A Prayer for Notre Dame

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Monday, I watched with the world as the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris burned. I may be, as I’ve mentioned before, an atheist, but the thought of the world losing such an important monument filled me with despair. There is no denying that aside from spiritually, it’s an incredibly vital structure historically, artistically, architecturally, and culturally. It has witnessed revolutions, wars, births, deaths, been central to great works of fiction, and great works of art.

Now, several days later, we know the extent of the damage, and mercifully it’s not as dire as it felt watching it live. However, it’s going to need a massive amount of restoration in the years – and likely decades – to come. Thankfully the structure is still mostly stable, and the bulk of the art and religious relics contained within were saved, but she is still going to need a ton of work.

If you’re a regular around here, you’ve likely seen my use of kitsuke as a coping mechanism for distant but impactful deaths. This time, I’m using it as a coping mechanism for loss and despondency. I wanted to honour Notre Dame in the best and most personal way I know how.

The wrought-iron metalwork designs on the haori call to the famous spire that was lost about halfway through the blaze. As an unintended but not unappreciated bonus, the haori over the obi makes a distinctive hump, hearkening back to Quasimodo, the cathedral’s most famous fictional resident. I chose an obi with the circular floral motif to echo the Rose Window, central to the front facade. The roses on the kimono are also a bit of an indirect nod there. The red accessories add a vital, aggressive pop of contrast, exactly what Notre Dame needs right now. A reminder to fight, that she’s been through worse and come out the other side, and will remain standing for centuries to come.

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Rebirth and Renewal

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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