Kitsune – Yokai Halloween 2018

The Kitsune is quite possibly the most well-known Yokai. Not only are foxes representative of tricksters in so many cultures and traditions around the world, the kitsune figure appears in so much Japanese media that nearly everyone has, at the very least, a passing familiarity with them.

Kitsune are neither inherently good nor evil – there are so many stories and so many variations. There are helpful ones, vengeful ones, playful ones, and ones who punish the wicked, to name a few. I didn’t have one particular variant in mind when I decided to feature this particular yokai, because it’s impossible to choose. I’d like to think she’s more friendly and playful than outright malicious though.

Since kitsune are so varied, I knew I had a lot of creative liberty for this particular outfit. I decided to go with the first kimono and obi I ever purchased, because this particular kimono feels so quintessentially Japanese to me. The bright red colour and iconic white chrysanthemums pop, and the kitsune mask I painted plays off them so well. The finishing touches were a lovely furry tail and ears. Initially I wanted to put the tail at the hem of the kimono but it’s not very large and got a little bit lost, so I put it below the obi instead, and think it looks very cute there.

And just because I’m really proud of how it turned out, especially considering I freehand painted the whole thing, here’s a close-up of the mask.

Items used in this coordination

 

Harley Quinn

I hate clowns, but I love Harley Quinn. Go figure! This was the outfit I was most looking forward to. It was the most fun, but somehow also the most awful to put together! Even though the other three outfits in this project have been relatively standard and traditional kitsuke, my plan for Harley had been a bit off-the-wall from the very beginning.

For a character who was only created in the 1990s and was never meant to be a permanent addition, Harley’s had an enormous impact on the DC universe and really pop culture as a whole. She’s had some incredible character development, and a long with that a bevy of unique costumes and looks. None are more iconic than her original red and black harlequin jumpsuit though, so I knew that one had to be my starting point.

 

My red ume komon was the grounding point for the whole outfit, along with a black petticoat to give off a cute feminine vibe. Over top of that, I used a ro mofuku kimono I have that’s basically rotted apart at the seams. I’ve been planning to sew it back together, but I realised that it would be perfect to use as a sort of overlay. Since the seams were already separated, I sort of bustled it in four segments over top of the komon. A red, black, and white obi and accessories with card suit motifs were the perfect next step. I added some white ruffled ribbon to the collar and sleeves, and tucked a white shibori obiage in above the obi to look like more ruffles.

Despite it being an enormous pain in the posterior to put together, I could not be happier with how this outfit turned out. I could absolutely see Harley wearing it.

This is going to be the last Batman-themed outfit for a while. It’s been great fun, but I want to focus on a few different things for the month of October. I do have loose ideas for a few more characters so I’ll likely revisit those in the future though.

Items used in this coordination

Fudangi First Friday – Fall Forward

It’s the first Friday in September! It’s still feeling like the surface of the sun here in Montreal, but I couldn’t resist pulling out this wool piece. I got the obi from Kimono Yuki here during the Yatai food festival, and it seemed like the perfect piece to coordinate with the kimono.

Initially I was going to go with red accessories but I realised I’ve been doing a lot of matchy-matchy stuff and wanted to inject a pop of contrast and colour. I remembered this obijime I received from Kyoto Kimono as a thank-you gift for a project they were doing on Instagram a while back, so I thought now would be an ideal time to use it. To balance everything out I went with this ridiculously cute haneri with a blue base and red and black accents, so everything echoes at least one other part of the coordination.

I am sorry I missed Fudangi First Friday last month, it was just so hot and gross and miserable. Thankfully now that fall really is coming soon, things will eventually cool down and I’ll have no excuses. I also have a bunch of really cool reviews in the works, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

Items used in this coordination

Vibrant Poppy Ikebana

More beauties from our garden – this time it’s these stunning, vibrant poppy blossoms! Poppies hold a special place in this household, for multiple reasons. My mother’s name is Poppy, and my parents met in the Canadian Armed Forces, so the poppy also represents remembrance. There are poppy-themed items all over our house, I have poppies incorporated into one of my tattoos, and of course my mother planted some in our front garden.

I really wanted this piece to be a very simple and clean arrangement with no clutter. I went for a traditional format inspired by what I learned of the Sogetsu school style at the workshop I attended a few months back. A plain white vessel and black pedestal serve to anchor the whole thing while ensuring that all the focus remains on the blossoms themselves. And look, no screen today! Don’t worry though, it’ll definitely be back soon.

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.