Typically, the rule of thumb for obi/kimono coordination is to choose contrasting colours and motifs. You want the two pieces to pop against each other and then be tied together with accessories. However, monochrome (or nearly monochrome) outfits are becoming more of a trend.
I found this plum tsukesage online and thought it would be a perfect match for the obi I already owned. While under the questionable influence of migraine medication I asked the lovely folks of the Immortal Geisha facebook group if I should go for it, and was actively and heartily encouraged. I tossed out an offer and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Imagine my surprise a week later when I got a shipping notice!
All that being said, I am completely and utterly thrilled with how well these two pieces suit each other. Not only are the base colours nearly identical, but the abstracted half-round peacock motifs perfectly echo the graphic round kiku on the obi. I decided to emphasize those motifs by accenting the outfit with cream and gold accessories, and I don’t think I could be happier!
I continue to make ploddingly slow progress when it comes to my share of the obi bundle. Today, the fukuro obi.
Gold and white fukuro obi with traditional patterns
I love the variation of traditional kimono textures and patterns on this obi. I’ve needed a traditional white and gold obi to pair with kurotomesode for quite some time now, so I’m very pleased I managed to get this one. Another interesting note about it – unlike most modern fukuro obi, which are only patterned on the visible areas, this one is fully patterned down the entire length. This will allow for much more leeway when it comes to tying it.
Gold and seafoam green fukuro with round karabana and clouds
Okay, this one? IMPOSSIBLE to photograph properly. It’s just waaaaay too shiny. It’s not the sort of thing I’d normally consider my tastes, but I love the soft seafoam green colour, and the gold has this really interesting irridescent shift to it, so I couldn’t resist. I have no idea what I’ll pair it with, but I don’t care. It’s gorgeous!
Plum fukuro with kiku
This one is really interesting. At first glance it’s sort of dull and drab, even the gold and silver of the kiku is muted compared to most modern fukuro obi. However, the fabric is incredibly lush and rich-feeling, and the base is very unique. It’s a heavy rinzu of kiku leaves, so it’s almost as if the flowers are sitting on a bed of plants. The colour is also impossible to describe – in some lights it’s a plummy eggplant purple, and in some it’s sort of an espresso brown. I can’t stop looking at it, because there’s always something new to see. It’s so subtle, but so unique.
Cream fukuro with pastel tachibana
This poor beautiful baby has a fair amount of age-related patina, and due to the pale base colour it’s quite visible. However, I’m sure I can find a way to wrap and tie it so that the worst parts are hidden. I love tachibana so I had to give this one a chance.
Kansai_gal sent me this in the box of amazing things that included the bunny geta from the previous entry. She knows my tastes so well, I am totally smitten with it!
On the surface it looks like a plain black three-crested formal haori, but it’s scattered with black urushi birds that appear to be crows or ravens. I suspect it’s also relatively old, it’s quite long (even on my tall frame), and the crests are larger than modern ones, but the sleeves are short, so either it’s from a pre-war transitional period, or the sleeves were cut short at some point. Either way, it’s a beautiful and unique piece that I look forward to wearing, possibly with my crow obi (although now, comparing the birds, I think it’s more likely that the birds on the obi are indeed stylized cormorants, but I will continue to refer to it as crowbi because I am stubborn that way).
I actually received this quite some time ago. I purchased it on eBay and had it sent to my friend Jamie in NYC because Canada Post was on strike at the time and I was concerned about it getting lost. I picked it up when I was visiting her over a month ago, but I’ve either been busy or not in the mindset to blog lately, unfortunately. However, since I’m back in the mood now, I thought this would be a lovely piece to share with you all.
While kurotomesode are really the last thing I could really justify, and this thing is techincally too small for me to wear, I couldn’t pass it up due to the Tokaido motifs, as well as the non-standard design on the sleeve, much like my chidori and matsu kurotomesode.
The stations are woven onto patches of soft white bokashi-style dyeing so they stand out better, and it gives a really nice cohesive feel to the whole kimono. I also love that there’s a station on the sleeve, which is not standard for kurotomesode. It feels a bit more youthful this way. I also really like that the kimono artist took slight liberties with the design, sometimes moving things around, removing people from the scenes, etc. It makes it a bit more unique.
Station 16 – Yui (reversed from original)
Station 35 – Goyu (people removed)
Station 46 – Kameyama
Station 38 – Okazaki (people removed)
There are also small vignettes that are either very loose interpretations, something from another print edition, or simply original inspired designs by the kimono creator that included.
So recently I was informed that there are a couple of sellers on Yahoo Japan who ship internationally, and accept PayPal, rather than necessitating a deputy service. Needless to say, this was a pretty dangerous bit of information. I set to browsing and found a few pieces I was going to make an attempt on.
I stumbled across this beauty and was instantly charmed by the rich blue colour and the incredibly detailed embroidery. It’s fairly rare to find such lush hand-done embroidery on a modern piece, which this most definitely is. I tossed out a relatively extravagant bid and figured I’d lose it anyway, due to the level of work gone into it and the size (a reasonably long 167cm!). I was pretty astounded when the auction ended at 1100 yen (just under $15 USD currently). I wondered if I’d somehow missed a pertinent fact in the auction like a huge stain or a significant tear, but no. I was just incredibly lucky.
I cannot begin to explain how amazing the embroidery is – it’s textured but still smooth, lush, and has a wonderful sheen to it without being tacky.
I love that the red on the crane’s head is done in sagara (french knot) embroidery to give it a different texture than the rest of his feathers.
I also love how derpy and charming the tortoise looks. He’s goofy and adorable.
All in all, it’s a stunning piece with wonderfully auspicious motifs, and I can’t wait to find a suitable coordination and event to wear it.