Kurotome & Jacket Experiment

Last October, amazing and modern kimono stylist Akira put out Akira Times – Wafuku Anarchist, a book of his work. On the cover is a gorgeous woman in a fantastic, punk-feeling kitsuke with a leather jacket over top. Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but somehow never got around to it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by Nichole Fiorentino, who also does some utterly gorgeous and aspirational kimono styling, when she posted older photos of her doing a similar kitsuke with holographic accessories and a holographic leather jacket. I knew the time had come for me to do a kurotme & jacket experiment of my own!

Amusingly enough, the jacket itself came from another dear friend named Nicole, and it’s one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I knew I wanted to use it, instead of a plain black one, so I chose this vintage kurotome because of the similarities in colour accents, and the flower motifs. I figured since I was already doing something “wrong” I could just throw caution to the wind and have a little fun. I pulled out some really bold accessories, and went with the narrow band of my hakata tsuke-obi since the back would be hidden anyway, and it helped to reduce bulk under the jacket.

While I can’t say whether or not I’d ever be confident enough to wear something like this out in public, I do think the experiment was ultimately very successful and I’m glad I did it!

Items used in this coordination

(and one epic jacket!)

Kiltmono for Robbie Burns

Yesterday, January 25th, was Robbie Burns Day, a celebration of the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. Traditionally, a Burns Supper is held, an evening filled with bagpipes, haggis, poetry, whisky, and laughter. A few weeks back, a family friend came over while this outfit was on the mannequin, and he jokingly asked if it was for Robbie Burns. It got me to thinking, how could I combine the two, and this “kiltmono” is what I came up with! I’d intended to do it yesterday but this flu season has been kicking my butt over and over again, and I could barely get out of bed. Thankfully today was better.

I hiked the kimono up quite high, to what would be roughly the length of a kilt. The white obi is to echo a crisp white dress shirt, and the black haori calls back to the formal black jacket typically worn with a dress kilt outfit. I chose the red accessories to tie together the red accents in the haori and in the tartan of the kimono. The sporran is my father’s, as is the sgian-dubh (dagger). Traditionally, the sgian-dubh is worn tucked into the sock with a formal kilt outfit, but it reminded me of the traditional kaiken dagger worn by Japanese brides, so I tucked it into the obi. The shoulder fur is reminiscent of both traditional fox fur kimono shawls and a pelt that would have been worn for warmth in the Scottish highlands.

Honestly, I’m kind of shocked at how well this whole experiment came together. As much as I love traditional kitsuke and “proper” kimono coordinations, I also really love demonstrating how modern and versatile these garments can really be. When we stop viewing kimono as rigid, regimented garments with strict prescriptive rules, and start remembering that they are first and foremost clothing and were once worn every single day, we’ll all be able to have a lot more fun with them while still remaining respectful.

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

Outfit of the Whenever: Sugar & Spice

I have accepted that calling this feature Outfit of the Week is unrealistic. I will try to continue posting at minimum once a month; we’ll see how that goes 😉

I’ve been wanting to do an outfit using a blouse in lieu of juban for quite some time now, but never really found inspiration until now. The other day I found this ruffled, high-necked, almost Victorian-inspired black blouse and everything fell right into place. I went with a very simple colour scheme, just using black and dusty pink. The kimono is an iromuji with a really lush, textured silk weave. The obi is actually my lobster tsuke obi wrapped backwards so it’s just solid black. I realised as I was dressing Tsukiko that it was coming across as a very pretty, demure, sort of outfit so I ramped that up with pearls and an ume kanzashi from GirLinKimono on Etsy used as an obidome. It seemed very fitting for Valentine’s Day.

I love how soft and simple this coordination is, without being remotely boring. I also really like how the blouse-as-undergarment turned out, and I may end up having to try this out on myself sometime in the near future. It seems like it would be easier and more comfortable than worrying about juban and everything.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! May it be filled with love and chocolate or whatever else makes you happy.

Ashes to Ashes

When I woke up this morning, my social media feed was full of posts expressing shock and sorrow about the passing of David Bowie. People of all ages and genders came together to lament the loss of someone who seemed above such boring human concerns as dying. I’m still not entirely done processing it.

In order to cope, I decided to dress Tsukiko. Rather than go for a typical mourning ensemble, I tried to capture the spirit of David Bowie at his most memorable. He was known for his theatrical and flamboyant personas, for his transcendence of time, space, sexuality, and gender. He was also an avid fan of Japanese culture, and often had stage outfits and clothing inspired by Japan. I set out to create an outfit that defied categorisation; a vintage woman’s kimono tied male-style with a low and narrow modern obi, a mid-century haori decorated with chrysanthemums – flowers that once signified queerness.

I’m happy how it turned out. It may not obviously scream his name, but I know what inspired it, and that’s enough for me. Farewell, Starman. Several generations of freaks and weirdos mourn today.

 

ziggysm