Tsubaki Aoi Kitsuplay

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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

Queen Serenity

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Eons ago, I found this pretty rhinestone moon-and-star pendant at Michaels, and my mind immediately went to Sailormoon. I’d been trying to figure out how to do an outfit inspired by Queen Serenity, and the other day while chatting with a friend I finally got the spark of motivation I needed. I took inspiration from the Mulan kitsuke I did. The under-dress is the same one. The fact that it matches the kimono so well was a happy coincidence.

I love the soft, flowing layers of the ivory kimono over the ivory dress. I played up the metallic accessories both to evoke the gold ornamentation on the inspiration image and to tie in the pendant that inspired the whole project. I tied the soft gold obi in an improvised bow somewhere between a bunko and a cho-cho musubi, to echo Queen Serenity’s wings. In a perfect world, I’d have a shimmering gold darari obi to get more length and volume to it, but they’re not exactly easy or affordable to get hold of. An obiage that leaned more gold would have also been an improvement over this very yellow-toned one, but again, I used what I had on hand.

One thing I was not expecting is how elegant and wearable this actually looks. I could see this sort of a combination being worn to a wedding, bridging the gap between traditional and modern aesthetics. Heck, I could even see myself considering an outfit like this if I were ever to get married. Not that it’s remotely in the plans or anything XD

Items used in this coordination

Kosode no Te – Yokai Halloween 2018

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It’s finally Halloween! I hope you’ve been enjoying this month of yokai coordinations as much as I have! I knew for the finale I needed something bold, and since I’d already used my hikizuri for Iso-onna, I decided to feature the drama of a kurotomesode. And really, what’s more appropriate to finish off this project than an actual haunted kimono spirit? Kosode no Te literally means short-sleeved kimono with hands, and is typically a deceased courtesan’s kimono, or the kimono of someone with unresolved issues. Spectral hands reach out of the sleeves of the kimono and assault the person trying to wear it, or the person who may have wronged the previous owner.

The motif on this particular kimono is called Tagasode, or “Whose Sleeves?” and it’s literally a bunch of kimono airing out on racks. It’s absolutely perfect for this particular yokai, don’t you think? I paired it up with a vintage obi in similar desaturated vintage tones. The obi has a design of thread bobbins, further emphasising the clothing and textile motif. I decided to go with bright red accessories for a punch of almost violent colour to tie it all together.

I’ve had such a wonderful time doing this project, I think it was my favourite Halloween theme I’ve done so far. But I am looking forward to some more “normal” coordinations, not to mention my birthday coming up in November!

Items used in this coordination

Iso-Onna – Yokai Halloween 2018

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Nearly every culture has some form of vampire mythos, and Japan is no different. Iso-Onna, the Coast Woman, is described as a beautiful woman who hunts along the shores of Western Japan. She lures fishermen, sailors, and travellers to her and then drags them into the water and uses her hair to suck their blood. Somehow that seems even more horrible than using teeth!

For this coordination, I knew I needed to evoke the coastline, Of course, I had to use my hikizuri with the crashing waves on it, paired with this gorgeous pente ship obi. I brought in some pops of red to represent blood, and couldn’t resist finally featuring the awesome rhinestone octopus a friend sent me.

I love the drama that the trailing hem brings to this particular outfit. It reminds me of seawater spilling across the shoreline which is absolutely perfect for the theme. It also still feels wearable, despite using relatively theatrical pieces. I’ve worked hard making sure all of these coordinations don’t feel overly “costumey” and I’m glad I’ve been able to stick it out.

Only one more to go! Come back on October 31st to see the final yokai!

Items used in this coordination

Okiku – Yokai Halloween 2018

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Okiku‘s story is one of the most tragic and, despite being hundreds of years old, still incredibly relevant today. She was a beautiful young woman who was a servant and dishwasher at Himeji castle. A retainer named Aoyama wanted her for his lover but she refused. Eventually he framed her for losing a prized plate and said he would not report it to their master if she agreed to be with him. Still, she refused. He resorted to beating her and repeatedly dunking her in the will and yet she still refused. Eventually his rage and fury took over and he stabbed her with his sword and dropped her body into the well.

Her vengeful ghost haunted the castle, looking for the missing dish, and tormented Aoyama until the lord called a priest to the palace to deal with the situation. He pretended to have found the missing dish and Okiku’s ghost was finally able to rest.

Okiku is a woman’s name derived from Kiku, or Chrysanthemum, so I chose this kimono both for its subtle vintage feel and the kiku motif repeated on it. Same for the haneri. I wanted a sort of dusty, ethereal feel for the coordination. Initially I had another obi in mind, but I found this one at the bazaar over the weekend and fell head-over-heels for it and was determined to feature it sometime soon. The motif on it is technically mirrors, but you have to admit that they look very much like fancy plates, which tied in perfectly with Okiku’s story. At first I was worried it would be too bold against the muted kimono but I think it adds just the right amount of drama. It also helps to bring out the teal-green foliage accents among the flowers.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes bonus of Vinnie, since he hasn’t made a guest appearance here in a while.

Items used in this coordination