Taisho Blues

I know, I know, I said the last outfit I posted would be around for a while. Work continues apace on updating and redoing my visual catalogue, and when I took out this Taisho-era beauty I love so much, I realised I’d never coordinated her with this vintage orange hakata obi and that seemed like a crime. They feel like they were made for each other. But then again, I think hakata goes with everything. When I first got it, I paired it with an orange obi and while I loved the colour contrast, the obi was a metallic, Showa-era blingfest that felt incongruous with the soft vintage feel of the kimono. Springy green accessories were the perfect finishing touch, including a brand new obiage I’ve never used before.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that for whatever reason I’ve always had bad luck with tying obi in tsunodashi musubi but I was really in the groove after putting this outfit together and I figured I’d give it another shot. I’m really glad I did, because it worked out perfectly. The ohashori is quite puffy-looking, which is unfortunate, but sometimes it’s inevitable due to the shape of the mannequin.

Now this is definitely an outfit I’m happy to leave on the mannequin until I’m finished everything else I have in the works.

Art Gallery – Vintage kimono artwork

Tiranaki (Naki for short) is someone I met on Gaia quite a while ago while we were both moderators. Naki is a lovely, talented lady. Aside from her awesome artwork, she makes beautiful handcrafted jewelry and hair ornaments and designs funky clothing and accessories, under the banner of Koana Designs. She makes some great origami-paper kanzashi that would look absolutely love with kimono, so definitely give the site a look.

The kimono she drew is quite ornate and doesn’t fit me ideally so it was fairly rumpled in the pictures I provided for her so the amount of detail she put into it is a testament to her skill. I love how both the background and the painting style have a wonderful vintage feel to them, it suits the age of the kimono, I think. To view the larger version, see iton her DeviantArt or click the one in this post, as always.

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.

Indigo Girl

I’d been waffling about buying a Taisho-era indigo piece for a while when this came up on Ichiroya, and while it was a bit more than I usually pay for kimono, the colour, size, and condition of it were all worth the investment in my mind. This is a houmongi with era-typical long sleeves and a beautiful, multiseasonal floral design. It’s got branches of ume (plum blossom), iris, botan (peony), and bamboo around the hem, and a bold, graphic stem of tachibana, which is probably my favourite floral motif. I love how squishy and fun they look!

It also has some gorgeous, lush embroidery on some of the geometric designs

However, I think one of my favourite things about this kimono is probably one of the most subtle. Woven directly into the fabric, before the dyeing process was started, is a gorgeous red and gold windowpane plaid. You’d never see detailing like this on a modern houmongi, as nowadays that sort of design is considered strictly informal. Naomi wrote a great piece on the qualities of indigo dye, and the transitional phenomenon of putting stripes (which are very casual by modern standards) on more formal kimono. It’s a trend I think is beautiful and needs to come back into vogue.

I’ve worn this kimono once, but only inside the yard, as I’m a little worried about wearing such an old piece out and about. Maybe one day when the right time and place come up, I will do so. I chose to pair it with a late-Showa era obi, which may seem odd but the clouds, grasses, and colours just seemed perfect with it. The obiage and obijime were a gift from a friend, and bring out the soft blue and olive tones in the kimono perfectly. For a vintage feel, I chose some burnt paulownia geta instead of zori.