Steampunk Adventuress

I was so pleased with the end result of using the high-necked Victorian-style blouse under the pink iromuji a few weeks ago, I thought I would try it again! Rather than simply re-hash the outfit with a different kimono, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do a full Steampunk-style ensemble. I purchased this corset recently for a cosplay, but it seemed like the perfect jumping-off point for this outfit. While I use it fairly frequently, this outfit screamed for my Gothic Victorian Landscape houmongi. A ruffly black crinoline and a brown faux-fur stole pulled everything together neatly, and a brooch from Scotland was the perfect finishing touch. I couldn’t be happier with how this one came together. I could totally imagine myself wearing this outfit – with a fabulous hat and knee-high boots – on the front deck of an airship, travelling to Japan to do some more shopping!

Items used in this coordination

They followed me home, I swear.

If you’re an avid collector, it can get to the point where kimono and related items really do just start following you home. As I mentioned in this entry, I came home with a bunch of kimono in my suitcase, despite my best efforts. One of them is a gorgeous Tokaido piece I’d actually purchased on eBay and had shipped to my friend Jamie, due to the postal strike, and it will be getting its own entry. Here are the other two.

Mauve-brown pussywillow komon
Pussywillow Komon

Pussywillow Komon

We were out browsing and shopping in Soho and Jamie started getting amusingly evasive and vague about our next destination. I was so touched when we ended up at Kiteya, a beautiful gem of a shop. The front of the store is filled with wonderful Japanese handicrafts, jewelry, art objects, etc. The back room has two big comfy chairs (which made the rest of our group very happy) and a bunch of kimono (which made me very happy). The service was wonderful, everyone was very friendly and helpful. There were some incredibly gorgeous vintage pieces, but their prices were pretty much gallery-standard, and while they were not unreasonable they’re more than an online bargain-hunter like myself is used to paying, and the only piece I was tempted to justify a big price on (Taisho houmongi with gorgeous peacock design) was just waaaaay too short for me. I was about to give up when I noticed this modern synthetic piece buried under a bunch of other things.

This colour is not only impossible to describe, it was impossible to photograph too. It’s sort of a dusty mauvey brown taupe something I dunno. A pinkish brown, a brownish pink, I’m not sure? But I do know it’s completely adorable. I love pussywillows, they remind me of my grandmother, who always had a bundle in her living room. The ones on here are very adorable too, in soft springy shades of pink and blue. It’s a nice versatile spring kimono, and I look forward to wearing it. I needed more wearable, unlined pieces anyway.

Black tsukesage-komon with diamond fan design
Black fan tsukesage-komon

Black fan tsukesage-komon

This is kind of a funky oddity – it’s a half lined komon but arranged in very specific stripes, there’s even a seam across the hips to help ensure the pattern falls properly. I actually won this awesome piece in a raffle at the street fair mentioned a few entries back, and it’s not only unique and quirky, but it fits me really well. It’s so awesome. It’s half-lined in bright red, but the top is unlined which will help keep it airy and breathable. I also love how the design from afar just looks like little diamonds, but up close they’re actually fans. It’s so charming.

Why being my friend is dangerous, the sequel!

My dear friend Elise (whom I have known since kindergarten!) was back in town and spent a few days at my house recently, and I forcibly subjected her to kitsuke, as I have done with other friends in the past. I asked if she had a preference for a particular kimono, and she told me she really liked the gothic landscape houmongi, so I decided to just pair it with the obi that it was bundled with when I bought it.

It’s not the most adventurous outfit I’ve ever put together, but it works well and suits her, so I am happy. Her kitsuke is not fabulous, but for such a slim girl, she’s surprisingly curvy (tiiiiny little waist!) and I didn’t want to subject someone who had never worn kimono before to really tight himo and tons of padding, especially not in the murderous heat we’ve been dealing with lately. So everything is a little bit shifty, but since we weren’t actually going anywhere I was not too concerned.

From the Archives – two casual fall outfits

Hello, dear readers! I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately, life has just been kind of hectic. A few weeks ago I went to a comic convention and had grand plans to wear a kimono. Unfortunately, as I was getting ready in the morning I stepped on a metal belt buckle and the hook that holds it closed embedded itself into the bottom of my foot. I’ve been limping around since then in a state of abject misery. Thankfully, it is getting better! I am also going on vacation in a week, so I’ve been trying to hop around getting everything ready for that. Crossing my fingers that my foot will be healed by then!

To fill the lull, I thought I’d share a couple of older fall coordinations I put together a while back. The weather is getting cooler here and the trees are starting to turn, so it seems like a good time for these motifs 🙂

Green komon with swirling water and kiku

Buttery soft sage-green silk with dusty brick-coloured kiku. I really love this kimono, and looking at it here I wonder why I’ve never worn it out. I found this outfit very boring when I first put it on, but in retrospect I think it’s a really nice subdued combination.

Brick-red wool komon

If this outfit doesn’t scream “fall”, I don’t know what does. The kimono is wool, which even feels appropriate texturally. It’s a warm red colour with woven lines in brown, mustardy-yellow, and a few in green and a pale icy blue to balance it out. The obi has a motif of changing maple leaves, which emphasizes the season further.

Hopefully when I get back from my trip my life will settle down a bit and I’ll have more time to dress up and more shinies to share with you all!

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.