This is Hallowe’en, everybody make a scene!

I was invited to a party on October 30th this year, and I figured it was high time I broke out my Gothic Landscape houmongi. I’d originally wanted to wear it with my crow obi but I still haven’t had the opportunity to repair it. Oops! I figured in the spirit of all things Creepy and Spooky, I’d see about pairing it up with my spider obi instead. I’ve been hesitant about this combo since the kimono and the obi are so close in colour, but my salvation arrived in the mail on the Thursday before the party, in a boxful of shigoki obi. A splash of red was the perfect way to visually separate the two pieces as well as tie in the leaves on the obi. It also helped that one of the shigoki had tassels in the exact same shade as the glorious spiderweb haneri from Naomi.

I decided to further emphasize the spooky theme of the ensemble with accessories – I made myself a cute little hairband with black feathers, a raggedy purple “veil” and a sparkly little spider. I used some of the same tulle from the veil to make a big puffy bow to stick in my obi. Unfortunately, I spent nearly two hours in the car before I was able to get these photos, so my obi musubi has gotten sort of squished and lopsided 🙁

Having fun (after a few drinks) with some of the awesome decorations.

A close up of the amazing spider haneri

I even did my nails to suit the theme. Orange with black spiders and rhinestones! Again, I had fun wit the decorations for this pic

The party was a huge blast. Unfortunately, I had to get out of the kimono around 2 in the morning. I’d been drinking and going to the bathroom was starting to become a challenge! It also started snowing pretty profusely that night and I was worried about ruining my kimono on the way home.

Gothic Landscape Houmongi

Every so often, you come across a piece that you know you’re just meant to have. Sometimes it’s immediate, and you splurge and buy it. Sometimes you’re not that lucky, and you miss the opportunity. Take solace in the knowledge that eventually, it will find its way back to you.

This curious piece came up for sale, and at the time I didn’t have the money for it. It was purchased by a member of the Immortal Geisha forums, and I happily admired it from a distance, when she posted photos of herself wearing it. Time passed, and she got engaged, and sadly had to sell parts of her collection to fund the wedding. This time, I was ready. I swooped in like a bat in the night (can you tell the mood of the kimono is rubbing off on me? Either that, or the fact that I am currently watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold while writing this) and snapped it up when she put it up for sale.

Damn, was it ever worth the wait. I am fascinated by this kimono. It’s got swirly wrought iron gas lamps, Victorian-style buildings, and what appear to be a series of small grave markers. It reminds me of London in the late nineteenth century.

I wonder if the artist who designed and painted this piece had the same scenes in mind – and if so, what possessed them to make such an odd and unexpected kimono? If not, what were they trying to evoke with this piece, and what would I see if my Western-minded bias were not getting in the way?

Sadly, I’ve not had the opportunity to wear this yet. The woman I bought it from bundled it with a funky shimmery blue-green obi that has a pattern reminiscent of paving stones, and they coordinate very well, but I can’t help think this kimono would look particularly amazing with my equally weird blackbird obi. Crows flying over London, surveying their territory. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the obi re-lined soon, and be able to put together an outfit that does both pieces justice.

Cream Temple and Mountain Houmongi

No bad puns today, nothing remotely good was coming to mind. You can thank me later. 😉

I bought this one on a whim. The listing showed a few serious stains, but they’re all on the inside panel and are hidden when it’s worn. Also, because of the stains, I got it for a steal. It’s a little small on me (story of my life), but it’s so detailed and beautiful that I don’t mind.

It’s got a gorgeous temple and mountain design, with water around the hem, and flowers, glorious flowers! Every time I look, I find something new and interesting. So far I’ve found multitudinous grasses, plum, chrysanthemum, iris, pines, peonies, bamboo, pawlonia, maple.. well, you get the point!

I paired it up with an equally festive and floral orange nagoya obi, and blue and green accessories to bring out the water around the hem. Also, say hi to my kitty, Tribble. She also wears white tabi!

Since I no longer own this kimono, there is no catalogue photo of it, unfortunately.

Items used in this coordination

Black Taisho bridal furisode

This is probably one of the jewels of my collection; a black-based, five crested bridal hikizuri. The hem is padded but it is too short for me to wear trailing, so I wear it as a normal furisode. I came across it on eBay and couldn’t bear to risk getting involved in a bidding war. Thankfully there was a reasonable Buy It Now option so I just went for it.

It’s not in the best condition, some of the gold couching is coming off and one of the sleeves was a bit detached when it arrived, but it doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the piece. I have fixed the sleeve, and am looking for someone who can fix the couching. The embroidery and details on it are breathtaking. I have never seen such lush, textured needlework before.

I chose to pair it up with a green and gold hakata obi and orange and green accessories. I love this outfit. It’s a shame I do not feel comfortable wearing such an old and delicate piece out, nor do I have anywhere formal enough for it to be appropriate.

Items used in this coordination