A most beautiful gift

For someone who has no plans to get married in the remotely near future, I sure do seem to be amassing a lot of wedding items. This one comes courtesy of an online friend who has a heart of gold. She’d had this piece – as well as two others that will be making appearances soon – for quite some time and felt that it was time to pass it along to someone who would genuinely appreciate it. I am beyond touched that she felt I would be worthy of them.

The package arrived in the mail today, and while she had sent me photos of the pieces they did this piece in particular no justice whatsoever. The silk is lush and heavy, the embroidery is stunning, and there’s a full secondary red lining. Despite the fact that I was hot and tired from work, I was determined to see how this piece looked on the mannequin. It took far longer than it should have and I’m not thrilled with the tidiness (or lack thereof) of the kitsuke but I love the combination of warm gold of the obi with the orange and dark, chocolatey, almost-black plum of the kimono. I would very much like to revisit this coordination in the future, once I’ve got a proper set of bridal accessories. I also think this kakeshita would be absolutely stunning combined with the uchikake I acquired not long ago.

The Outfit IG Built

So as most of you know, I am a moderator over at the Immortal Geisha webforums. I do this as a labour of love, not expecting anything in return. However, every so often, the kind and wonderful community of forum members there will flabbergast me with beautiful gifts. This year marks the incredible ten-year anniversary of the forum, and in thanks, Naomi and the members secretly arranged for the moderators to get incredibly generous gift certificates with which to buy kimono.

I’d been eyeing this particular synthetic komon for a while, mainly because I thought it would coordinate perfectly with my moorish arches nagoya obi, which, until now, I’d been unable to wear. That obi was also a gift from a forum member, so it seems incredibly fitting that not only did I get to wear them together, but they look absolutely perfect together. The kimono itself is quite a strange colour; the sale photos looked grey, in indoor lighting it looks navy blue, and in sunlight it looks almost purple. Thankfully, all three of those permutations happen to look fantastic with the brick-rust colour of the obi, and the cyan accents are a near-perfect match. The lining of the kimono is even a similar rusty colour to the obi.

I paired it up with my well-loved orange and blue shibori obiage and coordinating hakata obijime, and an awesome spade obidome from ChidoriyaWorld. I thought the spade shape mirrored the arches on the obi quite nicely. My father and I headed off to the park near my house to take pictures, and we were treated to perfect weather.

We also had company in the form of this silly little squirrel, who was carrying around a napkin. Not kimono-related, but too cute not to share!
Squirrel with a napkin

And, just for reference, photos of the kimono by herself:

From one Tokaido lover to another

In which I am yet again treated far too kindly by my friends and family on the Immortal Geisha forums.

BikaBika is an awesome forum member with a great sense of personal style, and she is also an afficionado of the Stations of the Tokaido motif. We’re generally careful not to step on each others’ toes when we see items, which is just another sign of the sense of community the forum has in general.

Several people brought this particular kimono to my attention, but I’ve spent a lot more than I should lately, and I thought it was a bit narrow for my fatty hips. After a fair bit of deliberation I decided to let it go. Fast forward a few weeks and BikaBika has dropped hints that she’s mailed something to me, but I honestly just assumed it was a little accessory or something. Unfortunately, Canada Post went on strike right around this time, so the package fell into a kind of dispatch limbo. While I didn’t outright forget about it, I shunted it into the back of my mind so I wouldn’t stress too much about it potentially getting lost. So I was pretty surprised and confused when the mailman brought me a package I wasn’t really expecting yesterday morning.

Needless to say, when I got it out of the package I was stunned, and very touched. There was a note included that mentioned she’d gotten my address from Suara, who sent me the stunning Tokaido obi a while back, with strict orders to wear them together. I ran downstairs to thank BikaBika and to photograph it. Unfortunately it’s too hot even for yukata right now, so there’s no way I’ll be able to dress in a full formal outfit for a while yet. Thankfully, nothing’s stopping me from sharing photos of the stunning artistry of this piece though.

Grey Tokaido Houmongi

It’s a soft dove-grey with three distinct stations repeated around the hem. It’s sort of a strange merge of tsukesage, with the stations each being distinct and on a separate panel, and houmongi, since while the designs are discrete from a distance they form a continuous design around the bottom hem. There is also a single blue tsuta (ivy) crest, which helps merge the formality upwards from tsukesage to houmongi.

The front hem has one of the loveliest versions of Station 16, Yui, that I have seen so far. It’s also the only station on the kimono that crosses over multiple panels.
Grey Tokaido Tsukesage-Houmongi

The other two stations are both repeated on the back hem and the sleeve, both in front and back.

Station 1, Shinagawa
Grey Tokaido Tsukesage-Houmongi

And this is the interesting one Bika helped me figure out, it’s a loose artistic interpretation of Station 52, Otsu, but what threw me off is that while most of these pieces are done using the Hoeido edition, this particular variation is from the Kyoka edition, which is much less common.
Grey Tokaido Tsukesage-Houmongi

Yet again, I am flabbergasted at the kindness of others, and in awe of how it always seems to come when I need a pick-me-up.

Geisha Henshin

So as I mentioned in my last post, I was going to be visiting Naomi. One of the things we’d planned to do was a full geisha henshin, something I lacked both the know-how and wardrobe to do. I knew she had a lovely purple hikizuri with ferns on it and we’d decided to use that. HOWEVER… about a month ago, a gorgeous hikizuri in shades of purple with indigo ariso (curled up jumping carp) showed up on eBay. I wanted it desperately, but with my trip coming up I couldn’t justify bidding too much, so it slipped out of my grasp. Imagine my shock when Naomi was handing me things to look at and said “oh, and I have this old thing, you can keep it”, and I saw that very hiki when I unfolded it. I was in a bit of a tired, emotional state to begin with and I totally lost it and started crying, I was so touched. It turns out she and Erica had conspired to get it for me as a “very very early birthday/Christmas present”. For the record, my birthday is in November.

So anyway, when we did the henshin today, of course I had to wear my new hiki. I have to say, it still feels weird to say that. My new hiki. Mine!. But I digress. It was a super fun experience, and we took waaaaay too many pictures. I’ve uploaded my favourites to Flickr, and plugged in a gallery below, but here are some of the best. And, just because it’s hilarious – geisha henshin with a mohawk.

Moorish arches nagoya obi

Recently, I won a kimono from Yahoo Japan with a mosque around the hem. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I don’t have photos, but it’s absolutely unique and stunning. When I posted about it on the Immortal Geisha forums I got a lot of questions and suggestions about coordination. Several people actually found the same obi on eBay, a deep rusty reddish orange with blue archways on it that had similar Middle-eastern style ornamentation on them. Technically it’s a little casual for the kimono but thematically it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, I’d pretty much blown my budget for a while on the kimono itself, so I had to pass it up.

I should also mention that around the 2010 Holiday season, I organized a gift swap on the forums. Since I was the one arranging it, I wasn’t technically able to participate. In the end I did get a lovely gift from one of the members, due to my own disorganization – I’d accidentally left her out of the swap so I sent her things from my own collection and she graciously sent me a package of lovely handmade things in return.

Fast forward to this morning, when my father informs me that I got “a ton of mail”. I am expecting a few things so I wasn’t terribly perplexed, but when I started opening the package I had no idea what it was. I was worried maybe one of the sellers had mixed up my order, until a note fell out of the package.

Moony, thank you for the work you put into the ImmortalGeisha forums, especially the Winter Swap. You didn’t participate, but here is your surprise gift!

There was no name and no signature, and since several people brought the obi to my attention I really have no idea who sent it! I did make a post on the forums thanking whoever it was and explaining that in the end I did get a package though. ~.~;; In any case, it’s stunning and very appreciated, and will be cherished. I can’t wait for the kimono to arrive so I can put them on together.

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Moorish arch nagoya obi