Kitsuke à la Québecoise

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Last weekend, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I was supposed to give several presentations at Costume-Con 38. Unfortunately, in this era nothing is certain, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the con was cancelled.

Needless to say, I was gutted. I completely understand that the decision was out of the hands of the organisers, and it was the best thing for everyone involved, but it’s still upsetting to be so excited for something only to have it fall apart literally at the last minute. Aside from my own presentation, I was really looking forward to the Friday evening social. The theme was “traditional Québec” and I thought I’d have some fun with it by combining old-school Québecois Coureur Des Bois style with kimono.

Even though I wasn’t able to wear this in person, there’s nothing stopping me from subjecting the mannequin to it! I went with a wool kimono to evoke warm wool clothing, and this hanhaba obi has always reminded me a bit of a ceinture fléchée or traditional woven arrow belt. Over the top I put this weird dochugi-haori hybrid that looks like good old lumberjack buffalo plaid. Somehow, this particular coat has escaped my cataloguing efforts, along with the kimono it matches. I’ll fix that eventually.

This outfit may not make a lot of sense to anyone not from Québec, but that’s fine. Sometimes it’s good to do something that makes you happy. What are you doing to keep yourself happy in this panicky and uncertain time? Let me know!

I do plan to share the handouts and slideshow I created for the convention here when I can. Unfortunately, my Surface tablet PC (where the files were created and are stored) decided to bite the bullet yesterday. I don’t know if I can fix it, but if I can’t I’ll do my best to at least recover the files so I can upload them here soon!

Items used in this coordination

Bold, Bright, Beautiful

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Yesterday I got two obi in the mail that I wasn’t expecting until at least a few weeks from now. It was a lovely surprise! Of course, I knew I’d want to coordinate them soon, so I asked you guys on Facebook and Instagram which of the two I should coordinate. This bold black and red tsubaki nagoya won by a landslide, so here we go.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a very subdued kimono to really show off the obi, or something a bit more bright to try to balance it out visually. Then I remembered that this giant poly komon (one of two kimono I own that currently fit my fat butt) has accents of pretty much the exact same colours – red, cream, and yellow/gold. Loud and busy won the day, as it often does in my life lately!

Because the pattern on the obi is so large and graphic it almost reads as quiet next to the busy quality of the kimono. I think that rather than competing for attention they complement each other beautifully. I went with a solid yellow haneri because I figured there was enough going on with the two main pieces that I didn’t want to introduce yet another pattern or visual element. As for the obiage and obijime, I know I use these so often but they just work with so many of my things. I still don’t quite understand how such obnoxious, lemon-yellow accessories match basically everything, but they do. Kimono sorcery!

The finishing touch was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother. I’m not sure what the stone in the centre is, but it’s a perfect match to the kimono, and brings just the right pop of teal in to break up the obi slightly.

Items used in this coordination

Octopus’ Garden

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A few months ago, my father ordered this incredible octopus obi from 3Magpies Studio for me as a Christmas present. It was a pre-order and I knew it would arrive after the holidays, but I didn’t mind a bit. I knew it would be worth the wait. Also included was an incredible matching haneri, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available any more. I love how the tentacles just seem to be creeping in, and can’t wait to pair this with other outfits.

The obi nearly got lost in the mail – it was scanned leaving Poland and then the tracking never updated again for over a month. It finally showed up last week, much to everyone’s relief. I’m so happy it found its way home, because it’s awesome!

I really wanted to make sure the focus stayed on the fantastic obi, so I pulled out the red tones for the kimono. This one is covered in tiny ume, but from a distance they totally look like the suckers on the octopus tentacles. It’s a match made in watery, undersea heaven. I kept things simple with more white and red accessories. My initial plan was to use this rhinestone octopus obidome as well, but in the end it felt distracting and sometimes enough really is enough. One day I’ll likely pair them up, maybe with a different kimono to pull the blue colour in somewhere else and feel more cohesive.

Items used in this coordination

Memories of Summer

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It’s snowing today. Again. We had a blizzard on Monday. It’s been frigid enough lately that there’s been warnings to stay indoors. I live in Quebc, I expect winter to be unpleasant. But this winter hasn’t just been unpleasant, it’s been brutal. So I thought I’d do my best to remind myself that summer will be here eventually!

I bought this gorgeous usumono (summer weight) vintage komon at the kimono bazaar back in November and initially had no plans to do anything with it until it was more seasonally appropriate. But I really needed a breath of warm summer air, and decided to feature it.

I love the colour of this piece; it’s a shade of plum that’s somehow rich but muted all at once. And the art-deco feeling birds on it are utterly charming. It’s tiny and will never fit me, but it was incredibly affordable for its age and fragility, and I loved it too much to pass it by.

Typically, I don’t bother putting a juban on the mannequin. She doesn’t sweat so I don’t need a layer to protect the kimono, she doesn’t move so I don’t need the security of it, and she doesn’t need any further padding or smoothing, so usually it’s not necessary. However, this kimono is so sheer that it would have looked odd and shapeless, and I’ve been wanting to feature this ridiculously adorable shrimp juban Naomi gave me for a while now. It’s technically too heavy for the weight of the kimono, but I love how the colours work together and thematically I like the idea of birds swooping over the cool, breezy ocean and diving in to catch the shrimp!

I used my white ro hakata obi, partially because it looks refreshing against the purple and partially because it’s the only summer weight obi I own. Pale purple summer weight accessories and a cool white ro haneri tie it all together.

It may be completely disgusting and frigid and messy outside, but it’s good to look back on happy memories of summer.

Items used in this coordination

Olive, the Other Reindeer

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Hello! First off, let me say I cannot be blamed for the terrible title of this entry; it’s actually the title of a children’s book. It’s always made me laugh, and since today’s coordination features my favourite olive-green kimono and Christmas is coming up soon it seemed appropriate.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I work in a toy store so this time of year is always a bit exhausting for me, to say the least. I knew I wanted to do something simple and cute that wouldn’t take much fussing, and remembered that the salmon-coloured accents on this kimono are a near-perfect match for a black winter motif tsuke-obi I own. More salmon pink accessories including ume on the haneri pulled it all together.

I do have a few other things in the work for this month, but entries will likely be a bit sparse for a bit. I do post regular smaller updates and curiosities on my Facebook and Instagram, so be sure to follow those if you don’t already!

Items used in this coordination