Vintage Irotomesode-komon hybrid

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When I saw the listing for this item, I fell hard and fast in love. The late Meiji/Early Taisho style designs around the hem looked so soft and gorgeous, the varied-width stripe rinzu silk was awesome, and I found the small scattered pattern combined with the hem design really unique. I was expecting people to fight for it, but somehow it slipped under the radar and I got it for a great price.

It’s quite small, but I expected that. I will be able to wear it for photos but I don’t think I’ll be comfortable wearing it out of the house, sadly. However, as a conversation piece it’s pretty priceless. Nowadays kimono fall staunchly into very specific categories ranging from informal komon with all-over patterns to very formal tomesode with designs only below the knees, usually with a crest. This one somehow manages to be both. Before World War II, kimono were worn much more frequently and it was more common to see ones that blurred or outright crossed these formality lines, but I’d never seen one that was a combination of such blatantly different designs.

Another interesting aspect of it is that the motifs (peony, narcissus, and nandina) are very Spring season-specific. It’s a formal crested kimono, generally these tend to have more celebratory or all-season motifs, to prevent the need from owning too many. Anyone who could afford to have a formal, crested kimono that could only be worn for a month (possibly two) out of the year clearly had an appreciation for the finer things in life, and the finances to back that up.

The auction listing showed this as a standard indigo blue, so I was more than a little confused when I opened the package and a purple kimono fell out. I saw the rinzu stripes and the little leaves and knew it was the right item, but it’s a completely different colour. I don’t mind at all though – I’ve wanted a dark purple kimono for a very long time but they usually go for much higher prices. The yuzen work on the hem is also even more soft and delicate than the auction pictures had led me to believe. It’s a gorgeous piece, and my only complaint is that I like it even more than I thought I would so I am sad that it doesn’t fit me very well.

Irotomeosode-Komon Hybrid

Irotomeosode-Komon Hybrid

Two Black Pente Haori

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I found the two of these as Buy It Now listings from the same seller, waffled between the two for a bit, and finally figured I could save on shipping by getting both. I did not realize from the listings that they were pente (a form of painting on the silk, usually with acrylic), I thought they were modern heat-transferred synthetic. I’m really happy though – I like it when things turn out better than I anticipated.

The first one has a bold design of maple-shaped inserts on geometric designs, and the second one is a more subtle but beautifully painted series of multi-seasonal flowers, and it also has a crossed hawk-feather crest. They both have soft white linings and pretty white and gold himo. They will be great versatile dressy haori, and much more appropriate for dressing older people than most of the ones I currently own. XD

Black graphic haori

Black graphic haori

Black flower haori

Black flower haori detail

Bowling and shenanigans in Kimono

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Ever since seeing this photo of a maiko bowling in full regalia, I have been dying to go bowling in kimono myself. It looks adorable, and I wanted to prove that there’s no reason you need to be stuffy and “fixed”, especially in casual kimono. After the devastating Tohoku Quake, the Montreal Japanese Cultural Center has been arranging a lot of fundraisers and they announced there’d be a bowling event with proceeds going to the Red Cross. I figured it would be the perfect opportunity.

Amelie and I arranged to meet there, but unfortunately due to ridiculous road work she was a bit late, so I went in and played around a bit. The reactions to my kimono were all really positive and encouraging, lots of “sutekii!” and “sugoiii!”. It made me feel a lot less self-conscious about being there by myself. A lot of women asked where I’d learned to dress myself, and seemed very shocked when I explained it was all self-taught. A few of them sort of seemed wistful that they didn’t know themselves, but I encouraged them to check out some books and websites. I really hope they consider it!

A few lovely women were running an origami table and they taught me how to make a crane and a heart. They were so sweet! I have a LOT of photos to share here, so I’m inserting smaller ones than usual. Please click on them to see the larger versions 🙂
Amelie arrived while I was with them and we finished up and went to the part you’re all waiting for… the bowling! And no, these pics are not a setup. We really truly did play a full ten-round set to completion, entirely in kimono. I wore my black and red wool outfit that Amelie gave me along with a red hanhaba and my car obidome. I knew I’d be wearing bowling shoes, so I wore ridiculous red and black striped socks. Amelie wore a really pretty komon and orange hakata, and also had fun with rainbow striped socks. We didn’t plan it, I swear!

 

 

Even the ugly bowling shoes look better when they’re paired with kimono and fun socks!

After our bowling game, we were feeling really hungry so we headed out for dinner. While walking to the car, we walked by Kazu Izakaya, a restaurant with Japanese-style pub food, and I remembered I’d heard really amazing reviews but hadn’t managed to go because the restaurant is always totally full and there’s always a huuuuuge lineup. We passed by just before it was getting to open, so we seized the opportunity. The food was amazing. I know I don’t normally go into detail about the restaurants I eat at, but I cannot say enough good things about the food here. The gyoza were deliciously flavourful with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The tofu was made in-store and creamy, soft, and delicious. The okonomiyaki was crispy and moist at the same time, the sauces were perfect. Even the simple dessert of ice cream with earl grey tea powder was rich and tasty. I cannot say enough good things about this place! The food was as beautiful as it was delicious, and the staff were all incredibly friendly. We sat at the counter and watched the chefs, and it was definitely the right place to sit!

After all that food, we were feeling a little bloated and tired, so we headed back to my place. We headed to the park near me in the hopes of taking pictures on the swings, inspired by Naomi’s awesome photoset. I was quite dismayed to find out that they’d removed the swings for the winter, but that didn’t stop us from horsing around on the other park equipment! We also managed to take some mildly respectable-looking photos. Shock and awe!

 

Items used in this coordination

Art Gallery – Adorable kimono artwork!

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I spend a lot of time on an internet community called Gaia Online, and I’ve met many incredibly talented artists there. I mostly collect artwork of my little avatar on the site, but every so often I find an artist whose style and skill urge me to ask them to do something a little more exciting, and I commission them to draw me in kimono. I thought it might be fun to share some of them.

Today’s is an incredibly cute and fun watercolour by Abbakus. I think her art style worked really well with the graphic vintage feel of the outfit that I wore to ToyCon October 2010! She was a total sweetheart to work with, very careful to work with me to make sure all the details were accurate. It’s making me want to wear this ensemble again soon. XD

To see a larger version, you can click the image or click the link to view her DeviantArt gallery.

A few photos

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Not a big update today. As some of you know, one of my other passions is photography. Earlier today I went to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal‘s Japanese crafts show/festival, and I thought I would share some of the photos I took that I am especially fond of.

Japanese Doll

Origami box

And this is a box of wagashi for Hina Matsuri that Kansai_gal sent me a few weeks back. I finally managed to find time to photograph them before I ate them! Cute, and delicious!
Hina Matsuri Wagashi