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!)

Fudangi First Friday – Kodomo no Hi

Tomorrow (May 05th) is Kodomo no Hi, こどもの日, or Children’s Day. So of course, as in previous years, I had to get out my beloved koinobori obi. This year, I thought I’d coordinate it with this vintage shishi komon that is eventually going to live with Naomi. Until then, though, I figured I may as well have a little more fun with it!

Koinobori, or carp-shaped streamer flags, are a traditional decoration for the holiday, which is why I always use this obi somehow during this time of year. The other pieces were chosen primarily for their look, not any real symbolism. The haneri is a new one I got in a package from Ichiroya recently and I really liked how the pattern meshed with the kimono. I used other pale purple accessories to pull it all together. As much as I love this obi, I tend to forget what a nuisance it is to work with. It’s got seams in odd places, it’s very slippery, and it’s short even by vintage standards. I’m pretty sure it was a kimono or a juban at some point in its life, before it was remade into an obi. I also can’t believe I was ever able to wear it!

Thankfully I’m already starting to feel much better since my fall last Friday. I should be back at work by next week, and I have a bunch of content lined up for this month!

Items used in this coordination

Vintage Temari

Spring is still in the air, and I’m finally feeling up to dressing the mannequin! I’ve been trying to make coordinations using pieces I’ve never worked with before, and decided it was high time I use this vintage temari chuuya obi. It’s actually the reverse side of the amazing crustacean obi Naomi sent me a while back, this side is just a lovely bonus.

As gorgeous as this side is, it’s a bit difficult to work with. There are two sets of designs on an otherwise solid black base, but no matter how I tried tying it I could not get one on the front and one on the otaiko at the same time. I decided to keep the front plain and use a fun obijime so I could focus on getting the design centred on the back and make it the focal point. Maybe next time I’ll use an obidome to add a bit more interest.

My beloved purple cotton yabane kimono made a wonderful base for the obi, and I pulled the accent colours of salmon red and aqua out of the obi motif in the accessories so everything feels cohesive. I do wish I’d been able to get some sort of design on the front, but I still think that overall this was a successful outfit.

And yes, that is yesterday’s ikebana peeping out from behind the mannequin! I was going to move it for the photos but I thought it added a cute touch and I love how the yellow flowers match the yellow accents in the kimono.

Items used in this coordination

Slytherin Kitsuke

Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

At last, we come to Slytherin. The kimono choice for this outfit was obvious; this green and silver yabane is the perfect colour combination. From there I decided to stick with a very vintage feel, which also suits the “old blood” mentality of many notable Slytherins. I’d never used this silvery-grey obi before, and I realised why as I was working with it. Not only is it frustratingly slippery, it’s a very strange size. Too wide to be a hanhaba obi, not wide enough to be full width, I had to fold it essentially in thirds. But because it’s stiff and slippery it fought me the entire time. I managed to get it to stay in place, but I don’t think it would last very long like this tied on an actual person. Thankfully the mannequin is good at holding still!

The haori is black, which isn’t a traditionally Slytherin colour, but it seems to me that when not in school robes, all the prominent members of the house tend to favour elegant black clothing. A long, sleek black silk haori with very subtle urushi crows on it seemed to fit the bill quite well.

The obijime is admittedly way too formal for the rest of the outfit, but the green shimmering beaded texture made me think of a beautiful snake when I first received it, so of course I had to use it to represent Slytherin house’s animal.

I’m also cheating a bit in that this outfit is doing double duty, it’s also entirely applicable for Fudangi First Friday. And with this, the Hogwarts House kitsuke project is complete! I had fun, but I’m looking forward to coordinating more “normal” outfits for a little bit. At least until another ridiculous theme project strikes my fancy.

Items used in this coordination

#Monokimono Challenge – Leaf Green

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Hogwarts House kitsuke to bring you this month’s #monoKimono challenge. March brings us St. Patrick’s Day as well as the start of Spring so I thought green would be the perfect colour to work with this month.

My vintage green irotomesode anchored the colour scheme, and since it’s so gentle and subtle I wanted to keep the whole outfit feeling very subdued. The back side of my green chuuya obi worked well, keeping things very simple and tying in with the slightly less saturated greens of the kimono’s hem design. My initial plan was to use a green cotton haneri with sayagata but it was slightly too warm and clashed with the kimono. Instead I chose a simple embroidered haneri that had enough green to tie into the monochrome theme but a few dusty pink accents to reflect the hem design. I ended up using the original cotton haneri as a kasane-eri, with so little of it visible it didn’t clash as much as it would have on the collar.

I tied the obi in a sort of bunko variation; no real concrete reason, I’m just getting tired of doing otaiko or niijudaiko musubi all the time lately. The obiage wasn’t necessary but I did want to inject one last shade of green to pull everything together. I skipped the obijime, since it wasn’t necessary either and none of the ones I had on hand fit nicely. I don’t think the outfit needs it, honestly, especially not with the pinstriping on the obi already.

We’ll be back to the Hogwarts project early next week. Until then, I hope you’re having a great weekend and a wonderful Easter or Pesach if you observe either of them.

Items used in this coordination