Autumn Fairy Tale

Both this kimono and this obi are nearly impossible to coordinate. I’ve used the kimono before, but despite having had this obi in my possession for nearly a year now, I’d never found a good way to use it. Last night it came to me while I was soaking in the bath, as many great ideas do.

They both have a sort of fantastical, storybook, decidedly un-Japanese vibe to them. The kimono has always reminded me of The Moomins and other Scandinavian childrens’ books, and the obi has a vaguely Middle-Eastern fantasy feel to it that wouldn’t be out of place in One Thousand and One Nights. I also thought the green and brown would complement each other very well, and the gold accents would echo each other nicely too.

Was I right, or was I right? I’m over the moon with how these pieces look together. I decided go with pink accessories to make the pink trees in the kimono stand out a bit more, since they can get a bit lost against the white hill. They also help to add a touch of light and contrast between the kimono and obi, which are both quite dark. It worked very well, I think. From a distance they almost read as white, just like the trees do, but when you get close you get this lovely surprise. There are also tiny pink and gold botan on the haneri, which are decidedly out of season but the colours worked so well I had to run with it. Next time I might add a gold date-eri to break things up a little further, but I think it works fine without it too. It also just occurred to me that my pink lace haori would look amazing with this too, so I will have to try that sometime.

Another neat thing about this outfit is that all the items aside from the obijime are significantly larger than average, which means I might be able to wear it if I ever have the energy to dress myself again. Something to look forward to, maybe?

Items used in this coordination

Happy Halloween 2022!

Tomorrow is Halloween! The day we celebrate errant bloggers rising from the grave, apparently. I am actually working on an entry discussing my increasing absences, and a slight shift in the purpose and focus of this blog, so keep an eye out for that. Don’t worry, it’s not bad news!

In the meantime though, I actually have a coordination for you! I bought this piece last time I was in California. I realise it’s supposed to be a sunset over the landscape, but to me it absolutely looks like a spooky forest fire scene. The spindly black trees and bright orange background just felt very Halloween to me and I decided it would be the perfect piece to get back into the swing of things.

I wanted to keep the Halloween vibe relatively subtle, but I did try to amp up the spooky factor with a black and silver spiderweb haneri and brass bat obidome made out of a vintage menuki. The obi is a solid black mofuku nagoya, paired with white and orange accessories.

I don’t have a catalogue photo of this piece yet, but that’s a problem for another day. It is coming, I promise!

Items used in this coordination

Spring Fling

I have a confession to make; I used to hate shibori. I suspect it was due to my aversion to certain textures and patterns. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve learnt to appreciate the beauty and incredible craftsmanship that goes into it, but it still wasn’t something I had much of in my collection (aside from some obiage). I also named my pet uromastyx lizard Shibori, due to the spots on his back.

This fully shibori beauty with pink botan and fans showed up on ebay, ending the same night as the rangiku piece in my previous entry. I found it with only minutes to go and only one bid. I threw out a ridiculously low bid and to my shock I won it!

It’s absolutely lush and gorgeous and I am completely in love with. What I was not expecting was how difficult it would be to coordinate!

The olive accessories were a given, they coordinate perfectly with the leaves on the kimono. However, this shade of warm salmon pink clashed with… basically every obi I could find. I settled on this silver one with tiny pink accents and it’s… fine? I guess? I don’t hate it, but it’s not as punchy as I would have liked. I’ll definitely have to hunt down the perfect obi for this piece and coordinate it again soon!

Have you ever changed your mind drastically on a colour, technique, or motif? Something you hated at first but have grown to love?

Items used in this coordination

(I haven’t had the chance to catalogue this piece either yet, but it will be added eventually!)

“Group of Seven” Landscape Houmongi

When I saw this gorgeous landscape houmongi up for auction recently, the Canadian in me just had to have it. It reminded me immediately of something by the Group of Seven and while I realise it’s a Japanese landscape it could just as easily be any of the wild, untamed nature of this beautiful country.

I actually have a handful of obi that will all look incredible with this piece but for my first time showing it off this metallic hawks-over-water nagoya obi felt like the right direction. I love the idea of the birds flying high over the landscape, and the heavy gold of the obi helps up the very subtle gold decoration in the hem pop. It also increases the formality of the whole outfit, and since the kimono has one crest it can be dressed up a bit. I went subtle with the rest of the accessories to let the kimono and obi speak for themselves, and I think it worked well.

 

I can’t wait to do other things with this stunning piece. I’m so happy I was able to add it to my collection.

Items used in this coordination

Thank you, Ichiroya!

If you’re active in the kimono communities online, odds are high that you’ve already heard the devastating news that Ichiroya, one of the oldest and most well-established online kimono stores, is closing. I’ve spoken about them at length here on this blog, even devoting an entire entry on how wonderful they are and how to use their services. Everyone there is so kind and helpful, and they’ve always been the first place I suggest when people want to dip their toes into buying vintage kimono online. While I am very sad,t this feels like the end of an era, I wish the owners all the best for their upcoming retirement!

I also used this as an opportunity to treat myself to some items I’d been watching for a while. One of the pieces I splurged on was this beautiful vintage houmongi with genjiko motif on an utterly lush purple background. When it arrived, I realised that an obi I’d bought from Ichiroya quite some time ago was the perfect complement to the pink and green accents of the kimono, and it all fell into place.

I wanted the kimono (and to a lesser extent, the obi) to shine so I went with subtle brown and beige accessories that tied into the kimono motif without drawing attention to themselves. I can’t remember where most of the accessories came from, they’re not from Ichiroya, but they worked very well with the outfit. I love how the brown obiage almost looks like shiny gold due to the gradations on it. I hope I did these pieces justice, as I wanted to honour and thank Ichiroya for twenty years of amazing service.

I bought one other kimono and two gorgeous obi at the same time as this one, so be prepared for lots of new stuff soon!

Items used in this coordination