Iran So Far

I’m sorry, that was a terrible title. I don’t even like SNL that much but the title of that song got stuck in my head, so there you have it. I’d been itching to dress since I got back from my trip, but I’ve also been itching to wear my gorgeous mosque houmongi for a while now. I thought I’d try it out before the weather got too warm to wear awase (lined kimono), but clearly I mis-judged. I was SO HOT by the time I was finished getting dressed. I also want to apologize to the lovely kimono angel who anonymously sent me the moorish arches obi – I was totally going to wear it as well after I’d photographed it with the one here, but by the time I was done I was so insufferably hot and my cardiac issues were giving me grief, I was unable to. I promise though, I will wear them together at some point!

This kimono is so spectacular that I really wanted the focus all to remain on the hem. In that vein, I decided to go very subtle with all the accessories. I thought the gold obi brought out the desert tones in the hem really well, and I happened to have an obiage on hand that is virtually the exact same colour as the kimono. Finished it off with an off-white haneri with embroidery and a flat gold and green saga-nishiki obijime. I decided to emphasize the theme subtly by using my moon obidome, to honour the Islamic Crescent. I thought it was very appropriate without turning the outfit into an overly thematic costume.

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I also managed to tie one of the best nijuudaiko musubi I’ve ever tied. Unfortunately I somehow also managed to not take a single decent back photo of it XD Oops. I did get a few side views though. Yes, that is a little bow in there – I tied the ends of the obijime in a bow to get them out of the way and thought it looked cute.

Shah Mosque Houmongi

I don’t know if anyone remembers that I made a resolution only to buy really special pieces. Unfortunately, my complete and utter lack of dedication has pretty much thrown that to the wayside, but I am trying to keep an eye out for particularly spectacular items. I blame BikaBika for this, she posted the link to the auction on the Immortal Geisha forums and I knew then and there that I needed to have this item. Thankfully Naomi was there to help me get it through YJA. It finally arrived in the box of stuff I mentioned last Friday, and I was so excited to finally get it so I could see it in person and write about it.

I’ve always been fascinated by architectural motifs on kimono, but I’d never seen one with a mosque on it. In particular, the blue dome and heavy Moorish ornamentation would suggest that this is the Shah Mosque in Iran. The yuzen dye work is absolutely stunning, the whole piece looks like a soft painting but the details up close are breathtaking. The silk is incredibly lush as well, it’s got an interesting nubby texture, almost like shibori but it’s woven into wave-like stripes and not part of the actual visual pattern.

Shah Mosque Kimono

Shah Mosque Kimono

I have several coordinations in mind for this particular kimono, including one using the gorgeous Moorish Arches obi I received as a mystery gift, but also a more subdued modern look. Hopefully I will find the time for one or both of them in the near future.

Geisha-inspired Meta-kimono outfit

I was so smitten with the kimono that arrived yesterday that I decided to put it on today, despite not having anywhere to go. Sometimes it’s nice to wear kimono just for the sake of wearing kimono – especially delicate vintage pieces.

There’s still a bit of ambiguity about what this piece actually is, but the general consensus on the Immortal Geisha forums is that it’s likely a vintage hikizuri. Because of that, I decided to go with a geisha-inspired outfit. Not a full on costume, but proper kimono with a bit of “flair”, if you will. I paired the kimono up with a red juban, a black and white hakata obi, and used a red shigoki obi in lieu of a momi (the red cloth geisha wear wrapped around their torso under the obi). I am really pleased with how this pulled together, and took far more photos than I usually do. Sorry about that!

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Because of the formality, the styling choices, and the age of the kimono, this is not an outfit I’d feel particularly comfortable wearing out of the house, but I think it turned out well and I felt very pretty in it.

Pretty new hanhaba obi

I realized recently that I had no hanhaba obi that were not hakata weave. I told myself I should probably remedy that and then promptly got distracted by bigger and shinier things. Such is life. Thankfully, I stumbled across the listing for this little beauty on eBay with less than a few hours to go, tossed out a bid, and won it for a song. The pictures portrayed it as sort of a flat purple with yellow which seemed cute but not particularly exceptional. Imagine my pleased surprise when I opened the mail to discover a rich, shimmering aubergine with bronze accents and a bronzey-gold back side. I am not sure what I’m going to wear it with yet, but it’s beautiful, multi-seasonal, and dressy enough to wear with more slightly formal kimono. I’m so pleased!

Dressy Hanhaba Obi

Dressy Hanhaba Obi Dressy Hanhaba Obi

Birthday dinner at Sakura

My birthday is on this coming Tuesday, but I hate having long, relaxing dinners (especially ones with alcohol involved) during the work-week, so I invited a few friends and my folks to come dinner at a restaurant I’d been wanting to try, Sakura on de la Montagne. I read that the waitresses and staff wore kimono, so I figured I would not stand out too much if I wore one too. What I was not anticipating is that the entire restaurant staff would be Japanese and dressed in simple komon and relatively informal obi. Enter one gigantic white person in a rather dressy kimono and even dressier obi, and hilarity ensues.

I chose to wear an outfit comprised of nothing but gifts, and I still cannot believe how perfectly everything worked out. I paired the pink Takara houmongi from Arian with the Stations of the Tokaido obi from Suara, and finished it off with a beautiful haneri from Naomi and obiage and obijime from my dear friend Jeff. Even the shawl was a gift – my grandmother crocheted it.

The restaurant was absolutely lovely. The decor was decidedly Japanese and we sat in a tatami room, but it was subtle and tasteful – not a cheesy theme restaurant, which unfortunately are the norm around here. The owner, Ishii Noriko-san, was incredibly kind and fussed over my outfit repeatedly. She’s offered to contact a Japanese tutor for me, and insisted I come back again in kimono. The food was delicious and the wait staff were all very kind. They allowed me to order off the “other” menu – the one intended for the Japanese clientele, and I had unadon. They also found out the dinner was for my birthday, and brought the table some delicious green tea ice cream (mine had a sparkler in it!) as well as a special box of yokan for me. I was incredibly touched.

My mother took a photo of Noriko-san and I. Doesn’t she look stylish? I loved her obi so much! This photo also does a great job of illustrating why clothing made for the average Japanese woman is so difficult for me to wear.

Uchikake in the front receiving room

Delicious courses of dinner – shrimp gyoza, salad, sushi, dessert.

Delicious unadon. This wasn’t on the regular menu, I had to special-order it from the “Japanese people” menu XD. I love me some grilled eel. Next time though, I think I will try the katsudon!

I was incredibly surprised and touched when Noriko-san came in with my special birthday yokan.

I also received some incredibly sweet gifts, Andy got me a DVD of a spy series I know he is very fond of, The Sandbaggers, and Leslie gave me two beautiful antique woodblock prints by Kunisada that she purchased in Japan quite a while ago. I was so touched. The whole evening was wonderful.