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?

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.

Art Gallery – Flower and butterfly kakemono

Many of my beloved friends and family members appreciate and encourage my kimono addiction, but when it comes to giving me gifts they openly admit they’re not comfortable buying kimono for me – either they’re unsure of where to start, they’re not familiar with sizing structures, or are just not familiar enough with my tastes or the specifics of what I want/need. This has led to a wonderful trend of people giving me gifts of artwork that are related, either directly or indirectly, to my passion for Japanese aesthetics.

I love all these pieces, and while I can’t really carry them around outside to share with the world like I do when I wear kimono out, I realized there’s nothing stopping me from sharing them with my wonderful readers who would probably appreciate them as much as I do.

This one is a gorgeous kakemono or kakejiku, a painted wall-scroll attached to a fabric backing, usually for hanging in an alcove in a traditional Japanese room. It was a gift from a dear family friend – I’m not entirely sure where he got it, I think it was found in a box while he was cleaning out his mother’s house. Wherever it’s from, it’s really lovely. The painting itself is a cascade of pink flowers and a tiny stylized butterfly. I often find depictions of butterflies a bit twee and frilly in Japanese art, but this one is sort of geometric and absolutely original, and fits perfectly with the stylized flowers.

I’m not sure if the painting itself is Japanese or Chinese in origin (a lot of these are also made for the Chinese export industry), but here is a close-up of the calligraphy on it – if anyone has any ideas what it might say I’d love to know.

I hope you enjoyed this odd little venture outside the specific realm of kimono, because there will be at least a few more of these to come in the near future!

Komon Kollection

As this blog develops, I plan to catalogue everything I have. Some pieces, like my vintage furisode deserve their own entries, but for more simple or casual pieces, I figured it would be more straightforward to include them in larger group entries.

When I first started collecting, I was decidedly against the allover-patterned casual kimono known as komon. I thought the patterns I was finding were drab, distracting, and old-lady-ish. Small flowers, little geometrics, nothing with punch. And so, I staunchly avoided them, preferring to stick to the drama of houmongi, furisode, and the like.

Eventually my eyes were opened to the world of large-scale pattern, and a whole new avenue was open to me! Since then I have come to amass a fair number of bold geometrics and big “loud” patterns for casual wear.

Plaid komon
Maybe it’s my Scottish ancestry, but when I saw this weirdo I had to have it. I’ve seen plaid kimono before, but never in such a “typical” tartan-like colour scheme. The kimono itself is stiff and crisp and lush, but too smooth to be tsumugi. It’s a wonderful winter kimono with a vaguely holiday feel to it.

Green swirl komon with red flowers
This was a bit of a shock when it arrived. The auction photos made it look very rich and bright, but in person it’s very soft and muted. That being said, I still love the cool, watery feel of it and the contrast of the soft brick chrysanthemums against the pale dusty green. The silk itself is ridiculously buttery, far too rich-feeling for such a casual piece. Not that I mind!

Bingata-style navy komon with long sleeves
This was a gift from Naomi, a dear dear friend and terrible enabler. ;P I was bemoaning my lack of anything bingata and wham! I was the proud owner of this gorgeous piece that fits really well! Unfortunately, I can’t wear it yet. The sleeves are a lovely but awkward length – too long by modern juban standards, too short by vintage ones, so I am going to have to improvise. Thankfully it’s got a lot of different seasonal motifs, so I’ve got pretty decent leeway for wearing it.

Swirl/arabesque Komon
Up until recently I referred to this as my White Whale kimono. The kimono itself was an easy and impulsive acquisition. Too bad I never thought about pairing it with anything! I was convinced I would never, ever find an obi to coordinate with it, and it became a bit of a mania with me, hunting down the perfect piece XD. I’d pretty much given up on it when I stumbled across a gorgeous rich plum nagoya obi with gold embroidery on the drum end on ebay, and picked it up for a steal. No pictures yet, sadly, as it’s still in the mail. 😉

This piece never ceases to amaze me when I look at it. There are so many delicate and intricate patterns in each wave/curl/stripe/whatever. Flowers, geometrics, you name it. All carefully highlighted in gold.

Red Asanoha and Ume Komon
Considering my earlier statement about not liking small, “drab” patterns on komon, this one may come as a bit of a surprise. However, I love me some asanoha (geometric hemp-leaf/star pattern) and was totally captivated by the size shift in the ume that, from a distance, make the kimono look like it’s covered in clouds. It’s so subtle, it’s almost like magic. This is also another piece whose silk is so supple and rich and buttery that I can’t stop petting it when I have it on.

Red and white yabane
Yabane is one of those traditional patterns I have always wanted to have in my collection, but I always seemed to miss out. As luck would have it, Ame had one that was far too big for her and was looking for a good home. It fits me amazingly well, and I love the contrast of the red and white.

Black, white, and red wool
Wool is one of those other things I was unsure of, I imagined them to be bulky, itchy, heavy, and uncomfortable. I picked one up on sale for a few dollars (because I am a goon and cannot resist a bargain) and realized my preconceived notions were entirely incorrect. They are breezy, warm but not overly hot, and very very easy to wear. When I saw the listing for this one, my inner mallgoth cried out in dark, dark glee and I had to have it XD

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Brick wool komon
This was my first wool kimono, I purchased it mainly because it was on sale. However, I love the cool hits of icy blue and green through the warm background. This is a great fall kimono.

Synthetic ro komon with hydrangea
This came in a mixed lot and my first though was “Oh, no! Now I need to buy ro accessories!”. My immediate second thought was “Yay! Now I have to buy ro accessories!” Such is the life of a kimono addict! I love this kimono because it is ridiculously long and easy for me to dress in. I admit synthetic ro is not quite as breezy as silk ro, but it’s still comfortable even in the muggy Montreal heat.

Thus concludes my ramblings about my current komon. Until I get more!