are a lovely but awkward length – too long by modern juban standards, too short by vintage ones, so I am going to have to improvise. Thankfully it’s got a lot of different seasonal motifs, so I’ve got pretty decent leeway for wearing it.

Swirl/arabesque Komon
Up until recently I referred to this as my White Whale kimono. The kimono itself was an easy and impulsive acquisition. Too bad I never thought about pairing it with anything! I was convinced I would never, ever find an obi to coordinate with it, and it became a bit of a mania with me, hunting down the perfect piece XD. I’d pretty much given up on it when I stumbled across a gorgeous rich plum nagoya obi with gold embroidery on the drum end on ebay, and picked it up for a steal. No pictures yet, sadly, as it’s still in the mail. 😉

This piece never ceases to amaze me when I look at it. There are so many delicate and intricate patterns in each wave/curl/stripe/whatever. Flowers, geometrics, you name it. All carefully highlighted in gold.

Red Asanoha and Ume Komon
Considering my earlier statement about not liking small, “drab” patterns on komon, this one may come as a bit of a surprise. However, I love me some asanoha (geometric hemp-leaf/star pattern) and was totally captivated by the size shift in the ume that, from a distance, make the kimono look like it’s covered in clouds. It’s so subtle, it’s almost like magic. This is also another piece whose silk is so supple and rich and buttery that I can’t stop petting it when I have it on.

Red and white yabane
Yabane is one of those traditional patterns I have always wanted to have in my collection, but I always seemed to miss out. As luck would have it, Ame had one that was far too big for her and was looking for a good home. It fits me amazingly well, and I love the contrast of the red and white.

Black, white, and red wool
Wool is one of those other things I was unsure of, I imagined them to be bulky, itchy, heavy, and uncomfortable. I picked one up on sale for a few dollars (because I am a goon and cannot resist a bargain) and realized my preconceived notions were entirely incorrect. They are breezy, warm but not overly hot, and very very easy to wear. When I saw the listing for this one, my inner mallgoth cried out in dark, dark glee and I had to have it XD

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Brick wool komon
This was my first wool kimono, I purchased it mainly because it was on sale. However, I love the cool hits of icy blue and green through the warm background. This is a great fall kimono.

Synthetic ro komon with hydrangea
This came in a mixed lot and my first though was “Oh, no! Now I need to buy ro accessories!”. My immediate second thought was “Yay! Now I have to buy ro accessories!” Such is the life of a kimono addict! I love this kimono because it is ridiculously long and easy for me to dress in. I admit synthetic ro is not quite as breezy as silk ro, but it’s still comfortable even in the muggy Montreal heat.

Thus concludes my ramblings about my current komon. Until I get more!