Montreal Kimono Club Meetup!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a group of other local kimono enthusiasts. I will admit, I was more than a little nervous since it’s been over five years since I’ve worn kimono out of the house. Initially, I’d wanted to wear this coordination but it’s been so hot and muggy here lately that I knew I needed to switch to a hitoe kimono. Once I’d decided to run with my bunny komon, I decided to go a bit overboard with adorable animals, finishing the outfit off with my ridiculous daschund tabi and bunny geta.

We met up at a metro station and helped a few folks who didn’t have items of their own get dressed. Of course, we attracted some curious attention, but it was primarily positive. From there we headed to Kimono Vintage Montreal. I’ve been wanting to check this store out since it opened, but I hadn’t had the opportunity yet. It was definitely worth the wait! The store is an amazing little gem, filled with gorgeous treasures. The women there were incredibly friendly and helpful, and seemed genuinely excited to see our ragtag little group. We spent a fair bit of time there, eyeing all the beautiful kimono and accessories on display. I’d not intended to buy anything, but of course I found one piece I absolutely loved and knew I had to have. There was a brief moment of sticker shock for someone who has been spoiled by buying things from online auctions, but the experience and the quality were more than worth it.

After we posed for a few photos and said goodbye to the lovely ladies of Kimono Vintage, we headed a few blocks away to a tiny gem of a tea shop, Cha Do Raku. Of course, we attracted attention from the few other patrons, but again, it was overwhelmingly positive!

There was a huge selection of tea available, and with the muggy weather I was happy to hear most of them could be served iced. The young woman working there was so sweet and helpful, and she served us our teas and snack with warmth and grace. The shop is quite small and intimate, and was a wonderful place to relax and cool down a little after our adventure.

Overall, it was an awesome day. I met lots of wonderful, like-minded people and it felt really excellent to get out and about in kimono again! I’m really looking forward to doing this again sometime soon.

If you’re in the Montreal area, please check out the following links:

Kimono Vintage Montreal Website | Kimono Vintage Montreal Facebook
Cha Do Raku 茶道楽 Website | Cha Do Raku Facebook
Montreal Kimono Club Facebook

Princess of Themyscira

This outfit was inspired by the strong and compassionate warrior whose name is on everyone’s lips these days – Wonder Woman! I’ve had so much fun doing geeky-inspired kitsuke in the past (Star Trek, Bitch Planet, and Star Wars) and I wanted to give Diana her due. My initial plan was going to be a blue kimono and red haori, but I realised the vaguely onna-bugeisha style of a hakama would be much more balanced and representative of her red top and blue bottom. I felt like the kiku motif of this vivid red kimono was reminiscent of the star motif of her outfit, and a navy hakama grounded the whole thing. Of course, I had to bring in gold as the accent colour of the haneri and obi. The sword seemed like a foregone conclusion once everything came together, and what would Wonder Woman be without her golden lasso (or in this case, her golden obijime)?

Overall, I feel like this was another ultimately successful cosplay-style kitsuke. I would love to wear this outfit to a convention or something at some point, along with a tiara and bracers. It’s the sort of outfit that would take a minute to “get”, but I think once people recognised it, it would go over really well.

Everyone cheer, Melons are here!

I am really making an effort not to buy new kimono, but sometimes I find things that just call to me. When I found this komon (for less than ten dollars, I might add) I knew I had to have it. In my mind, it looked just like a slab of malachite. However, when it arrived the general consensus was that it looked like watermelon, especially with the pink lining. I’m still very likely going to do a coordination around the green stone, but I had to go with the melon first.

A sweet pink hakata obi and pink haneri seemed like the way to go, and then I remembered I have this cute black spade obidome that sort of evokes the feel of a watermelon seed against the pink of the obi. It’s a very simple, very casual outfit but I think it really conveys the fresh, summery feeling of biting into a juicy slice of watermelon. Now, if only the warmer weather would hurry up and get here!

(If the title of this entry seems familiar to you, that’s because it is from a very silly (and not exactly work-safe) video by Mr. Weebl)

Something old, Something new…

Kimono, like any other garment out there, is subject to trends and changes in fashion. Usually, this just impacts the colours and patterns used, since the shape of a kimono is so fixed. Every so often, however, someone comes up with something really different and unique. Traditionally, brides in Japan will wear a special type of furisode called a kakeshita on their wedding day. The colours and styles and motifs of these can vary greatly, but they’ve always been the same basic garment. However, modern women are looking for ways to wear more modern dresses but still retaining a bit of that traditional feel. For a while now, there have been designers such as Aliansa who will convert a kimono into a western-style dress, but this requires irreversible changes to the kimono. This isn’t ideal for family heirlooms or treasured gifts. So what’s a bride to do?

Enter The Oriental Wasou, a bridal studio that’s figured out a fantastic way to temporarily convert a furisode simply by folding it carefully and draping it over a western-style ballgown! They claim it takes only ten minutes, and after the event all you’d need to do is give your furisode a good steaming, fold it carefully, and store it away. When I first saw these adaptations, I knew I wanted to give one a try. However, I am not the sort of person who has ballgowns or wedding gowns just lying around, so the idea went onto the back-burner until I was at the thrift store a few weeks ago and found this utterly beautiful mauvey pink gown with a sheer black overlay. I knew right away it would be the perfect complement to my favourite furisode.

This furisode and I have had a colourful history. I bought it years ago while visiting my best friend at the time, even though I knew I’d never have a valid or justifiable reason to wear it. It didn’t matter, I was in love with it. I dressed myself in it a few times for photos, I had a lot of fun with it, and then a few years ago my friend and I parted ways. There was a lot of silly emotional baggage whenever I looked at the kimono, and I stopped doing pretty much anything with it. Fast-forward to middle of last year, and not only have we reconciled, it feels like we’re closer than ever. I knew I had to pair this outfit with the pearl necklace he’d given me for my birthday one year. The other accessories were chosen to help emphasise some of the colours in the kimono. The obiage and obijime perfectly mirror the shading in the peonies, and the obi helps draw out the gold flecks in the background. Since this is such a non-standard outfit, I had fun making up a big flashy obi musubi. It also helped to hide the draping and folding in the back of the kimono.

Overall, I think this experiment was quite successful. It’s definitely a departure from what I’m used to, but everyone needs to step out of their comfortable rut now and again, right?

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