Yuki-Onna – Yokai Halloween 2018

Halloween season is upon us! If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know that I like to pick a theme and run with it every October. While I stress heavily that a kimono and in of itself is not a costume, I do think that there are plenty of ways to build a costume or even a series of costumes using kimono as a base.

This year, I thought I would pay tribute to some of the spookiest or most famous female yokai in Japanese folklore. There are so many to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down to a reasonable number. To start, I decided to go with Yuki Onna, one of the most iconic and well-known women of the spirit world.

Yuki-Onna (雪女, snow woman) is a beautiful maiden with snow-white skin and black hair, typically depicted in white kimono. She is freezing to the touch, thrives in blizzards, and may melt if exposed to fire or hot bath water. I knew I wanted to start with my shiromuku, giving me a clean white base and the drama of long sleeves and a trailing skirt. My beloved Kanbara obi was the perfect focal point. I could absolutely see Yuki-Onna in this landscape! I anchored the outfit with a black skirt underneath and echoed it with a black obiage and obijime. Initially I was going to use this white haneri with snowflakes on it, but it contrasted oddly with the ivory of the kimono and felt a bit too cute and cartoon-like. Instead, I used the solid black reverse side of the other one and accented it with a few glittery snowflake stickers. I love the way they catch the light and sparkle like the sun on snow and ice. A rhinestone and pearl brooch reminiscent of a snowflake completes the ensemble.

Items used in this coordination

 

#monoKimono Challenge – Summer White

This may be the last weekend in August, but we’re still suffering the heat here. With the humidity factored in, they’re predicting temperatures in the high 30s again this week. So I decided to run with some cool summer white usumono coordination for this month’s monochrome outfit, even though I did a white/cream one not long ago with the wedding ensemble.

I often find myself breaking the rules a bit with these monochrome outfits. I guess I figure that if I’m playing with one rule, I may as well play with them all. So this outfit is sort of all over the place formality-wise and season-wise, but I really wanted to keep it all in that warm white/cream family with yellow accents to make the bells on the kimono pop out.

Also, if I’m being honest, I just don’t have much variety when it comes to actual summer-weight accessories, so I had to use normal ones. Maybe I should limit myself to only buying usumono for a while. I’ve already cut down on my buying habits lately, this would be even better motivation to stick to that.

I quite like how this turned out, even if it does have a lot “wrong” with it. And it wasn’t too terribly overwhelming to put together even in this oppressive weather. Win-win!

Don’t forget, there’s only a few days left to enter the stencil giveaway!

Items used in this coordination

Elemental Basics Ikebana

A very clean and modern arrangement for today. My initial plan was for a few flowers anchored in a fair bit of water, but then I found this beautiful dense white mum that I knew would fit perfectly in this glass cube.

The stone at the bottom helps ground everything but makes sure the focus remains on the bloom. I really like how uncluttered the whole piece is, and I realised as I was assembling it that I had nods to all the elements working in tandem. The water is self-evident, and the stone clearly echoes the earth. The glass is transformed by fire, and the flower is balanced between water and air. I don’t normally post so many photos but this arrangement looked neat and unique from different angles, and I couldn’t resist it.

As this is the last weekend of the month, August’s #monokimono outfit should have gone up today but I’ve had rather a long week, I’m having a bad pain day, and I don’t have the energy to wrestle with the mannequin. It will be posted tomorrow!

Gothic Wa-Lolita Inspiration

I’ve done some wa-lolita coordinations before, to varying levels of success, but somehow it wasn’t until I got a solid black mofuku kimono that it occurred to me to do something using this skirt! I found this incredible Alexander Henry Midnight Pastoral skeleton toile fabric a few years back, and Naomi was kind enough to make it into a skirt for me. 💖

I decided to stick to the sort of gothic/Victorian vibe the fabric brought in and paired the solid black kimono with a high-collared white blouse and a black lace choker with a skull cameo on it. In lieu of an obi, I used a wide studded leather belt which worked alright out but I think next time I’d prefer something with a little more volume in the back. As it is, the front of this outfit has much more interest, and feels a little unbalanced because of it.

This didn’t start out as a memorial outfit, but as I was working on it I realised I had Rick Genest/Zombie Boy on my mind. He was certainly not as much of a household name as David Bowie or Anthony Bourdain, but he was a true original and a Montreal native, as well as being an artistic muse to so many misfits and creatives. The repeated skeleton motifs in this particular outfit, as well as the use of the mofuku kimono, seem like a fitting tribute for yet another flame snuffed out too soon.

#monoKIMONO Challenge – Wedding White

I never set out to assemble a full wedding white ensemble, but once I had, it only seemed logical to feature it as a #monokimono outfit. Since lots of folks are still talking about the recent Royal Wedding, I decided to run with it for May!

I originally got this ivory silk uchikake waaaaay back when I first started collecting. I had no intention of buying one, but a professor in the college IT lab where I was working overheard me talking to a co-worker about my collection and asked if I’d be interested in buying a piece that’d he brought home from Japan as a souvenir years earlier. I said I’d take a look, but I’ll be honest, I was fully expecting some satiny tourist robe. So imagine my shock when he showed up lugging a gorgeous warm ivory uchikake in a trash bag! Of course I had to rescue it, and he accepted my ridiculously low offer.

Fast-forward to earlier this year when I stumbled across an astonishingly inexpensive ($18) ivory shiromuku furisode on Ichiroya. Since neither piece was pure white, I expected a close coordination but not an exact match, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered they’re spot-on perfect.

The rest of the accessories kind of fell into place after that. I love the look of beaded obijime, and found a white one on the cheap. The hakoseko set was also a bargain and happens to tie my silver zori into the outfit really nicely too. I don’t usually include footwear in these outfits, but with a wedding set it’s really Go Big or Go Home, right?

Technically, I should have used one of my off-white fukuro obi, but I couldn’t get over how well the hakata coordinated. And I’m firmly of the mindset that hakata ori goes with everything. Since this isn’t actually being worn to a wedding (unless my mannequin’s hiding something from me…) I figured I had a little more leeway. It’s also not unheard of now for brides to add a little more personal and non-traditional touches to their outfits. I love this look with extra lace and a lovely hat instead of the traditional white tsuno-kakushi hood, for example. Since I’d veered off-track with the obi already, I couldn’t resist using my silvery-white beaded obijime as well. This also makes the fact that I’ve yet to find an ivory kakae obi (the narrow, stiff band worn below the regular obi) a little easier to overlook, honestly.

Bonus: For those of you who  miss my furry little interlopers, they’re still around, they just tend to ignore the mannequin. Tribble decided to show up today though!

Items used in this coordination