Tokaido Road for Tony Bourdain

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that I often make coordinations as a sort of coping mechanism when someone I admire passes on. Friday morning, I heard the news I wasn’t expecting to hear for decades yet. Tony Bourdain was dead. Devastatingly, lost to suicide. This one hit me much harder than any other recent death. I’ve been a huge fan of his for longer than I can remember. His television shows, his books, even the comic books he’s written. I’ve actually been working on a post that involves some of those, but it’s been put to the side for the time being.

In an age of approachable, inviting celebrity chefs and easily marketed sound bites, Anthony Bourdain showed us that it was important to be honest and true to yourself. He showed us that it was entirely possible to be ascerbic and foul-mouthed while being open and empathetic. He used his bad-boy persona and privileged status to amplify the voices of downtrodden people who so many would have ignored, and did it all over a shared meal.

This 53 Stations of the Tokaido obi is an item that had been on my wishlist for months, and when I got a notification that it was on sale I jumped on it. I hadn’t used it yet, waiting for the right time, and what a better way to use this motif focused on travel than to honour a man who encouraged us all to travel and explore and experience new things? I kept the rest of the outfit very subdued, to maintain the focus on the obi.

If you do anything today, do it honestly, do it with no reservations. Try something out of your comfort zone. Sit down and listen to someone you’d normally overlook. Reach out to a loved one. Eat something incredible. Do it with open eyes, open ears, open mouth, open heart, and open mind.

Items used in this coordination

Warm Pink on a Cold Day

This warm pink beauty made her debut as Aurora‘s outfit in the Disney Princess Kimono Project, but while I was working on that I saw these two pieces together and knew I had to coordinate them at some point. Since winter has finally hit in full force here in Montreal, I was in the mood for something happy and pleasant-feeling, and this seemed like the perfect thing.

The gold tones of the gorgeous Tokaido obi are offset by small hints of a dusty rose-raspberry colour (visible on the roofs in the back view photo) that is nearly identical to the kimono itself. There are also areas of pale blue on the obi, similar to the details in the kimono motif. Simple pink and metallic accessories pulled everything together; even the leaves on the haneri are gold. This makes for a very classic and cohesive outfit that wouldn’t be out of place at a wedding or formal event. I like how it came together very much and could easily see myself (or nearly anyone, really) wearing it at some point in the future if I could get it to fit properly.

This will probably be the last mannequin coordination for a little while; I’ve got something silly and quite possibly over-ambitious in the works for the next few weeks. There will still be updates and plenty of reasons to visit, but I just wanted to assure you all that this is still the primary focus of my blog, even though it may not look like it as the holidays creep up on us all. There will be outfits to make up for it soon enough.

Tokai-Dos and Tokai-Don’ts

I’ve had this 53 Stations of the Tokaido tsukesage for a long time now. I’ve never worn it myself, but I did put it on my friend Frances one day. The obi, by comparison, was an absolute impulse purchase a few weeks ago – I was buying another item from the seller and this was only $10 so I couldn’t say no! Especially since it’s a lovely stylisation of Station 49 – Saka-no-shita, which is a station I don’t have on any items in my collection yet. For the price, its absolutely gorgeous. The bulk of the design is woven in, and then touches are pulled out with beautifully lush embroidery to add depth and texture. It’s a bit slippery to tie, but definitely not the most challenging obi I’ve had to work with.

Generally the rules of kitsuke say not to match the motif on your kimono to the motif on your obi, and to contrast the colour of one against the other. However, when I saw these two pieces next to each other, my mind drifted back to my first experiment in very monochrome and matchy outfits, and I wanted to give it another shot. Rules are an excellent starting point, but sometimes breaking them with forethought and intention can produce some amazing results.

I’ve always loved the peachy pink sunset accents on the kimono and decided to make them pop with the accessories. I feel like this resulted in an overall very calm and serene outfit with a bit of punch, and I love it!

I do apologise for the quality of the photos today; my camera was being difficult so I used my mobile phone camera. It worked, but it’s not ideal. However, I make no apologies for the utterly terrible word-play in the title.

Outfit of the Week: Tokaido Formal

Those of you who have been with me for a while probably already know about my obsession with all things relating to the 53 Stations of the Tokaido. I found this kurotomesode online several years ago, and desperately had to have it. It’s far too small for me, the silk is fairly fragile, and it’s way too formal for me to have worn anywhere anyway. And yet, here it is.

Technically, this sort of kimono needs an obi that’s primarily white and metallic, and a white obiage and obijime. However, I have this absolutely stunning gold-based Tokaido obi that Suara from the IG forums bought for me when I was in a bad place. It’s one of my most favourite pieces, both aesthetically and sentimentally, and I thought it would be absolutely perfect with this kimono. It’s also an utter joy to tie – stiff enough to keep its shape but not stiff enough to fight me. And no matter who or what I tie it on, I nearly always end up with one perfectly framed design on the drum. It’s a magical obi! I thought my gold and olive obijime and sky-blue obiage complemented the set quite perfectly too.

Tokaido Kurotomesode

I actually received this quite some time ago. I purchased it on eBay and had it sent to my friend Jamie in NYC because Canada Post was on strike at the time and I was concerned about it getting lost. I picked it up when I was visiting her over a month ago, but I’ve either been busy or not in the mindset to blog lately, unfortunately. However, since I’m back in the mood now, I thought this would be a lovely piece to share with you all.

While kurotomesode are really the last thing I could really justify, and this thing is techincally too small for me to wear, I couldn’t pass it up due to the Tokaido motifs, as well as the non-standard design on the sleeve, much like my chidori and matsu kurotomesode.

The stations are woven onto patches of soft white bokashi-style dyeing so they stand out better, and it gives a really nice cohesive feel to the whole kimono. I also love that there’s a station on the sleeve, which is not standard for kurotomesode. It feels a bit more youthful this way. I also really like that the kimono artist took slight liberties with the design, sometimes moving things around, removing people from the scenes, etc. It makes it a bit more unique.

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 16 – Yui (reversed from original)
Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 35 – Goyu (people removed)
Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 46 – Kameyama
Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 38 – Okazaki (people removed)
Tokaido Kurotomesode

There are also small vignettes that are either very loose interpretations, something from another print edition, or simply original inspired designs by the kimono creator that included.

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Tokaido Kurotomesode