Hotel Lobby Ikebana

This is what I tend to think of as Hotel Lobby Ikebana. It’s big, bold, tropical, and symmetrical, and it wouldn’t feel out of place as you’re checking in to a nice resort. This isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s just where my mind immediately goes when I see this sort of arrangement.

For this one, I challenged myself to work from a pre-assembled bouquet from the drugstore, of all things. Who knew you could get ginger flowers in that sort of a place? I love how sculptural and bright they are, and thought this red vase I found at the thrift store would balance them nicely.

I tried to keep the balance and framing I learnt about in last month’s ikebana atelier in mind while I put this together, but still kept it more modern and free-form. I liked the idea of symmetry and like how the end result has a pleasant fan shape that also adds to the formal and dramatic feel of it.

I can’t wait for the weather to start getting nicer so I can go back to using seasonal flowers from the garden and great outdoors, but for now I’m just glad I have access to interesting plant material.

Pretty Pastel Princess

I’ve been behind on mannequin coordinations lately! Hopefully this pretty pastel princess outfit will make up for it. I’ve wanted to do something sweet and girly with this furisode since I used it for Cinderella, and I finally decided to stop procrastinating and just do it.

I really wanted to play up the pink accents in the kimono, so I chose pink accessories and a silvery white obi with pink details and everything ties together so nicely. Despite all the pieces being relatively flashy and youthful-feeling, somehow the coordination still feels gentle. I’m not sure how I feel about the choice of obijime, since the blue doesn’t quite match the kimono, but I’ve been wanting to use this beaded one since I got it and couldn’t resist.

Since this was a dressy furisode outfit, I used the opportunity to practice my fukura suzume (chubby sparrow) musubi. I really do need to branch out and work on more interesting musubi in general, and I am going to try to make a habit of it in the future.

Overall, this coordination came together pretty much exactly how I’d been imagining it in my head and that makes me really happy. And while it’s certainly not as big as my new modern komon, this kimono nearly fits me properly so one day I’ll have to put this outfit on myself. Since the kiku is my birth month flower, maybe I’ll wear it for my birthday when next November rolls around.

Items used in this coordination

A Wild Diane Appears!

You guys! Look at this! Recently a friend drew my attention to the fact that Kimonomachi shop on Rakuten now carries a selection of modern poly komon in size 4TL. Even when I was thinner, it was nigh-impossible for me to find kimono that were actually long enough for me. Now that I’m also significantly overweight, I’d pretty much given up wearing a kimono comfortably as a lost cause, but this one borders on being too big for me. Isn’t that wild?

Sadly, I only noticed my obiage had slipped off my makura after I took the photos. Oops!

It feels so good to be able to dress myself again, and so easily and comfortably too. It’s amazing how much of a difference the proper fit makes. I’d love to buy myself another one, but these kimono are not inexpensive at ¥ 14,000. I managed to get this one for significantly less because I had Rakuten points a PayPal gift card that needed to be used. I may cave in and buy myself a different pattern if I get a large tax return this year. We’ll see.

For reference, I am 179cm (5’10”) tall with a 121cm (48″) bust and a 36K bra, a 91cm (36″) natural waist, and 120cm (47″) hips. I typically wear a size 18 or 1X in North American clothing sizes. This kimono wraps easily from hip to hip, a full one and a half times my widest measurement. So if you’re a similar size and looking for something that will actually fit you properly, I cannot suggest these enough!

I paired the kimono with this moorish arch nagoya obi that couldn’t match better if I’d bought them together. The rusty orange-red of the obi makes the red accents in the kimono pop, and the turquoise base colour of the obi is the exact same as the arches. Looking at the photos, it’s quite clear that a standard otaiko musubi done with an average-sized nagoya obi just looks disproportionately small and odd on my frame, so whenever I actually wear this kimono out to an event I will likely go with a hanhaba or chuuya obi tied in something I can control the size of better. Vibrant lemon yellow accessories made everything pop, and I couldn’t resist using my obidome with snails on it. It’s too cute for words, and ties in with the warm creme colour on the flowers of the kimono.

As a final note, a little reminder that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I dressed myself in this outfit last Thursday and took photos, with the intention of posting it on Fudangi Friday. I transferred, edited, and uploaded the photos. And then on Friday morning I settled in at work, and during a quiet moment started drafting the entry. It was at that point I realised I had the kimono on backwards. Somehow I’d managed to dress myself and then take and edit photos without ever noticing! And as much as I encourage playing with rules when it comes to kimono, wrapping it backwards (right side over top of the left) is only ever done for a body being prepared for a funeral, and it is not a rule I would ever consider breaking unless it was for a very explicit purpose like a costume. So I scrapped my initial plan and re-dressed myself today. Honestly, I’m glad I did, because I managed to tie the obi much more neatly and the lighting was a lot better as well.

Items used in this coordination

#Monokimono Challenge – Rose Pink

This certainly seems to be the month of pink! First there was the pink ikebana, then there was the pink sakura artwork, and now for this month’s #monokimono challenge, an experiment in pink and texture.

For the first one, I focused on pieces that had a lot of pattern going on, but had the colour in the background. This one, I decided to use pieces that were essentially solid, but all in the same soft dusty rose pink tones and lots of varied texture. I started with my iromuji with the really thick watery rinzu, and then the reverse side of the pink-and-grey sakura chuuya obi. It’s solid and smooth and contrasts perfectly with the rich texture of the kimono. Then this amazing new lace haori, which is slightly less saturated in colour but adds yet another layer of really thick, tactile interest. Throw in a few more shades of pink and interesting textures in the accessories, and I think this is a very successful monochrome outfit. It feels both timeless and modern somehow, and could be worn to so many different events.

Items used in this coordination

Since I’ve nearly completed cataloguing my entire collection, I thought I would add this little mini-feature to coordination entries. I still have obijime left to add, but once that’s done I will be going back and adding these detail images to entries over time. What do you think?

Tropical Fire Ikebana

Tropical Fire Ikebana

I suspect you’re all probably quite tired of me complaining about winter, but I’m not done yet! Still cold and damp, still sick, and now they’re predicting half an inch of freezing rain overnight! I was very much in the mood for something reminiscent of the sweltering humidity of the tropics. The little flower counter at my local drugstore is not the place I’d expect to find birds of paradise or bright red waxy anthuriums, but lo and behold, they found me and called out to me.

The flowers are so bold and dramatic that I knew I wanted to do something big and sparse and sculptural. The beautiful blue vessel was a Christmas gift from my cousin and I love how it anchors everything, is reminiscent of water, and pulls out the hint of blue in the bird of paradise flower. I tried to arrange the anthurium to almost look like steps leading up to the stark angles of the bird of paradise, and attempted some fancy weaving of the palm leaves. It didn’t hold quite as well as I’d like, I clearly need more practice! The whole arrangement was perched dramatically onto this carved wooden stand that was my grandmother’s. I love the way it raises the whole piece up and elevates it to a work of art.

Spring can’t come soon enough! Aside from all my complaints about flu season and the cold and snow, I’m also eager to go back to working with seasonal flowers from my own garden and the great outdoors. There’s a forsythia bush in our yard that I never got the opportunity to work with last year, and I’ll be damned if I miss its blooms again this year!