Back to Basics

I’ve been doing a lot of fancy and non-traditional kitsuke lately, and was itching to get back to kimono basics, if you will. Just an elegant, simple coordination. No fuss, no muss. I also realised I’ve been sticking to more Western colour coordinations, doing things that look “right” in my head and not necessarily keeping kimono colour rules in mind.

With that at the forefront of my mind, I decided it was high time I coordinate this beautiful pale pink nagoya obi I got earlier this summer. My original instinct was to stick with pastels, but I pushed through and paired it with this rich blue houmongi instead. I love the contrast, and the soft genteel obi pairs so well with the very delicate shading on the botan of the kimono. Red and blue accessories helped pull it all together cohesively.

My next thought for this obi is a black-based kimono. I really love how it pops against darker, richer colours. It’s technically not formal enough for kurotomesode, but because it’s got a metallic pearly-silver sheen to it, I think I can make it work! Maybe I should do that next week. Less folding to do if I use the same obi two outfits in a row 😉

Items used in this coordination

A Prayer for the Amazon

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Amazon is burning. This is an unprecedented tragedy of incomprehensible proportions. Indigenous peoples and native animal species are dying, and what is essentially the lungs of our planet is shrinking dramatically every day.

I know it doesn’t make a lick of difference, but kitsuke makes me feel better in overwhelming times like this. I’ve done it when people I’ve admired have passed away, and I did it when Notre Dame burnt and that didn’t have nearly the global significance these fires are having.

Green would have been the obvious choice, and my initial instinct; but then I thought of the lush, gorgeous foliage on my basho-leaf houmongi. I went with more bright pinks and then a green-leaning turquoise because it feels joyous and hopeful, something we all desperately need right now.

If, like me, you’re feeling scared and helpless and looking for a way to help, I urge you to consider donating to one of the charities working on the ground in the Amazon. After some research and checking with the Charity Navigator, I feel comfortable suggesting any of the following groups. If you know of any other reliable charities, or have information that these may not be ideal to donate to, please leave a comment.

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Showa Fabulous Christmas in July

It’s still hotter than the surface of the sun here in Montreal, but I was determined to see if I could turn my han-darari tsuke obi into a passable fukura suzume bow in preparation for the Otakuthon fashion show. I figured while I had the mannequin and obi out, I may as well go all-in and change her outfit. This isn’t going to be a full outfit in the show but it’s good practice and visualisation for something that’s in the works.

The obi has such a gorgeously shiny showa fabulous feel to it that it felt like the perfect time to bust out my precious post-war kiku houmongi. I went with gold, red, and green accessories, and while I worried initially that the outfit would feel Christmassy, it actually worked out really well. Besides, Christmas in July might help me feel a little bit cooler!

As for the obi experiment, it definitely worked in theory. I just need a few more himo to make things a little tidier, but I’ll definitely be able to pull it off properly for the show on a real model, and I’m thrilled.

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Perfectly Harmonious Pairing

I’m back! Sort of! Still not feeling 100% better, but definitely improving. I’ve got a few low-stress things in the works for the next week or two.

For today, a coordination I’ve been itching to put together since I bought this obi. About a month ago I went to a rummage sale at the Montreal JCCC and while I had no real intention of buying anything, I found this amazing cream-coloured obi with Arabic script on it and knew it had to come live with my mosque kimono. I honestly can’t tell if the writing on the obi actually says anything or is just sort of an artistic interpretation, so if anyone can tell me what it says, I’d very much appreciate it!

I cannot get over how perfectly these pieces pair together. The background colour of the obi echoes the yellow-gold clouds on the kimono and the green script and design elements bring out the palm trees around the hem of the kimono. I also used that colour as inspiration for the accessories, a gorgeous olive-green obiage and obijime that also weren’t a set but happen to match almost perfectly. I chose a very simple haneri with just some white and gold sakura. I wanted all the focus to be on the beautiful pairing of the kimono and obi.

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Scarves in Solidarity

Today I am participating in the Scarves in Solidarity project, which aims to show support for the Muslim community in NZ by wearing a head scarf. It’s a small gesture, but one that helps show that we’re all united in the face of terror and white supremacy. Several years ago, Quebec had a much smaller but similarly motivated attack, so the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Friday hit especially close to home here.

Personally, I am an atheist. However, I firmly believe that a place of worship (be it a mosque, church, synagogue, temple, shrine, or any other) should always be a place of hope, faith, and safety. To attack people in during their prayers is the height of cowardice. I wanted to do something to show my support for the survivors of this attack and their families.

Of course, I had to wear my beautiful mosque houmongi for this project; I could think of no more appropriate piece in my collection. I could barely get it around my hips, but I was determined to make it work.

I wore a light blue-green buff underneath to tame my unruly blue hair, and then this beautiful green and gold scarf over top, which ties in to the green and gold tones in the hem of the kimono. I think it looks perfect together. Gold obi and accessories finished off the outfit well.

Whatever your view on religion in general, or religious head-coverings may be, I think we can all agree that nobody deserves to be targeted for their beliefs. People of Christchurch, NZ, and Muslims around the world, we are with you.

Items used in this coordination