Subtly Spooky

Happy Halloween, everyone! I had tons of fun last year doing a month’s worth of various Halloween coordinations but this month was too busy to devote myself to anything like that. I knew I had to do something though, and that’s where this suitably subtly spooky outfit came from!

The starting point was unsurprisingly the obi. Obi with seasonal, spooky, or gothic motifs tend to be quite popular, and as such, also quite expensive. This one cost me nearly nothing, since it’s the reverse side of an obi I already owned! I found this gorgeous iridescent gemstone skull sticker at a craft store. It’s actually a Martha Stewart brand product, of all things. Once I had the skull, I knew I wanted to decorate an obi with it but I was worried it would be too plain, but then I found a spool of adhesive ribbons and trims and I was all set.

I knew I wanted a fairly plain kimono so that the focus would be on the bling-tastic obi. I waffled over a few choices, debated buying something, and then I remembered I had this little beauty, a gift from the same dear friend who sent me the vintage kakeshita a while back. This piece is quite old, and quite fragile. The silk itself is very clearly sun-damaged, faded in spots, and has several tears and frays where the seams are coming apart. It’s also one of those odd hybrid kimono that we hardly ever see anymore. From a distance, it is (or was, before the fading) a solid uniform purple shade with a single crest, which would place is straight in iromuji territory. But up close, it’s shot through with gold stripes, which is not something you’d generally see in a modern iromuji. Whatever you want to call it, I’m so glad I finally found a way to use it!

The finishing touch for this outfit is a brooch I made a while back with supplies from the very same craft store. It wasn’t made with kimono or any particular event in mind, I was just feeling creative. But it works so well with this outfit, you’d think I’d done it on purpose! I tied everything together with black, red, and dark raspberry pink accessories and came up with what I think is a very spooky but also very wearable coordination!

Are you dressing in kimono this halloween? If so, please share photos!

Spookitsuke – Non-Compliant

Until now, the outfits in this feature have been more thematic than actually costumey. Today’s coordination is a little bit different. This one is lifted straight out of the pages of one of my favourite current comic books, Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue deConnick. Without spoiling too much, the basic premise is that women who are deemed “non-compliant” are sent to an essentially lawless prison colony in space. Being deemed non-compliant can be as simple as being too loud, too big, too “unappealing” to men. It’s an incredibly interesting examination of gender and society. I would absolutely be deemed non-compliant and I revel in that.

There is one scene where one of the characters, in hologram form, plays the violin for her father. Typically, the inmates wear orange jumpsuits emblazoned with the NC logo, but in this scene she’s wearing a kimono with an NC obi. Due to the stylistic way she’s represented as a hologram everything is sort of pink and washed out, but I am going by the assumption that the kimono is the same colour as the jumpsuits. As soon as I saw this panel, I knew at some point I was going to try to reproduce the outfit.

I had big plans for this  costume. Unfortunately, life has a tendency to get in the way. Originally I was going to buy an orange iromuji and paint the obi. However, it’s nearly impossible to find an iromuji in prison-jumpsuit orange. Especially a cheap one, since I know I’d never wear something this colour aside from in this costume. As for the obi, I cut and sewed this inexpensive white obi into a tsuke to make it easier to work with, and I’d intended to stencil the Non-Compliant pattern onto it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any fabric paint that didn’t bleed all over and turn into a blurry grey mess. I fought with the whole thing for nearly two weeks – hence the lateness of this entry – and eventually figured I could put my image editing skills to use and at least make a composite of the outfit! Eventually I will make the obi and possibly wear it to a convention at some point in the future, but for now I think this works out quite well!

I know I’d initially said I had five outfits planned, but between my health being not great lately and this one being delayed, it’s going to be the final entry. I hope you enjoyed this little month-long venture into ways to wear kimono for Halloween!

Spookitsuke October 2016

Spookitsuke – We Can’t Giggle, It’s A Crime Scene!

Last week, I promised the next instalment of this feature would be creepier, and I’m fairly certain I’ve succeeded! It started with this bizarre haori Naomi sent me a while back. I’m assuming it’s supposed to be clouds or some sort of abstracted design but we both thought it looked like blood spatter. It seemed like the perfect place to start a Halloween outfit. I decided to run with the blood splatter and aim for a crime scene feeling. The kimono is another that Bonita sent to me, along with the gorgeous wedding kimono from a few weeks back. It is mofuku, and is in incredibly fragile condition. It’s tiny and several of the seams are coming apart, and between the fact that it’s funerary wear and the shape and size of it, I know it will never get worn. It seemed thematically apt for the outfit though, so I layered it over a red under-skirt. I found this crime scene tape ribbon and thought it would be interesting to use as an obi-jime. However, I misread the listing and ordered waaaaaay more than I actually needed, but I think it worked out in my favour. I love how it looks wrapped around so many times. The red shigoki obi evokes more blood, literally and figuratively tying it all together. I’d hate to run into the person wearing this outfit at the end of a dark alley!

We’ve got two coordinations to go, and they will both be more costumey than creepy. I hope you’ll check back to see! And yes, before anyone asks, the title of this entry is indeed a reference to BBC’s Sherlock.

Spookitsuke October 2016

Spookitsuke – Getting Gothic!

It’s October, and that means it’s time for a new month-long feature here on Kimono Tsuki – Spookitsuke! (If you’ll pardon my silly portmanteau of spooky kitsuke). By now, we all know that kimono in and of themselves do not a costume make. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for overlap! Every Sunday this month, I will be putting a thematically appropriate outfit on the mannequin. From creepy motifs to an outfit lifted straight out of one of my favourite comic books, every one of these coordinations would fit right in at the scariest costume party! If you’re thinking of wearing kimono to a Halloween event, whether it be just a thematic outfit or detailed costume, I hope you find a bit of inspiration in the coming weeks.

This first week’s is a straightforward outfit using my tried-and-true gothic landscape houmongi. This piece is one of my favourites, due to the unique motif. It’s a great modern piece and a pleasure to work with, since the silk is heavy and textured and the collar is already sewn in half. I paired it with this shiny tsuke-obi I bought on a whim a few months back, and I’m so happy with how well they work together! I used pale blue accessories to draw attention to the foggy mist on the kimono. Overall, it’s a perfectly “normal” outfit, until you look at the hem of the kimono. Victorian-style lanterns, wrought iron railings, and even a hill with tiny cross grave markers all evoke a creepy, crawly, wonderfully Halloween feeling.

Spookitsuke October 2016

This is Hallowe’en, everybody make a scene!

I was invited to a party on October 30th this year, and I figured it was high time I broke out my Gothic Landscape houmongi. I’d originally wanted to wear it with my crow obi but I still haven’t had the opportunity to repair it. Oops! I figured in the spirit of all things Creepy and Spooky, I’d see about pairing it up with my spider obi instead. I’ve been hesitant about this combo since the kimono and the obi are so close in colour, but my salvation arrived in the mail on the Thursday before the party, in a boxful of shigoki obi. A splash of red was the perfect way to visually separate the two pieces as well as tie in the leaves on the obi. It also helped that one of the shigoki had tassels in the exact same shade as the glorious spiderweb haneri from Naomi.

I decided to further emphasize the spooky theme of the ensemble with accessories – I made myself a cute little hairband with black feathers, a raggedy purple “veil” and a sparkly little spider. I used some of the same tulle from the veil to make a big puffy bow to stick in my obi. Unfortunately, I spent nearly two hours in the car before I was able to get these photos, so my obi musubi has gotten sort of squished and lopsided 🙁

Having fun (after a few drinks) with some of the awesome decorations.

A close up of the amazing spider haneri

I even did my nails to suit the theme. Orange with black spiders and rhinestones! Again, I had fun wit the decorations for this pic

The party was a huge blast. Unfortunately, I had to get out of the kimono around 2 in the morning. I’d been drinking and going to the bathroom was starting to become a challenge! It also started snowing pretty profusely that night and I was worried about ruining my kimono on the way home.