They followed me home, I swear.

If you’re an avid collector, it can get to the point where kimono and related items really do just start following you home. As I mentioned in this entry, I came home with a bunch of kimono in my suitcase, despite my best efforts. One of them is a gorgeous Tokaido piece I’d actually purchased on eBay and had shipped to my friend Jamie, due to the postal strike, and it will be getting its own entry. Here are the other two.

Mauve-brown pussywillow komon
Pussywillow Komon

Pussywillow Komon

We were out browsing and shopping in Soho and Jamie started getting amusingly evasive and vague about our next destination. I was so touched when we ended up at Kiteya, a beautiful gem of a shop. The front of the store is filled with wonderful Japanese handicrafts, jewelry, art objects, etc. The back room has two big comfy chairs (which made the rest of our group very happy) and a bunch of kimono (which made me very happy). The service was wonderful, everyone was very friendly and helpful. There were some incredibly gorgeous vintage pieces, but their prices were pretty much gallery-standard, and while they were not unreasonable they’re more than an online bargain-hunter like myself is used to paying, and the only piece I was tempted to justify a big price on (Taisho houmongi with gorgeous peacock design) was just waaaaay too short for me. I was about to give up when I noticed this modern synthetic piece buried under a bunch of other things.

This colour is not only impossible to describe, it was impossible to photograph too. It’s sort of a dusty mauvey brown taupe something I dunno. A pinkish brown, a brownish pink, I’m not sure? But I do know it’s completely adorable. I love pussywillows, they remind me of my grandmother, who always had a bundle in her living room. The ones on here are very adorable too, in soft springy shades of pink and blue. It’s a nice versatile spring kimono, and I look forward to wearing it. I needed more wearable, unlined pieces anyway.

Black tsukesage-komon with diamond fan design
Black fan tsukesage-komon

Black fan tsukesage-komon

This is kind of a funky oddity – it’s a half lined komon but arranged in very specific stripes, there’s even a seam across the hips to help ensure the pattern falls properly. I actually won this awesome piece in a raffle at the street fair mentioned a few entries back, and it’s not only unique and quirky, but it fits me really well. It’s so awesome. It’s half-lined in bright red, but the top is unlined which will help keep it airy and breathable. I also love how the design from afar just looks like little diamonds, but up close they’re actually fans. It’s so charming.

Two recent komon – meisen and BUNNIES!

My track record of “adopting” things from other folks once again rears its head today. Both of these were inherited from prior owners.

Sythetic hitoe with BUNNIES!
Bunny Hitoe Komon

Bunny Hitoe Komon

I’m sorry, I’m just far too excited by this piece. It’s just so cute! Jaclyn bought it and another komon with bunnies at the same time, and decided that the other one was more to her liking. I’d mentioned how cute I found this one, and she knows how difficult it is for me to find kimono that fit me well, so here it is! This thing is a whopping 171cm/68″ long, and 140cm/55″ wide. It’s enormous, and the only kimono I own that fits me properly. It’s unlined but not summer weave, so I should be able to get a fair bit of wear out of it in this climate.

Purple geometric meisen komon
Purple Geometric Meisen Komon

Purple Geometric Meisen Komon

Naomi got this in a large bundle, and kindly gave it to me when I was down there visiting a while ago. It’s just about long enough for me to fudge a tiny ohashori out of, and if need be I can wear it without one due to how casual it is. The colour is so rich and lush.

Kimono for benefit concert

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a benefit concert for the Red Cross, featuring Arashi Daiko and Matsu Take Ensemble. Sadly, there were no photographs allowed during the concert so I have none to share with you, but let me assure you that it was a wonderful experience. The energy was great, the music was awesome, the dancers were adorable. If you are ever in the Montreal area and have the opportunity to see either of these groups, I highly recommend it.

Of course, I chose to wear a kimono to the concert. Sadly, I was literally the only person in the entire audience who did, but that did have some benefit. After the concert I went to thank some of the members of Arashi Daiko, and one of them informed that a few of them had noticed my outfit from the stage, and found it very inspiring and touching that I’d chosen to wear kimono. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad I decided to wear one. I also got lots of lovely compliments from other people in the audience.

I decided to wear a beautiful olive-green karakusa komon from Naomi, and paired it up with my pink and white hakata to emphasize the pink in the pattern. I just happened to have an olive green obijime and mustard yellow obiage that matched perfectly, and couldn’t resist tying in the pink with my adorable new playing card geta. I also chose to use my new biyosugata (obi tying aid). Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take photos before I left, so everything looks a little bit rumpled. However, I think for about an hour total in a car, and several hours in an auditorium seat, everything held up quite well.

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

Kasuri wool komon and haori set

A few months back, Amelie wore this set when we went out for shabu-shabu and I commented on how much I loved it and how I’d been wanting one of these matched sets for a while, but never found one that would fit me. Because Amelie is a total sweetheart and a very generous person, she offered the set to me as a late birthday/Christmas present. I couldn’t say no!

I love wool kimono for their versatility, ease of wear, and comfort. They’re wool so they can be nice and warm, but they’re unlined and relatively breezy so they’re comfortable in warmer months too. They’re also typically woven with bold geometric motifs, so they’re seasonless. They’re a great casual addition to any kimono wardrobe.

This one also appeals to my inner ex-goth (if you’re curious to see how I dressed when going out when I was younger, click here or here) due to the black and red colour scheme. What can I say, I’m easily amused.

Kimono and haori together
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Kimono alone
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Haori alone
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Fabric detail
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Not only is it adorable, it’s also more than big enough for me, which really shocked me considering how tiny Amelie is XD. I can’t wait to wear it!