Y is for Yabane

Yabane, 矢羽, Arrow fletching

Yabane (also yagasuri for the small, tightly-repeating variation) and hakata; two of my favourite things together! I love all depictions of yabane, but particularly these big, semi-random depictions that were so beloved in the Taisho and early Showa eras really get to me. I’ve loved this kimono ever since I first bought it back in Boulder, Colorado. It’s an odd fabric, it feels like a mix of silk and cotton. It’s very light and breezy, despite being lined, and is smoother than cotton but has a lovely grip that makes it a pleasure to put on. However, I still can’t believe I ever wore this comfortably though. It’s so tiny!

I’m glad I had an opportunity to use this dusty rose-pink hakata nagoya obi. It’s really subdued but the texture of it makes it feel so lush. I couldn’t resist using my spider haneri which is a near-perfect match to the obi. Also, you guys, I’m so proud of myself. I did an ensemble with yellow accents and didn’t use that lemon-yellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime I use all the time. Will wonders never cease? I did use a yellow obiage, but a much more subdued one. The obijime was a better choice in theory than in practice I think, but it’s not terrible. I just know I can do better next time. XD

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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!

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P is for Patapata

Patapata, パタパタ, onomatopoeia of “fluttering wings”

Ever since I saw this tutorial for an adorable patapata musubi with a bow accent, I knew I wanted to try it. I kept procrastinating for some reason, but now I’m glad I did because that means today I can show you this perfectly puffy pink patapata coordination! Japanese is a language full of adorable onomatopoeia, and patapata represents the fluttering sound made by bird or butterfly wings, and looking at the soft blousy folds it’s easy to see where the name came from.

I used the pink bubble side of my adorable whale obi, along with a sweet multi-floral black komon kimono. The outfit felt a little too boring as-is, so I pulled out a bright pink haneri and lace shawl to complete the look while making sure nothing distracted from the adorable obi bow.

If you’d like to learn to tie patapata musubi yourself, here is the video I followed! I love Sunao’s videos, they’re very clear and the English subtitles are very well-written.

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Back to Basics

I’ve been doing a lot of fancy and non-traditional kitsuke lately, and was itching to get back to kimono basics, if you will. Just an elegant, simple coordination. No fuss, no muss. I also realised I’ve been sticking to more Western colour coordinations, doing things that look “right” in my head and not necessarily keeping kimono colour rules in mind.

With that at the forefront of my mind, I decided it was high time I coordinate this beautiful pale pink nagoya obi I got earlier this summer. My original instinct was to stick with pastels, but I pushed through and paired it with this rich blue houmongi instead. I love the contrast, and the soft genteel obi pairs so well with the very delicate shading on the botan of the kimono. Red and blue accessories helped pull it all together cohesively.

My next thought for this obi is a black-based kimono. I really love how it pops against darker, richer colours. It’s technically not formal enough for kurotomesode, but because it’s got a metallic pearly-silver sheen to it, I think I can make it work! Maybe I should do that next week. Less folding to do if I use the same obi two outfits in a row 😉

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A Prayer for the Amazon

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Amazon is burning. This is an unprecedented tragedy of incomprehensible proportions. Indigenous peoples and native animal species are dying, and what is essentially the lungs of our planet is shrinking dramatically every day.

I know it doesn’t make a lick of difference, but kitsuke makes me feel better in overwhelming times like this. I’ve done it when people I’ve admired have passed away, and I did it when Notre Dame burnt and that didn’t have nearly the global significance these fires are having.

Green would have been the obvious choice, and my initial instinct; but then I thought of the lush, gorgeous foliage on my basho-leaf houmongi. I went with more bright pinks and then a green-leaning turquoise because it feels joyous and hopeful, something we all desperately need right now.

If, like me, you’re feeling scared and helpless and looking for a way to help, I urge you to consider donating to one of the charities working on the ground in the Amazon. After some research and checking with the Charity Navigator, I feel comfortable suggesting any of the following groups. If you know of any other reliable charities, or have information that these may not be ideal to donate to, please leave a comment.

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