Soft spring outfit

So my health is still a bit wobbly and on top of everything else I have a terrible cold, but I’d been itching to attempt the kamifusen (paper balloon) musubi and figured this sweet pussy-willow unlined komon I bought in NYC a few years back would be a great way to coordinate a pretty little casual spring ensemble.

I followed this great tutorial from Bangasa Kimono on youtube. Because the obi I chose to work with is incredibly slippery I ended up needing a hand from my eternally patient father, but we got it looking adorable in the end. Because the obi is quite long, the “bow” portion under the “balloon” portion ended up very wide, which I think makes it even cuter! I also love the pink and blue willow buds on the kimono, and chose to accent them with pink and blue in the accessories. I know I use this blue and pink haneri an awful lot, but it just works so well with so many of my coordinations! The obijime is pale pink on the solid side and blue, brown, and white on the other. I’d forgotten than I had it, but I don’t think I could have found a better one to tie all the colours in the outfit together.

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Purple Rain

This year is shaping up to be a doozy when it comes to celebrity deaths. When I heard about Prince’s passing, I remembered how cathartic making a coordination in Bowie’s memory was that I figured I would fight through my current health issues and see what I could do. Of course, being in honour of Prince, I had to start with purple. I decided to do a monochrome outfit with a bit of flash and flair. Purple hakama, purple and silver lamé komon, purple shibori haneri, and even the obi (despite nearly being hidden) is entirely purple. I’m not used to monochrome kitsuke, but I have to say, I really like it. It’s a very effective way to showcase patterns and textures, and I think I’m going to attempt it more often.

Now, 2016, do you think you could lay off on taking musical icons from us for a few months? That would be great, thanks. As much as these memorial coordinations help me cope, I’d be perfectly happy not doing another one for a long time.

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Geisha Style Coordination

It seems like I’ve developed a pattern when it comes to dressing Tsukiko; alternating experimental or non-standard kitsuke with very traditional coordinations. I’d been wanting to do something with the gorgeous geisha hikizuri that Naomi and Erica gave me years ago. The obi is a Taisho-era chuuya from the big obi bundle several of us split a while back. It’s absolutely stunning, but it’s in very fragile shape – the black silk used to line these obi tends to rot much more rapidly than the silk on the front. I repaired one with similar damage a while ago, but I haven’t had the chance to do it to this one yet. Because of this, I wasn’t comfortable wearing it myself, but mannequin kitsuke tends to be a lot more forgiving. I absolutely love how they look together, so soft and desaturated and elegant. I don’t own a momi, so I used a red shigoki obi and obiage to replicate the pop of red under the obi, and pulled out a vintage red juban with a heavily textured collar already attached. I’d initially wanted to tie the obi in yanagi musubi, which is common for performing geisha, but because the obi is so delicate I figured it would be safer to stick with something I know how to tie quickly and easily, so I defaulted to a standard otaiko musubi instead. I think it still looks quite good.

I do wish I could leave this outfit up as a display, but between the fragility of the obi and the cats being fascinated by the trailing hem (and discovering that it makes a spectacular tent), it’s going to to have to be put away quite soon.

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To the memory of Opaline Rose

Yesterday, the Immortal Geisha facebook group was informed of the untimely loss of one of our own. While I was not exceptionally close to her, Opaline Rose was a bright light in the online kimono community. She was also incredibly well-loved in the lolita fashion community, and had a wonderful knack for mixing the two styles and creating something vibrant and original. She always had an encouraging word for anyone trying something new, for anyone uncertain of themselves. I’m shocked and saddened by her passing, as are many other people.

In an attempt to deal with my feelings, I tried to honour her memory with an attempt at wa-lolita, which is the name for a style that melds traditional kimono and modern lolita fashion. Opaline often combined kofurisode with feminine skirts and petticoats to great success. While I’m not sure I accomplished the look, I’d like to think if she’d seen this she would have appreciated it.

À la famille de Marie (Opaline), je vous offre mes sincères condoléances. Elle menait de la joie et la lumière a tous ceux et celles qu’elle touchait.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I won this gorgeous green irotomesode on eBay a few weeks back. It’s so lush and gorgeous; soft old silk with a vivid red lining and a mirrored hem design that puts it in the late Meiji or early Taisho era. I knew it would be too small for me to ever wear, even if I manage to lose weight, but I had to have it!

It arrived in the mail on Tuesday, along with a cute little coordinating obijime. Unfortunately, the flu from hell also arrived on Tuesday. I barely made it through the day at work, went to bed less than an hour after getting home, and promptly spent nearly 22 hours asleep. I’m still not feeling well, but I figured since it was St. Patrick’s Day and the kimono is such a beautiful and vibrant kelly green that I had to muddle through and make an outfit with it.

I chose to emphasize the fresh spring feel of the green with pastel accessories and this lovely tachibana fukuro obi from the obi bundle a few of us splurged on years ago. The obi is adorable but badly stained, so not particularly ideal for wearing out, but I was able to put it on Tsukiko in a way that hides the worst of the discolourations. I really love how this outfit looks together.

Items used in this coordination