Let’s Celebrate the New Era of Reiwa!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new era in Japan. Emperor Akihito abidcated the throne at the end of April, paving the way for his son Naruhito to ascend to the throne. This ushered in the end of the Heisei era and the beginning of the Reiwa era. There will be a week of celebrations of all sorts, but when I saw that they had announced a special colour palette for the event, I knew I had to do a coordination to celebrate. The three celebratory colours are ume (plum), sumire (violet), and sakura (pink).  They  were  chosen  because  they  are  all  traditional  spring  flowers,  and  also because  they  are  mentioned  in  the  Manyoshu,  Japan’s  oldest  recorded  poetry  that  served  as  inspiration  for  the  new era’s  name.

I knew right away that my beloved peony furisode would be absolutely perfect for this outfit, since it features all three colours already. A white-based obi with delicate pink accents gave the outfit a bit of visual rest, since the kimono itself is quite busy and bold. I chose more pink and purple accessories to reinforce the theme and went with a classically feminine but modern styling.

To me, this outfit is the perfect way to usher in what will hopefully be a new era of peace, cooperation, equality, and prosperity for Japan.

Items used in this coordination

Pastel Pearl-fection!

I bought this pearl ribbon thing a while back with the intention of using it in kitsuke and somehow never got around to it. When I was looking for an inspirational jumping-off point for today’s outfit I remembered I still had them and decided to work off that.

Pearls, to me, needed a really sweet and feminine outfit, so it was time to bust out this gorgeous blue furisode with pink accents again.  I went with the solid deep rose side of my sakura chuuya obi, and decided to use the pearls as something between an obijime and a pattern itself. I really like how this looks! I also covered up a pink embroidered haneri with more pearls because sometimes more is more. The obi provides a bit of visual weight to an otherwise very light and airy kimono. Previously, all the coordinations I’ve done with this piece have been with white or silver based obi, and it’s pretty cool to see how different it feels with something richer and more colourful.

I also had fun improvising the obi musubi, it sort of looks like a cross between a fukura suzume and a han-darari. It feels very sweet and youthful, and took advantage of this soft, floppy obi well I think. A few more rose and white accessories just pulled the whole thing into a really pretty, girly, cohesive outfit.

Items used in this coordination

The Finnish-Ing Touch

Recently, a friend posted that she was going to be de-cluttering her collection and generously giving some of her pieces away. I fell in love with the rich green colour and charming, almost naive design of this houmongi, and somehow managed to claim it before anyone else did. After nearly a month in transit (what is it with me and mail delays lately?!) it finally arrived safe and sound, and I couldn’t wait until I was able to do something with it.

I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, because of where I got it, but there’s something that genuinely feels very Finnish to me about it. It reminds me of some Marimekko designs, or possibly the background of something drawn by Tove Jansson, Can you not picture a Moomin hiding behind one of the trees?

While it will definitely look wonderful with a more classical, elegant coordination (I’m looking forward to pairing it with my gold Tokaido fukuro obi in the future), I knew that initially I really wanted to play up the fun and quirky quality of it. This tachibana obi seemed like a good choice, since it’s got an almost naive, storybook style to it. Pink accessories made the light pink trees in the hem pop, and a gold kasane-eri was the perfect finishing touch to break up all the heavy green up top. I really love how this all came together, and I hope Jenni thinks I did it justice!

Items used in this coordination

Hinamatsuri 2019!

Today is Hinamatsuri (雛祭, doll festival, girl’s day), a day for girls to celebrate, to set up an ornate display of dolls inspired by Heian emperor and empress, and to wish for love and health in the future. I don’t have a proper set of dolls, but I do like to do a small DIY every year and celebrate by making a sweet, girly coordination on the mannequin.

This year I wanted to feature this green obi with pastel designs, and thought this blush pink houmongi with sagara embroidery of a shifuku (silk pouch to protect tea ceremony tools) with a rabbit on it would be perfect. It’s adorable and feminine and the colours play off the obi so well. Rabbits are also commonly used to represent people in their hina-matsuri doll displays, representing a young girl’s wish for a large family when she grows up. The whole outfit feels sweet, girly, and spring-like, which is exactly what I was going for. The blue beaded obijime was chosen to echo the texture of the embroidery on the kimono, and I tied it in a wisteria knot just because I think it looks pretty.

And of course, I couldn’t let hinamatsuri pass without doing some sort of DIY display. I’ve done origami, perler beads, nanoblocks, and illustration. This year I decided to do some adorable sashiko!

Items used in this coordination

Valentine Redux

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating with a partner, family, friends, a beloved pet, or just loving yourself today, I hope you’re having a great day.

I wanted to do yet another obnoxiously girly coordinate and was inspired by my previous Valentine’s Day colour combo but wanted to add a bit more flair. I’d also been itching to do a more kimono-hime style outfit.

Lately there’s been a lovely trend of slightly exposing juban with really sweet pleated chiffon hems, and while I don’t own one of those (yet), this textured while skirt with lace accents worked a charm. I also used one of the skirt’s tiers to fake extra sleeve layers, and love how they look. Especially now that the mannequin has arms!

I also re-used a lot of the lace I’d initially bought for the Princess Tiana coordination, and I think it pops so well against the black kimono. The pink lace shawl has a very similar texture and ties in to the obi perfectly, as well as echoing the layered pink and white collars I used. A shiny silver and pink brooch used as an obidome completes the look. This outfit is still sweet and romantic, but I think that with the black base it feels a little edgier, and I love that.

Items used in this coordination