#MonoKimono Challenge – Bold Red

Can you believe the year is finally over? I knew I wanted to end the #monokimono challenge with a bang, so I went with a really festive-feeling bold red coordination.

I know I use this kimono a lot, but I do love it to bits. It was my first kimono and it’s still one of the easiest to work with. This whole outfit fell into place very easily and dressing the mannequin took no effort at all. Which is a good thing, because I slipped on the ice getting into the car last night and pulled my entire right side out of alignment. Nothing serious, but it’s uncomfortable and annoying! So I’m very glad this outfit cooperated so well.

Once I had the red kimono sorted, this red and white hakata obi was a no-brainer. The reds are nearly identical, and the white geometric plays off the flowing white kiku of the kimono. I don’t have a red haneri so I went with white, also with kiku motif, and a gold kasane-eri for a little bit of punch. The obijime is one I bought at that big kimono bazaar in the autumn and I’m so happy to have found a way to feature it.

This is such a bright, vibrant outfit. It feels perfect for that liminal time between Christmas and New Year’s day. It also brought me a lot of joy to coordinate it, and that’s something I sorely needed in my life right now.

I don’t know if I’ll do this monthly challenge again in 2019, but I know I will still be making monochrome outfits now and again because it’s a lot of fun and encourages me to step out of the “typical kimono comfort zone”.

Items used in this coordination

October Rust – MonoKimono Challenge & Fudangi First Friday

I’m cheating today. Someone alert the authorities! Typically, the #MonoKimono challenge occurs on the last weekend of the month, and Fudangi First Friday occurs on, well, the first Friday. However, I had other things on my mind this past weekend, and I know this weekend is going to be quite busy, so I figured I’d take advantage of a free afternoon and combine the two smack in the middle of the week.

It’s finally, mercifully, starting to feel like Autumn here so that was my jumping-off point. I had to build an outfit that was both casual and monochrome, so it felt like the right time to bust out my rusty red-orange wool komon. My Tokaido hanhaba obi is an absolute spot on match for the kimono, even down to the yellow accent colour matching the yellow weave.

I’ve seen this sort of hanhaba musubi that almost looks like a miniature otaiko and wanted to give it a shot. It worked out quite well, I think. I also like the pop of contrast the yellow side offers – it echoes the yellow han-eri on the front view and helps draw attention to the subtle pattern in the kimono itself. I still think it’s subtle enough and in a close enough colour range to count as monochrome, too. While an obijime isn’t a necessity with this sort of an outfit, I did need it for this particular musubi and I just happened to have one that was another perfect match. I’m pretty sure this is the most monochrome outfit I’ve put together for this challenge so far.

Another reason I wanted to get this outfit on the mannequin is that I have something very neat in the works, and wanted her in something that felt seasonal and was nice to look at but also was very much a “background” feel and not something ornate that would steal the focus away. I’m being evasive now, but I promise I’ll tell you all what it’s for very soon!

Items used in this coordination

#Monokimono Challenge – Mustard Yellow

Anna of KimonoTEKA recently came up with the #monoKIMONO challenge; the last weekend of every month in 2018, challenge yourself to make a monochromatic outfit! I am always up for new kitsuke ideas, and I know I can handle one-a-month type challenges, so you know I’m going to go for it!

My first thought was red or pink, but as I was flipping through my collection for ideas, this odd mustard yellow colour jumped out at me. You might remember this kimono as my emergency backup piece for Belle that I ended up falling in love with. It’s not a piece I’ll ever be able to wear, even if I were to lose an unhealthy amount of weight it would still be too narrow for my broad back and too short for my giant self. Also, this particular colour looks lovely on a lot of folks, but utterly terrible on me. However, I’m always excited to find ways to coordinate it, and I realised I have a vintage obi that’s nearly the exact same colour. A few similarly ochre-toned accessories and voila, a beautiful, wearable, vintage monochrome outfit.

This whole outfit pulled together so smoothly and easily, I hope it’s a sign of things to come for both the challenge and the year as a whole. Are you participating in the #monoKIMONO challenge? If so, I’d love to see your coordinations!

Items used in this coordination

Pocahontas – Disney Princess Kitsuke Project

🎵Can you paint with all the colours of the Wind?🎵

Ahhh, Pocahontas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, but it’s so far removed from any remotely accurate representation of her story, as well as helping to reinforce the “noble savage” trope that I have conflicted feelings about it. That being said, I was looking forward to seeing how I could represent her without resorting to tired or hackneyed accessories and gimmicks. Her outfit is so simple that I knew converting it would be a challenge in sharp contrast to all the previous ones I’ve done, where I’ve had plenty of room for accessories and experimentation. I’m home sick today, dealing with an ear infection, so I thought I’d take advantage of the unexpected time off.

A light brown iromuji, reminiscent of buckskin, seemed like the ideal canvas. I did debate adding suede fringe somewhere but it started to feel like I was veering too far into cheesy costume territory. I remembered I had this lovely subdued brown obi with nature motifs on it, and loved the way the two pieces blended together in a nearly monochrome, uniform way. Unfortunately, the obi is quite short and hikinuki-style, which means the pattern on the tail end is reversed. I’d initially planned to do a relaxed, vintage-feeling obi and I remembered that Naomi had shared a fantastic tutorial for tsunodashi musubi done with a softer, older hikinuki obi. Great timing! It was definitely easy and quick to tie, even in my miserable ear-infected fever state.

Pale blue may seem like an incongruous choice for this outfit, but I chose it to echo the stone on her necklace, and the beaded accents on her tunic. It also had the added benefit of popping really well against the muted brown without being overpowering, which worked out really well. A few beaded accessories from some nearby First Nations communities added the perfect little punch of colour, reminiscent of the fall foliage often surrounding Pocahontas. I’d tried to find a way to include Grandmother Willow when it hit me that right behind her, already waiting happily, were branches of willow buds in a vase that belonged to my own grandmother. How perfect was that? And as I was dressing the mannequin, one of the cats brought down this ridiculous floppy raccoon toy they all love to bits, so of course Meeko had to make a cameo appearance.

We’re so close to the end, you guys! Only Rapunzel is left, and I’m hoping to get her done by the end of the week.

Items used in this coordination

Rock Garden Ikebana

 

I said I’d be trying to do at least one ikebana arrangement per month, but that was the bare minimum. I was inspired to do a second before April ends.

I wanted this one to feel much more natural and organic, a bit like a rock garden at the edge of a pond. I found the beautiful white and purple ranunculus first, and then found the smaller filler flowers in the exact same colour scheme and knew I wanted to experiment with texture and repetition instead of the more traditional shin/soe/hikae structure of a more vertical arrangement. The roundness of the glass vessel echoes the rocks and the shape of the flowers, and and the colours repeat each other which gives the whole piece a feeling of cohesiveness. This has a very different feel from the last one, which makes me feel very happy. I can’t wait for the next strike of inspiration to hit me!