Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

As much as people love to mock the trend of pumpkin spice everything, there’s a reason it’s so popular. It’s comforting and familiar and warming, and utterly perfect for this time of year. So when this kimono arrived in the mail, I knew I had to do an orangey-peach monochrome look with it, despite the orchid motifs being quite out of season.

The kimono is stunning; big blousy cattleya orchids in white and all shades of orange. They’re outlined in black in such a way that they feel like ink drawings. I don’t have a single other kimono painted in quite this style, and I freaking love it. I paired it up with the orange and white hakata side of one of my favourite chuuya obi, some peach accessories, and a new obidome I got recently. It’s a little ivory phoenix, and I love the final little punch of white it adds to the whole ensemble. I didn’t use a decorative haneri because I liked how the plain white echoed the big white orchids of the kimono. Overall, I’m really really happy with how this one turned out.

If these photos look a little off to you, I apologise. Firstly, my camera was giving me grief and I ended up taking these with my phone, and on top of that, the peach base colour of the kimono is nearly impossible to capture properly. I tried to do my best to balance everything but in reality the peach is more vibrant and the obi is much more orange, almost carrot-like and a perfect match to the orange in the kimono’s designs.

Three of the items in this coord haven’t had catalogue photos taken yet so the little item gallery is MIA for now. As soon as I can get around to cataloguing them I’ll update this entry!

Back to Basics

I’ve been doing a lot of fancy and non-traditional kitsuke lately, and was itching to get back to kimono basics, if you will. Just an elegant, simple coordination. No fuss, no muss. I also realised I’ve been sticking to more Western colour coordinations, doing things that look “right” in my head and not necessarily keeping kimono colour rules in mind.

With that at the forefront of my mind, I decided it was high time I coordinate this beautiful pale pink nagoya obi I got earlier this summer. My original instinct was to stick with pastels, but I pushed through and paired it with this rich blue houmongi instead. I love the contrast, and the soft genteel obi pairs so well with the very delicate shading on the botan of the kimono. Red and blue accessories helped pull it all together cohesively.

My next thought for this obi is a black-based kimono. I really love how it pops against darker, richer colours. It’s technically not formal enough for kurotomesode, but because it’s got a metallic pearly-silver sheen to it, I think I can make it work! Maybe I should do that next week. Less folding to do if I use the same obi two outfits in a row 😉

Items used in this coordination

Bridal Redux

Bridal kitsuke is probably the most complex and exhausting of all standard forms of kitsuke. I’ve done it on the mannequin a few times before, but always having to improvise a little. I’ve done  fully coloured ensemble and an all-white ensemble, but when I found this red and gold accessory set for a fantastic price, I knew I wanted to do the transitional style often done for a reception. I paired the bold accessories with my flamboyant and loud uchikake but kept the demure subtle white kimono and obi. I think this is actually my favourite type of bridal ensemble.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of wrapping hikizuri-style kimono to get that lovely x-shaped drape of the hem. It’s not perfect, but I can see definite improvement every time I attempt it. The collar’s pretty mangled, but let’s not speak of that… Because this is my first real, full set of accessories, including a proper-sized bira and an actual kakae-obi, I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of detail shots. I hope you enjoy them!

It’s very satisfying to see the whole thing put together like this. Maybe one day someone will let me dress them up in the whole ensemble.

Tsubaki Aoi Kitsuplay

Typically, when I do character-inspired kimono coordinations or kitsuke-cosplay (kitsuplay), it’s an adaptation; a translation of what the character might look like in an alternate reality. Today though, I was able to pretty much exactly reproduce a character’s outfit!

I recently watched a charming anime called Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (かくりよの宿飯, Bed & Breakfast for Spirits) and imagine how excited I was when Tsubaki Aoi, the protagonist, changed into this green iromuji and purple obi, and pretty much stayed in this outfit for the bulk of the series!

I already owned every single piece here. The kimono looks more yellow in these photos than it actually is; in real life it’s almost identical to hers. The only thing I had to do was tie the obi with the back side visible to hide the embroidered design, since her obi is plain purple. The only thing I initially didn’t have was her leaf fan, a gift from a very important character in the show. I’d actually been holding off, trying to look for a synthetic tropical leaf when my mum brought home a bunch of flowers that just happened to have a real, fresh one! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and changed the mannequin right away.

I really loved doing this, and I think I’ll be working on another Anime with Kimono Eye-Candy post in the near future, so I can look for more outfits to reproduce.

Items used in this coordination

A Prayer for the Amazon

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Amazon is burning. This is an unprecedented tragedy of incomprehensible proportions. Indigenous peoples and native animal species are dying, and what is essentially the lungs of our planet is shrinking dramatically every day.

I know it doesn’t make a lick of difference, but kitsuke makes me feel better in overwhelming times like this. I’ve done it when people I’ve admired have passed away, and I did it when Notre Dame burnt and that didn’t have nearly the global significance these fires are having.

Green would have been the obvious choice, and my initial instinct; but then I thought of the lush, gorgeous foliage on my basho-leaf houmongi. I went with more bright pinks and then a green-leaning turquoise because it feels joyous and hopeful, something we all desperately need right now.

If, like me, you’re feeling scared and helpless and looking for a way to help, I urge you to consider donating to one of the charities working on the ground in the Amazon. After some research and checking with the Charity Navigator, I feel comfortable suggesting any of the following groups. If you know of any other reliable charities, or have information that these may not be ideal to donate to, please leave a comment.

Items used in this coordination