Terrific Texture

As much as it pained me to remove last week’s coordinate, it was time to change the mannequin. I thought for today I would focus on textures, an often-overlooked facet of kimono style and construction. This outfit may have no real variation in colour, and yet it’s anything but boring!

I paired my richly-textured mint iromuji with a tone-on-tone dusty pink hakata obi. Not only do these two pieces play well together texture-wise, the muted colour palettes complement each other perfectly. I emphasised the texture aspect even more with this haneri with a thick woven kiku design, a white shibori obiage (which is a bit too formal for this coord but it worked so well thematically) and a a white beaded obijime to introduce one last texture without adding more colour. I even arranged the obiage so the ruffled hem was visible, just to add one more layer of interest. Typically that edge is tucked away out of sight, but I thought it was a nice little touch.

I really like how this all came together. It’s very simple but also feels very luxurious, due to the nature of all the fabrics together. It’s even more effective in person, but you’ll just have to take my word on that!

Items used in this coordination

R is for Rinzu

Rinzu, 綸子, silk damask

Rinzu is like jacquard, a beautiful tone-on-tone pattern achieved by weaving techniques only. No dye, no paint, just right off the loom with a rich, beautiful depth.

I have lots of pieces in my collection that have a rinzu base, but none of them show off and exemplify them quite as gorgeously as this vintage purple iromuji given to me by a friend. I decided to do an entire outfit (or as much as possible) using only solid pieces with bold rinzu fabric.

Aside from the utterly lush purple kimono, I used the mofuku obi I painted a while back, since you can still see the lovely water pattern in the black fabric. The obiage is a soft pink that ties in well with the obi, with a rinzu design of sakura and geometric lines. I tied it in a little bow for more sweetness and softness. I’m honestly not sure if the haneri counts as rinzu, the weave is much more textured and raised than anything else I own. But the design is woven, not painted or embroidered, so I ran with it. As for the obijime, the only rinzu one I own is an all-black mofuku piece, which felt too heavy against the black obi so I just went with a soft pink round braid.

The outfit is quite simple, but I think it does a fantastic job of showing off all the gorgeous woven design and texture that is rinzu silk!

Items used in this coordination

Tsubaki Aoi Kitsuplay

Typically, when I do character-inspired kimono coordinations or kitsuke-cosplay (kitsuplay), it’s an adaptation; a translation of what the character might look like in an alternate reality. Today though, I was able to pretty much exactly reproduce a character’s outfit!

I recently watched a charming anime called Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (かくりよの宿飯, Bed & Breakfast for Spirits) and imagine how excited I was when Tsubaki Aoi, the protagonist, changed into this green iromuji and purple obi, and pretty much stayed in this outfit for the bulk of the series!

I already owned every single piece here. The kimono looks more yellow in these photos than it actually is; in real life it’s almost identical to hers. The only thing I had to do was tie the obi with the back side visible to hide the embroidered design, since her obi is plain purple. The only thing I initially didn’t have was her leaf fan, a gift from a very important character in the show. I’d actually been holding off, trying to look for a synthetic tropical leaf when my mum brought home a bunch of flowers that just happened to have a real, fresh one! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and changed the mannequin right away.

I really loved doing this, and I think I’ll be working on another Anime with Kimono Eye-Candy post in the near future, so I can look for more outfits to reproduce.

Items used in this coordination

Outfit Generator Experiment

A few months back, I coded up a little script to generate some kimono coordination ideas. If you click that link you can play with it as well! I thought it would be fun to use it myself, since I was feeling motivated to play with kimono but wasn’t getting that strike of inspiration I usually start with.

This is the combination I got, so I got to work. Purple iromuji was straightforward enough, since I only have the one. It’s not quite Taisho but it is lined with red and has elegantly long sleeves, so it felt sufficiently vintage to me. All I had to do after that was work on creating an outfit around it.

My original plan was to use this bright turquoise nagoya obi, but against the purple it definitely felt more bold and youthful than “Elegant”. But then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend about how gingko are one of my favourite ornamental trees ever and yet I only have one item with them as a motif, and even then it’s a very small, subtle part.

It seemed like the universe was telling me to use that particular obi. It’s fairly modern, but something about the designs and colour palette feel timeless, and the hints of purple in it play very well with the purple kimono. I pulled accessories out of the obi’s colour selection and finally found an opportunity to use this new haneri.

Everything really came together well, I think. I managed to stick quite close to the suggestions the generator threw at me, and the outfit still feels totally wearable, not costumey or ridiculous. I think whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I’ll use the generator again and see what happens. If you use it, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Items used in this coordination

Lobster Bisque

Recently, someone on the Kimono Tsuki facebook page reminded me of my incredible pente lobster obi. I decided it had been far too long since I’d done anything with it, so I went about putting together an outfit in my notes.

I took advantage of today’s holiday to actually get it up on the mannequin. It always makes me happy when the parts of an outfit look as good in person as they did in my head. I knew I wanted to the obi to be the star of the show so I used my ivory iromuji to make sure it really popped. It coordinates well with the shells on the obi and is the most neutral base I’ve got in my collection. From there it was a pretty effortless thing, pulling accessories out in colours that echoed parts of the obi.

Overall, the end result is a very simple and straightforward outfit, but I think that works really well. The obi is so fun and just quirky enough that balancing it with otherwise very simple pieces feels right. I’ve had fun doing more non-traditional outfits with it before, and it felt good to go in the other direction. In spirit, this outfit actually feels very similar to how I coordinated the stencilled obi I made recently, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Iromuji are always a great way to make the obi the star of the show.

Items used in this coordination