Y is for Yabane

Yabane, 矢羽, Arrow fletching

Yabane (also yagasuri for the small, tightly-repeating variation) and hakata; two of my favourite things together! I love all depictions of yabane, but particularly these big, semi-random depictions that were so beloved in the Taisho and early Showa eras really get to me. I’ve loved this kimono ever since I first bought it back in Boulder, Colorado. It’s an odd fabric, it feels like a mix of silk and cotton. It’s very light and breezy, despite being lined, and is smoother than cotton but has a lovely grip that makes it a pleasure to put on. However, I still can’t believe I ever wore this comfortably though. It’s so tiny!

I’m glad I had an opportunity to use this dusty rose-pink hakata nagoya obi. It’s really subdued but the texture of it makes it feel so lush. I couldn’t resist using my spider haneri which is a near-perfect match to the obi. Also, you guys, I’m so proud of myself. I did an ensemble with yellow accents and didn’t use that lemon-yellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime I use all the time. Will wonders never cease? I did use a yellow obiage, but a much more subdued one. The obijime was a better choice in theory than in practice I think, but it’s not terrible. I just know I can do better next time. XD

Items used in this coordination

X is for X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot
Expression regarding the target on maps

Whoof, this was a challenge. Not only are there no Japanese words starting with X, there aren’t really many in English either! I certainly don’t have any items with a xylophone or a xerox machine… My friend suggested “x-rated” and I did debate doing a post on erotic woodblock prints for a hot minute, but I’d rather keep this blog family-friendly!

So what was I to do? I racked my brain until I remembered this kimono I have with a vaguely x-shaped meisen design. It’s lovely, and I don’t use it nearly often enough in coordinations, so I figured what better time to feature it than today’s post?

I kept the rest of the outfit fairly simple and desaturated. The obi is pale enough that it contrasts nicely against the kimono but is definitely not the focal point. All the attention stays on the kimono. I pulled out accessories in soft tones from the obi to keep things subdued. Today’s outfit might be a bit of a stretch, but I think I pulled it off in the end. I’m happy with how it looks, even if it does only barely relate to the challenge.

Items used in this coordination

V is for Vivid

Vivid, intensely deep or bright colour

We’ve reached another one of those super-fun letters that essentially don’t exist in Japanese. Like the L and Q posts, I knew I had to run with an English word and what better word than Vivid? Or possibly vibrant!

Taisho and early Showa era kimono are absolutely some of my favourites, due in no small part to the vivid, bold colour choices brought about by the advent of synthetic dyes. Prior to the 1910s, kimono colours tended to veer to the gentle, subdued, and either pastel or very dark tones thanks to natural dyes. With the introduction of synthetics, colours went pretty crazy.

I went with my beloved turquoise irotomesode with tachibana, since I didn’t get to use it last week. And heck, compare the colour story of that entry to this one, and you’ll get a really good sense of what I mean by vivid!

My initial plan was to use a vintage mustard-yellow floral obi but it just wasn’t bright enough. Then I remembered this gorgeous modern piece with the moorish arches that are a spot-on complement to the kimono. This obi was a gift and to this day I still don’t know who sent it to me! Next up was this gorgeously eye-searing meisen haori. Doesn’t get more vivid than this piece, when it comes to my wardobe. And to bring in the hit of yellow to echo the yellow accents in both the kimono I ended up using my yellow obiage and obijime again. This is starting to feel like a running gag, but they really do match just about everything!  Honestly these photos don’t even do this ensemble justice. One day I’d love to see this coordination on a person, but this kimono will never fit me so I’ll have to find a willing model.

Items used in this coordination

T is for Tachibana

Tachibana, 橘, mandarin orange

I somehow didn’t realise how many tachibana items I have in my collection until just now! It makes sense though, it’s a motif I love. I have lots of kimono I could have used for today’s coordination, but I thought I’d give this obi some love instead. It’s not in the best shape, but it’s so soft and sweet that I’m able to look past the smudges.

It’s a fukuro obi, so arguably too formal for this komon, but because it’s got an evenly-spread all-over woven pattern with no metallic and no embroidery it reads as very casual to me. On first glance, I think most people would assume it was a nagoya obi.

I decided to keep things very soft and genteel with this muted kimono. The peach accessories were already out from a previous coord (and my utter inability to put things away when I’m done using them), but I realised that not only does the peach look lovely, but the obiage actually has a motif of tachibana as well!

I’m not sure this outfit really features and focuses on tachibana but I do like how it turned out nonetheless.

Items used in this coordination

R is for Rinzu

Rinzu, 綸子, silk damask

Rinzu is like jacquard, a beautiful tone-on-tone pattern achieved by weaving techniques only. No dye, no paint, just right off the loom with a rich, beautiful depth.

I have lots of pieces in my collection that have a rinzu base, but none of them show off and exemplify them quite as gorgeously as this vintage purple iromuji given to me by a friend. I decided to do an entire outfit (or as much as possible) using only solid pieces with bold rinzu fabric.

Aside from the utterly lush purple kimono, I used the mofuku obi I painted a while back, since you can still see the lovely water pattern in the black fabric. The obiage is a soft pink that ties in well with the obi, with a rinzu design of sakura and geometric lines. I tied it in a little bow for more sweetness and softness. I’m honestly not sure if the haneri counts as rinzu, the weave is much more textured and raised than anything else I own. But the design is woven, not painted or embroidered, so I ran with it. As for the obijime, the only rinzu one I own is an all-black mofuku piece, which felt too heavy against the black obi so I just went with a soft pink round braid.

The outfit is quite simple, but I think it does a fantastic job of showing off all the gorgeous woven design and texture that is rinzu silk!

Items used in this coordination