Over Hills and Mountains

One of the best ways to bring back flagging or missing motivation is a new piece. I saw this gorgeous 53 Stations of the Tokaido obi in the extra clearance section over at Ichiroya just over a month ago. It had been marked down to $16, and I couldn’t resist. It arrived earlier this week and I knew I wanted to do something with it.

I decided to combine the soft, painted quality of the obi with a bolder, woven design on the kimono. They’re both landscapes with mountains, but the different techniques complement each other wonderfully. The obi has gorgeous, soft dusty decoration and I pulled out the sort of raspberry/burgundy colours with the accessories. A green obijime echoes the kimono, and an agate obidome in the same reddish tones was the perfect finishing touch.

To prepare for my upcoming presentations at Costume-Con 38, I also used this as an occasion to practice doing kitsuke while explaining what I was doing. My poor father was subjected to my “lecture”, and he was a good sport about it.  😛

Since this obi is so new, I don’t have proper close-up photo of it yet, but that’s coming! I need to catalogue a lot of new stuff sometime soon. It’s just a bit overwhelming.

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I’m back!

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your patience, support, and faith in me. It’s been a very long few months. As you may know, my bedroom flooded a few months back. Mercifully, my kimono are stored in a separate room upstairs, so they were safe. But my life got turned quite upside-down while my room was being renovated and restored. Then the holidays hit, and as I’ve mentioned before, I work in a toy store so things get very hectic around then. To top things all off, I somehow forgot to put my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication in my pill organiser at the end of December. If anyone’s gone off anti-depressants cold turkey, you know how rough it can be. I did that without even realising what I’d done wrong, so January was a very, very hard month for me.

Thankfully, that’s all behind me now. My room is complete, work has definitely quieted down, and my medication is stable again. I knew it was time to get back into the swing of things and start blogging properly again.

I received this gorgeous kimono as a birthday gift from Sophie back in November, and I think it was the perfect piece to use to celebrate my return. I love the variety of colour and pattern, and I’m always a sucker for black-based kimono that aren’t kurotomesode. It came with the red date-eri already attached, so using more red accessories was a no-brainer. I felt that the orange and gold obi had a similar showa-fabulous vibe, and the colours are very harmonious. It’s not a risky or adventurous coordination by any means, but it works well.

Honestly, I was worried I’d be rusty and out of practice, but kitsuke really is like riding a bicycle. After a few minutes, the muscle memory just takes over.

I also have some exciting news to share. Costume-Con 38 is taking place here in Montreal next month and I will be doing three panels; two kimono dressing workshops and one lecture on the history and evolution of kimono. If you’ll be attending, I’d love to see you!

Thank you again if you’ve stuck around during my little break, I really do appreciate the support. <3

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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.

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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 😉

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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.

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