Refreshing Stripes

Summer is here in full force. It’s like Montreal finally got the memo that it was June and boom, oppressive heat and humidity. So when this gorgeous, crisp, cool-feeling unlined kimono arrived it seemed like a great time to do something with it. It’s not in great shape so I got it for less than five dollars, shipping included. But it’s such a gorgeous design I was itching to coordinate it anyway.

It has such a crisp, refreshing feeling and I thought this hakata obi with the same colours would help reinforce the palette and coolness of the outfit. I love how the obi gives the eye a bit of space to rest, but almost feels invisible at the same time. A few watery blue accessories finish things off and evoke even more breezy, refreshing vibes. I couldn’t help trying out this cute bow obijime style I saw on Instagram recently, and I think it adds a really sweet touch to an otherwise almost-masculine outfit.

I knew this kimono was stained when I bought it, but the extent of the damage is more severe than I’d realised based on the photos. Now that I’ve made at least one outfit with it I am going to use it for some cleaning experiments. I’d like to try a few different easily-attainable stain remover products on different areas and keep track of the process to help anyone else who may have stained pieces.

The kimono is too new, and somehow this obi escaped my cataloguing process so for the time being I can’t insert the detail gallery. Whoops! I will add it in later, once the items have been cleaned and properly photographed.  😳

Rebirth and Renewal

I have always tried to keep this blog apolitical. It’s a hobby, a place of beauty fun and a bit of a distraction from the “real” world. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that in the modern political climate, remaining detached is essentially an impossibility. This is not to say that I’m suddenly going to change the focus of things here, but I am having a harder and harder time keeping my mouth shut about the state of things. Syria, Brexit, Trump… we are living in a world that is increasingly on the defensive; cold and closed and unwelcoming.

So with that in mind, I needed a subtle reminder that there is always hope in the world, always a chance for rebirth and renewal. I bought this obi along with the hawk obi from my last coordination, and had intended to pair it with my leaf-green iromuji from the get-go. The obidome and obijime were bought at the same time, and seem like the perfect little complement. I’ve always had a soft spot for pearls, and they draw the eye to the silvery buds on the obi that otherwise blend in and nearly disappear. This felt like the perfect time to tie everything together.

The outfit feels as though it’s looking forward to Spring, but also looking forward in general. In a time when everything seems uncertain, at least we know the leaves and grass and first buds of the flowers will be back soon enough. It may not be much, but at least every time I see it I will be reminded that after every hideous, frozen, deathly winter there will inevitably come a spring when everything is reborn.

Items used in this coordination

Outfit of the Week: Summer Love

For this week’s outfit, I decided to throw caution to the wind. The previous ensembles I’ve posted haven’t necessarily been 100% season-accurate, but this one is by far the most inappropriate for this time of year. It’s been in the negative degrees all week here, and my back deck looks like this right now.

I needed something to remind  me that it won’t be like this all year, so I decided to do a breezy summer coordination. This blue ro tsukesage is one of the last things I purchased before my health really fell apart, and I’d never had the chance to wear it, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I had initially planned to pair it with my off-white sha hakata obi, but the then I found this hitoe hakata with touches of pink that echoed the pink flowers on the kimono so well. It’s technically a little thick to wear with such a lightweight kimono, but it’s borderline and I figured since I was only dressing Tsukiko I could get away with it. I think this outfit has a lovely refreshing cool feel to it with the icy blue and white, with the hits of a cool-toned pink to liven it up a little.

Please ignore the weirdly lopsided otaiko, I pulled it out of place slightly while rotating the mannequin and didn’t realise until after I’d taken the photos. ~.~;;

Items used in this coordination

Araiso Geisha Hikizuri

If anyone needed further proof that I am spoiled far beyond anything I might possibly deserve, this is it. Friends and loved ones in the hobby are constantly sending me lavish gifts, but I think this one takes the cake. It’s a gorgeous lavender hikizuri that appears to have belonged to a geisha, with a motif of araiso, or carp and crashing waves, dyed in white and indigo. When I saw it on eBay, I fell hard in love with it. Unfortunately, I’d just splurged on a trip so my friend Keith and myself could go to California together and I could spend some time with Naomi. I did bid on it, but I knew once it hit a certain point, I couldn’t keep fighting, and had to bow out. I was upset, but I figured it was worth it – I was going to see some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Fast forward to the trip itself. Keith has gone home and I’m settling in at Naomi’s place, and she’s (inevitably) dumping kimono in my lap. The two haori I posted about recently were some of the items I ended up with. At one point, she hands me a folded up purple-grey kimono, telling me it’s “some old thing [she] had lying around” and that I might like it. I do like lavender, and I thought it was an iromuji, so you can bet when I opened it up and figured out what the heck it was, I nearly had a heart attack. I have a history of cardiac issues and don’t take well to surprises XD I wasn’t sure whether to faint or cry. Thankfully I ended up crying, because fainting would have been a nuisance. Naomi confessed to me that she and Erica conspired together to get this for me, after seeing how sad I was that I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I really don’t deserve these friends! I’m not this good a person, I swear!

The kimono is just so incredibly breathtaking in person – photos do not do it justice. The gradient is so skillfully done, it is a perfect fade from a desaturated grey-lilac to a richer purple, and the yuzen work of the crashing waves and jumping carp on the hem is very thin and very detailed. The addition of the indigo really makes the carp pop out, and then some of them are lightly outlined in gold leaf. It’s a stunning piece, exactly the sort of thing I would expect on a slightly older, subdued geisha, someone who lets her art speak for itself but still makes sure her wardrobe will not be forgotten.

Araiso hikizuri

Araiso hikizuri Araiso hikizuri

Araiso hikizuri

I treasure this piece, and it’s really one of the gems of my collection. I will never part with it.