Gothic Wa-Lolita Inspiration

I’ve done some wa-lolita coordinations before, to varying levels of success, but somehow it wasn’t until I got a solid black mofuku kimono that it occurred to me to do something using this skirt! I found this incredible Alexander Henry Midnight Pastoral skeleton toile fabric a few years back, and Naomi was kind enough to make it into a skirt for me. 💖

I decided to stick to the sort of gothic/Victorian vibe the fabric brought in and paired the solid black kimono with a high-collared white blouse and a black lace choker with a skull cameo on it. In lieu of an obi, I used a wide studded leather belt which worked alright out but I think next time I’d prefer something with a little more volume in the back. As it is, the front of this outfit has much more interest, and feels a little unbalanced because of it.

This didn’t start out as a memorial outfit, but as I was working on it I realised I had Rick Genest/Zombie Boy on my mind. He was certainly not as much of a household name as David Bowie or Anthony Bourdain, but he was a true original and a Montreal native, as well as being an artistic muse to so many misfits and creatives. The repeated skeleton motifs in this particular outfit, as well as the use of the mofuku kimono, seem like a fitting tribute for yet another flame snuffed out too soon.

Spookitsuke – Getting Gothic!

It’s October, and that means it’s time for a new month-long feature here on Kimono Tsuki – Spookitsuke! (If you’ll pardon my silly portmanteau of spooky kitsuke). By now, we all know that kimono in and of themselves do not a costume make. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for overlap! Every Sunday this month, I will be putting a thematically appropriate outfit on the mannequin. From creepy motifs to an outfit lifted straight out of one of my favourite comic books, every one of these coordinations would fit right in at the scariest costume party! If you’re thinking of wearing kimono to a Halloween event, whether it be just a thematic outfit or detailed costume, I hope you find a bit of inspiration in the coming weeks.

This first week’s is a straightforward outfit using my tried-and-true gothic landscape houmongi. This piece is one of my favourites, due to the unique motif. It’s a great modern piece and a pleasure to work with, since the silk is heavy and textured and the collar is already sewn in half. I paired it with this shiny tsuke-obi I bought on a whim a few months back, and I’m so happy with how well they work together! I used pale blue accessories to draw attention to the foggy mist on the kimono. Overall, it’s a perfectly “normal” outfit, until you look at the hem of the kimono. Victorian-style lanterns, wrought iron railings, and even a hill with tiny cross grave markers all evoke a creepy, crawly, wonderfully Halloween feeling.

Spookitsuke October 2016

Items used in this coordination

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.

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.