Kurotome & Jacket Experiment

Last October, amazing and modern kimono stylist Akira put out Akira Times – Wafuku Anarchist, a book of his work. On the cover is a gorgeous woman in a fantastic, punk-feeling kitsuke with a leather jacket over top. Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but somehow never got around to it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by Nichole Fiorentino, who also does some utterly gorgeous and aspirational kimono styling, when she posted older photos of her doing a similar kitsuke with holographic accessories and a holographic leather jacket. I knew the time had come for me to do a kurotme & jacket experiment of my own!

Amusingly enough, the jacket itself came from another dear friend named Nicole, and it’s one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I knew I wanted to use it, instead of a plain black one, so I chose this vintage kurotome because of the similarities in colour accents, and the flower motifs. I figured since I was already doing something “wrong” I could just throw caution to the wind and have a little fun. I pulled out some really bold accessories, and went with the narrow band of my hakata tsuke-obi since the back would be hidden anyway, and it helped to reduce bulk under the jacket.

While I can’t say whether or not I’d ever be confident enough to wear something like this out in public, I do think the experiment was ultimately very successful and I’m glad I did it!

Items used in this coordination

(and one epic jacket!)

Tropical Fire Ikebana

Tropical Fire Ikebana

I suspect you’re all probably quite tired of me complaining about winter, but I’m not done yet! Still cold and damp, still sick, and now they’re predicting half an inch of freezing rain overnight! I was very much in the mood for something reminiscent of the sweltering humidity of the tropics. The little flower counter at my local drugstore is not the place I’d expect to find birds of paradise or bright red waxy anthuriums, but lo and behold, they found me and called out to me.

The flowers are so bold and dramatic that I knew I wanted to do something big and sparse and sculptural. The beautiful blue vessel was a Christmas gift from my cousin and I love how it anchors everything, is reminiscent of water, and pulls out the hint of blue in the bird of paradise flower. I tried to arrange the anthurium to almost look like steps leading up to the stark angles of the bird of paradise, and attempted some fancy weaving of the palm leaves. It didn’t hold quite as well as I’d like, I clearly need more practice! The whole arrangement was perched dramatically onto this carved wooden stand that was my grandmother’s. I love the way it raises the whole piece up and elevates it to a work of art.

Spring can’t come soon enough! Aside from all my complaints about flu season and the cold and snow, I’m also eager to go back to working with seasonal flowers from my own garden and the great outdoors. There’s a forsythia bush in our yard that I never got the opportunity to work with last year, and I’ll be damned if I miss its blooms again this year!

Kits-Mas Day 5 – Festive Florals

Today is sort of a double-whammy. I know I said I’d only commit to doing the first Fudangi Friday of each month, but I figured since I was doing this project anyway I may as well do something that’s applicable to both challenges. These casual but still festive florals fit the bill perfectly. I realised while I was plotting out coordinations that these two pieces I have both fit into the colour scheme I’ve got going for Christmas and have somewhat seasonally appropriate motifs. Kiku is generally a late fall/November flower, and ume is a late winter/February sort of thing, but since we’re sort of smack-dab in the middle of the season I feel like putting them together works out well.

The green haneri and obi help pull out the bits of green foliage in the haori, but red and creamy white still dominate this outfit, which is fine with me. The Christmassy aspect of this one feels much more subtle to me than yesterday’s, for example, but in the right context it feels no less thematic. This outfit wouldn’t feel out of place at a relaxed holiday gathering, but it also wouldn’t feel out of place at any other event during the winter, even if it’s not a holiday-specific thing. I like that. It’s versatile!

Also, I don’t know if anyone other than me noticed this but the poor mannequin has been progressively sinking lower and lower lately and I finally got fed up and tightened her up. Considering one of my primary considerations when buying kimono is my own height (newer readers who are mostly familiar with the mannequin and not photos of me might not be aware but I’m 179cm or 5’10” tall) so as she shrank, the kimono I was putting on her were getting longer and more unruly XD

Lastly, here’s a better photo of today’s furry guest star, since in the main ones he’s kind of hiding behind everything. Poor Vinnie, can’t catch a break!

Memorial Ikebana

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre here in Montreal. A man, one who explicitly blamed women for all of his problems and failures, stormed a local university and shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen women. December sixth has since become a day of remembrance for the women who lost their lives as well as a more general National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Today’s ikebana is my way of memorialising and remembering the victims. White roses anchor the piece and represent hope, as well as the White Ribbon Campaign. The green buds bring a little texture in and protect the white roses, and the large leaves work to bridge the two disparate halves of the arrangement as well as evoking a bridge to a better world.

I’m fairly proud of this one. I’ve been trying to do more low, wide pieces and this worked out quite well. It feels balanced and organic as well, which I’ve come to realise is something I’m very fond of doing.

Realistically, I know that playing with flowers isn’t going to change anything in a world where there are still people who view women as second-class citizens, even here in North America. However, I would ask that you please spare a moment today to think of these women who violently and senselessly lost their lives for nothing more than the “crime” of wanting an education. Think of them, and think of the women worldwide who suffer at the hands of society around them.

 
Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz