#Monokimono Challenge – Leaf Green

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Hogwarts House kitsuke to bring you this month’s #monoKimono challenge. March brings us St. Patrick’s Day as well as the start of Spring so I thought green would be the perfect colour to work with this month.

My vintage green irotomesode anchored the colour scheme, and since it’s so gentle and subtle I wanted to keep the whole outfit feeling very subdued. The back side of my green chuuya obi worked well, keeping things very simple and tying in with the slightly less saturated greens of the kimono’s hem design. My initial plan was to use a green cotton haneri with sayagata but it was slightly too warm and clashed with the kimono. Instead I chose a simple embroidered haneri that had enough green to tie into the monochrome theme but a few dusty pink accents to reflect the hem design. I ended up using the original cotton haneri as a kasane-eri, with so little of it visible it didn’t clash as much as it would have on the collar.

I tied the obi in a sort of bunko variation; no real concrete reason, I’m just getting tired of doing otaiko or niijudaiko musubi all the time lately. The obiage wasn’t necessary but I did want to inject one last shade of green to pull everything together. I skipped the obijime, since it wasn’t necessary either and none of the ones I had on hand fit nicely. I don’t think the outfit needs it, honestly, especially not with the pinstriping on the obi already.

We’ll be back to the Hogwarts project early next week. Until then, I hope you’re having a great weekend and a wonderful Easter or Pesach if you observe either of them.

Items used in this coordination

Kits-Mas Day 6 – Looking Forward

Goodness, it’s almost the end of the year! For today’s coordination, I wanted something that was still within the Christmas colour scheme but felt more spring-like. Looking forward to the new year, if you will. I love this green irotomesode, and it pairs so perfectly with my pink and white hakata obi. I brought a small bit of red in with the obiage, but still tried to it in the same desaturated and vintage-feeling colour scheme. The flowers and colours around the hem of the kimono have always felt like they had one foot in winter and one foot in spring. Considering how blisteringly cold it’s been lately here in Montreal, I need a reminder that this utterly miserable weather won’t be around forever.

This one may not scream “festive” in the way the previous ones have, but I’m still quite pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s a nice subdued coordination, a calming breath before the next few outfits I’ve got planned. Be sure to check back to see tomorrow’s!

Harvest Gold

Does anyone remember harvest gold appliances? Thankfully we never had any in my household but we did have an avocado green dishwasher for a very long time! It’s funny how colours go and out of fashion, isn’t it? And how they can look so lovely on a kimono but so ghastly in a kitchen!

This kimono was actually the emergency back-up I purchased for Belle’s outfit, after it seemed like the one I wanted had got lost in the post. Eventually the first one did show up, so I got to use it as I’d planned, but it seemed like quite a shame for this gorgeous vintage piece to languish in storage so I vowed to do something with it today.

My initial plan was a gold obi, but since I wasn’t doing the Belle outfit anymore I figured I had more freedom, but for some reason I had a heck of a time finding a coordination that did the piece justice. Most of my obi were either too flashy and metallic or too dark, and the soft, delicate quality of the yuzen around the hem would have been completely overwhelmed. Then I thought I could use the yellow nagoya obi I used last week but that seemed repetitive and overly monotone. Then I debated an orange hakata and a grey masculine-feeling nagoya that both didn’t quite work either. Then I found this beautiful dusty taupe nagoya with a subtle bit of gold. It perfectly balanced the kimono, pulling out the grey-brown tones of the flower cart and helping anchor it. Simple green accessories and one of the charming new subtle haneri I bought rounded things off.

The outfit feels very soft and elegant to me, stylish in a very understated sort of way that looks fantastic on a mannequin but I could probably never pull off in person! It also feels very seasonal right now, despite having more spring and summer flowers on it. The colours reflect the changing leaves outside, which makes me very happy.

Blue embroidered irotomesode.

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.

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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.

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embroidered_irotome_002

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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.
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I also love how derpy and charming the tortoise looks. He’s goofy and adorable.
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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.

Vintage Irotomesode-komon hybrid

When I saw the listing for this item, I fell hard and fast in love. The late Meiji/Early Taisho style designs around the hem looked so soft and gorgeous, the varied-width stripe rinzu silk was awesome, and I found the small scattered pattern combined with the hem design really unique. I was expecting people to fight for it, but somehow it slipped under the radar and I got it for a great price.

It’s quite small, but I expected that. I will be able to wear it for photos but I don’t think I’ll be comfortable wearing it out of the house, sadly. However, as a conversation piece it’s pretty priceless. Nowadays kimono fall staunchly into very specific categories ranging from informal komon with all-over patterns to very formal tomesode with designs only below the knees, usually with a crest. This one somehow manages to be both. Before World War II, kimono were worn much more frequently and it was more common to see ones that blurred or outright crossed these formality lines, but I’d never seen one that was a combination of such blatantly different designs.

Another interesting aspect of it is that the motifs (peony, narcissus, and nandina) are very Spring season-specific. It’s a formal crested kimono, generally these tend to have more celebratory or all-season motifs, to prevent the need from owning too many. Anyone who could afford to have a formal, crested kimono that could only be worn for a month (possibly two) out of the year clearly had an appreciation for the finer things in life, and the finances to back that up.

The auction listing showed this as a standard indigo blue, so I was more than a little confused when I opened the package and a purple kimono fell out. I saw the rinzu stripes and the little leaves and knew it was the right item, but it’s a completely different colour. I don’t mind at all though – I’ve wanted a dark purple kimono for a very long time but they usually go for much higher prices. The yuzen work on the hem is also even more soft and delicate than the auction pictures had led me to believe. It’s a gorgeous piece, and my only complaint is that I like it even more than I thought I would so I am sad that it doesn’t fit me very well.

Irotomeosode-Komon Hybrid

Irotomeosode-Komon Hybrid