Review – Modern Sakura Kanzashi

Modern Sakura is a fairly new US-based kanzashi brand. I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while now, and when I saw they had created a Kickstarter crowdfunding camp aign to get established, I knew I wanted to back them. The campaign was understandably successful and I chose the purple and blue Summer Breeze kanzashi.

I received mine yesterday, and I’m very impressed. The first thing I noticed was the custom mailer boxes. It’s a really nice little touch that makes receiving the product feel very special. Inside the customised box was two adorable printed glassine bags, another sweet little detail that while entirely unnecessary adds a level of thoughtfulness to the finished product.

There were two pieces in the box, which I was not expecting! The tiny blue flower clip is so adorable and subtle, and will be great for everyday wear. As far as I know, these are exclusive to folks who backed the Kickstarter.

The pièce de résistance though was the Summer Breeze kanzashi. This piece has a unique combination of ume blossoms, a charming little fan, and flower and bell dangles. Admittedly, this style is quite juvenile for someone of my age, especially with the little bells, but when has that ever stopped me before? The piece is very well-finished, even the back is smoothly covered with fabric to ensure quality and durability. There is a small metal alligator clip on the back, which was an excellent choice in my opinion, as it tends to grip even fine hair like mine. It also makes the piece suitable for a wide variety of hairstyles – kanzashi mounted on traditional wire pins are really only going to work with fairly voluminous updos but this style of clip means the piece can be worn on long, loose hair as well.

If this is a sign of things to come, I expect to see and hear a lot about Modern Sakura in the future. If you’re interested in some affordable, modern kanzashi that will work as well with kimono as they will with western-style clothing, check them out!

You can find Modern Sakura on their website, as well as their Facebook page and Instagram.

I received this item as a backer perk for a project or product that was crowd-funded (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc)

Some new komono

Nothing terribly exciting for today, I’m afraid. I’ve just been trying to focus on buying things I need, instead of things I just want. And right now, I need more accessories. Luckily, I’ve found some great deals on really cute things lately.

Purple and red obiage
Obiage

Obiage
Kansai_gal snagged these for me, and I’m very grateful. Admittedly, I thought the purple one would be blue, but I didn’t have a casual purple one yet so it’s not the end of the world. However, I still need a blue obiage. XD

Embroidered stretch tabi
Sakura tabi
With feet my size, it’s always exciting to find interesting tabi that fit and aren’t the knit sport type. These may be subtle, but they’re adorable nonetheless.

Purple tachibana haneri
Tachibana Haneri
I love purple, and I love tachibana. What else do I need to say here? XD

Gold saganishiki obijime
Obijime
A nice, simple, dressy obijime. It’ll be good for kurotomesode kitsuke, I think.

Gold saganishiki obijime with red accents
Obijime
Similar to the above, but with hits of red. Nice thing about these is that they’re all good for obidome.

Reversible gold and green obijime
Obijime
I love the pop of acid green on the back of this, it contrasts so nicely with the fairly traditional gold and red on the front side.

Black and white check flat obijime
Obijime
I love love love this obijime. So much. Like, I can’t even express it. It was part of a bundle, including all the subsequent ones in this entry, and I bid totally just to get this one. I love the adorable country charm of it, and it also works with obidome! I also love the weird chartreuse colour on the reverse side.

Pink, blue, and brown obijime
Obijime
This one was a bit of a surprise. I thought it was simply cream, blue, and brown, but when it arrived I saw that the solid half of it is actually a really soft, charming pink.

Blue and sparkly obijime
Obijime
This was another pleasant surprise – the blue side is very cute, accented with little bumps of darker blue, but the reverse is actually white with tiny metallic blue flecks!

Putrid yellow-green round obijime
Obijime
This is… how can I put this delicately? This is definitely not my favourite one. It was part of the bundle and I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually, but it’s such an awkward, bilious colour. I might end up dyeing it, I don’t know. I can’t even imagine selling it alone, honestly.

New haneri

While I was visiting Naomi, I picked up a bunch of gorgeous haneri we’d bought together on YJA. Unfortunately, the selection was random so we didn’t get exactly the ones we were hoping for, but I am happy with the ones I ended up with.

Maroon with floral roundels
Maroon floral haneri
A beautiful rich colour with multi-seasonal flowers. For modern machine embroidery, this is surprisingly lush.

Taupe with floral roundels
Taupe floral haneri
Same as the previous one, but in a much more gentle colourway.

Ivory with sakura
Beige sakura haneri
I’m not usually one for sakura motifs, but the soft ivory background of this one and the variety in colour of the flowers makes it charming and versatile.

White with grapes
White grapevine haneri
I thought the little pastel grapes on this were very adorable, I couldn’t resist!

White with dramatic flowers
White floral haneri
Again, lots of sakura, but the ones in the background are abstract enough to look like botan or kiku with the right outfits. I also love the charming little yellow maple leaves.

Pinstripe haneri with ume
Pinstripe and flower haneri
This was actually a gift from Kansai_gal that I’ve had for quite a while now, but never got around to photographing. Apparently it was such a good price that she couldn’t pass it up, but she didn’t particularly like the design. Worked out well though, because I absolutely love it.

Playing cards
Playing card haneri
This adorable homemade haneri was a gift from Rubyminky. I am really looking forward to wearing it with my playing card kanzashi hairband and obidome.

Bunnies!
Bunny haneri
Also from Rubyminky, this is an adorable soft dusty pink with cavorting bunnies. What’s not to love?

Haneri – the finishing touches

In my mind, one of the items in any kimono wardrobe that really helps inject personal style and flair into an outfit are haneri, or decorative under-robe collars. They are sewn onto the juban to protect it from dirt and oil as well as to add a coordinating colour and design. By default, most modern juban have a white collar already attached, but you can always sew a more brightly coloured or textured one over top.

White collars are proper and traditional on more formal and mature outfits, such as with kurotomesode, iromuji, and mofuku. However, on younger outfits involving furisode, or any outfit involving komon, tsukesage, or houmongi, the right haneri really adds a visual punch. I may even consider wearing them myself with iromuji with the right accessories (and to the right venue), and I have a few that are primarily white with some metallic accents that I wear with kurotomesode. However, I would never wear one with mofuku (funeral wear) as I feel it would be frivolous and disrespectful.

I have a relatively small collection of “real” haneri, but I have a lot of handmade and improvised ones as well. Really, any fabric that is lightweight and long enough to cover the juban collar will work fine.

White with seigaiha
haneri-7 haneri-8
This is a beautiful and delicate white collar with pink and mauve seigaiha (stylized wave) and little squares. The white silk also has a subtle reflective fleck texture.

Mauve with spiders
Naomi got this one for me to go with my infamous spider obi. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up!
haneri-5 haneri-6

Black with ume and bamboo
I love the slightly vintage feeling of this one. I also really like dark haneri in general, especially with casual outfits.
haneri-3 haneri-4

Blue with sakura
A sort of subtle pastel one. I have an outfit in mind for this but I haven’t had the opportunity to wear it yet.
haneri haneri-2

Shibori silks
These are actually scraps of silk Naomi sent me, but they are the perfect size to wear as haneri. I love how vibrant they are.
haneri-9

haneri-11 haneri-10

Handmade cotton selection
These are hemmed quilting cotton I got in a trade with someone on the Immortal Geisha forums. They’ve all got a definite Japanese feel to them (except the striped one which is just freaking adorable) and look great with a bunch of different outfits.
haneri-12

On the merits of shigoki obi

Shigoki obi are one of those items that really aren’t necessary by any means in a kimono wardrobe, but once you’ve gotten a couple you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. If you’re like me and are built like the offspring of the Jolly Green Giant, and you have a preference for older kimono, they are a godsend. They are a great way to hide a lack of ohashori, or one that is too short to sit properly and lie flat.

These long loose types are traditionally worn by young girls, but lately with the trend in Japan leaning towards the vintage, the funky, and encouraging women to find their own personal style in kimono, they are making a huge comeback. There is also a variation called the kakae-obi that is stiffer and solid, sort of like a wide ribbon, and typically worn by a bride on her wedding day. I really like the looks of these particular accessories, but I’ve never seen one worn simply as a stylistic element so I think for the time being I will avoid doing so.

Typically they are in the standard beni-bana orangey red that was traditional for accessories and undergarments, but more often now they are coming in combinations of fun patterns and colours. BikaBika recently posted some amazing scans from the newest edition of Kimono-hime and one outfit featured a girl wearing an adorable white-and-red candy-stripe shigoki. I would absolutely love one of these for myself.
Spring Coordination Page 2

So far I only have red ones, but they’re all slightly different shades of red and all have different fringes – two have red with gold, one has a slightly peach cast, one is just solid red. The first example is how they should be worn, the second example is using one as a substitute for the momi, the red cloth geisha wear under their obi.
Halloween 2010 Kitsuke Geiko-inspired kitsuke

If you’re building up a kimono wardrobe and looking for a way to inject a bit of fun and personality into your casual outfits, I’d really suggest investing in at least one or two shigoki obi!