Valentine Redux

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating with a partner, family, friends, a beloved pet, or just loving yourself today, I hope you’re having a great day.

I wanted to do yet another obnoxiously girly coordinate and was inspired by my previous Valentine’s Day colour combo but wanted to add a bit more flair. I’d also been itching to do a more kimono-hime style outfit.

Lately there’s been a lovely trend of slightly exposing juban with really sweet pleated chiffon hems, and while I don’t own one of those (yet), this textured while skirt with lace accents worked a charm. I also used one of the skirt’s tiers to fake extra sleeve layers, and love how they look. Especially now that the mannequin has arms!

I also re-used a lot of the lace I’d initially bought for the Princess Tiana coordination, and I think it pops so well against the black kimono. The pink lace shawl has a very similar texture and ties in to the obi perfectly, as well as echoing the layered pink and white collars I used. A shiny silver and pink brooch used as an obidome completes the look. This outfit is still sweet and romantic, but I think that with the black base it feels a little edgier, and I love that.

Items used in this coordination

Hope for the New Year

To say that 2018 has been a wreck would be a bit of an understatement. Ecological, financial, moral and political instability across the globe. And on a smaller, more personal scale, the loss of more beautiful lives than I wish to tally up. The one that hit me the hardest, by far, happened only yesterday and is still painful and raw.

A friend and bright shining light in the lives of so many people lost their life to incredibly aggressive cancer yesterday. The diagnosis was less than a month ago, and now only a few days before Christmas they’ve left behind a husband and two children. It happened way too fast, to someone way too young and vibrant.

Of course, I did my best to deal with it the way I usually do, by distracting myself with kitsuke. I thought it would be a good time to throw myself into something somewhat productive and decided to make a new year’s inspired outfit because I am more than ready for 2019 to get here and wash away all the pain 2018 brought with it.

This kimono was only the second or third I ever bought, and I don’t bring it out often enough. My initial plan was to do a proper kurotome-style kitsuke, featuring only white and metallic, but you all know I can’t leave well enough alone. I remembered this silver and white obi has tiny pink-peach accents that echo the peachy ume in the hem design, so I ran with it. Eagle-eyed readers might notice I’m using the exact same haneri and obiage as the last coordination, but they worked so perfectly I couldn’t resist. I do love that this has such wintery motifs of ume and pine, and despite clearly being a wedding rental piece it works quite well for the season. In retrospect, I should have found a way to include some bamboo so I would have the sho-chiku-bai (three friends of winter) motif often used at New Year’s. Oh well.

As the year comes to a close, I’d just like to take a moment to wish you all the best possible upcoming new year. And remind you that life is short and precious and beautiful, so please be sure to tell someone you love them and hug them tightly today because you may not get another chance. ❤️

Items used in this coordination

Fudangi First Friday – Flirty Florals

I’ve been pretty terrible at keeping up with my Fudangi First Friday project, but since this is the last one of the year I figured I had to make an effort! This gorgeous raspberry red hakata obi is one I got from Kimono Yuki back during the summer and hadn’t gotten around to coordinating yet. I love how rich the colour is, and it’s also super long, I can’t wait to wear it myself!

The obi is one of those strange colours that’s super bold and vivid but still manages to fall into the neutral category, at least when it comes to kimono. So I knew I could pair it up with almost anything. I haven’t done much with this multi-season komon recently but thought it could work and make a sort of sweet, feminine outfit that still felt a little mature due to the black base and richer tone of the obi.

I’d also never gotten the opportunity to use this adorable owl haneri. It matched some of the pinks in the kimono so perfectly, I’m very glad I thought of it. The finishing touch was a peach and white obijime that again ties in to some of the accent colours on the kimono. It was feeling a little drab against the obi, somehow, so I thought tying it in a cute bow would help balance things out a little better.

As much as I’ve loved doing the Fudangi First Friday project (and the MonoKimono challenge), I’m pretty sure that in 2019 I’m not going to commit to any challenge or project where I have to do something at a fixed and repeated time. I’ve just got too much going on. I hate feeling like I’ve failed and I don’t need that sort of stress going forward.

Today’s post was apparently brought to you by the letter F.

Items used in this coordination

 

#MonoKimono Challenge – Black Mofuku

One of the few traditionally monochrome kimono coordinations would be mofuku, or mourning clothes. I debated whether or not to do this outfit, but in the end I figured it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate something I’d never really have another opportunity to show, and it felt right for this time of year. It’s clearly not appropriate for everyday wear but it’s definitely interesting.

Mofuku kimono are always flat black silk with five crests. There will never be any noticeable texture or rinzu patterning on the kimono. However, obi will occasionally have a subtle woven design like this one does. Obiage and obijime should also be black, while undergarments (juban, haneri, tabi) will always be plain white. You really can’t get much more monochrome than that.

People further from the deceased can wear iromuji in dusty, subtle colour like greys, steel blues, and lavenders, and keep to black accessories, and as the mourning period progresses more colour can be injected into the coordinations.

While I typically like to inject my own flair and personality into nearly every outfit I put together, I felt that doing anything “out of the ordinary” here would be disrespectful, even if it is just on a mannequin. This sort of coordination means something, and it’s not my place to change that.

There’s still two more Yokai outfits to come before the end of the month, so we’ll be getting back to those tomorrow.

Items used in this coordination

Kitsune – Yokai Halloween 2018

The Kitsune is quite possibly the most well-known Yokai. Not only are foxes representative of tricksters in so many cultures and traditions around the world, the kitsune figure appears in so much Japanese media that nearly everyone has, at the very least, a passing familiarity with them.

Kitsune are neither inherently good nor evil – there are so many stories and so many variations. There are helpful ones, vengeful ones, playful ones, and ones who punish the wicked, to name a few. I didn’t have one particular variant in mind when I decided to feature this particular yokai, because it’s impossible to choose. I’d like to think she’s more friendly and playful than outright malicious though.

Since kitsune are so varied, I knew I had a lot of creative liberty for this particular outfit. I decided to go with the first kimono and obi I ever purchased, because this particular kimono feels so quintessentially Japanese to me. The bright red colour and iconic white chrysanthemums pop, and the kitsune mask I painted plays off them so well. The finishing touches were a lovely furry tail and ears. Initially I wanted to put the tail at the hem of the kimono but it’s not very large and got a little bit lost, so I put it below the obi instead, and think it looks very cute there.

And just because I’m really proud of how it turned out, especially considering I freehand painted the whole thing, here’s a close-up of the mask.

Items used in this coordination