Showa-ing Off

Sometimes it amazes me how small the online kimono enthusiast community can be. A while back I was browsing eBay and saw a bundle of some pieces I really liked for sale by a local seller. I reached out to them to ask if they’d be willing to offer local (but socially distanced!) pick-up and about an hour later I get a Facebook message from my friend Sasa, asking if the message was from me!  😆

One of the main reasons I wanted the bundle was this particular kimono; it reminds me very much of the first “big loss” I ever had on eBay, the first time I truly fell in love with a piece and was outbid in the last few seconds. It’s got a very distinct mid-late Showa era feel to it, the bold colours contrasting against a very soft background, the fantastical floral motifs that almost feel inspired by 60s psychedelia. I chose to pair it with this slightly older obi that echoes the teal-green foliage and has hints of a pale peachy pink that ties in to the kimono background.

I really love how well it all ties together. The obijime is an utterly perfect match for the kimono, and the red obiage provides just enough punch while echoing the bold red tones in the kimono designs. The soft kimono and bold obi contrast very well and the whole thing just feels very mid/late Showa era. I’m quite pleased!

Items used in this coordination

Touches of Gold

(There’s some personal emotional garbage as well as an attempt at explaining the lack of content lately at the bottom of this entry. Feel free to skip it if you’re just here for the pretties.)

My lovely friend Maral was helping someone destash some kimono and I fell in love with this green odori piece as well as a gorgeous purple and white obi that will make an appearance sooner or later. Everything about this piece makes me happy; the colour, the bridge, the willow branches, and the size. It’s deceptively large!

I decided I really wanted to play up the warm orange and touches of gold in the kimono. I used my black shishi obi to help anchor the coordination and bring in even more metallic accents, and the red obiage to tie in the red date-eri that was already sewn into the kimono. My initial instinct was a white and gold haneri but I defaulted to this yellow chirimen one that I use way too often, because somehow despite being the colour of stale mustard it seems to go with almost everything.

This outfit is quite straightforward compared to a lot of what I’ve been doing lately, but there’s a lot to be said for the classics. The whole coordination feels balanced, and just flashy enough. It’s also sort of accidentally Christmas colours, which works well because it’ll be on the mannequin over the holidays. It wasn’t intentional, but let’s pretend it was.

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If you’re reading this far, thank you. The past month or so has been rough, you guys. I was supposed to spend my birthday (Nov 16) and American Thanksgiving with my dude but then my household got exposed to the virus that shall not be named and we all had to quarantine for two weeks. As we were dealing with the aftermath of that, we lost my grandmother. She’d been ill for quite a long time and it’s a relief to know she’s not suffering anymore, but considering I was going through some emotionally messy garbage before all this happened, you can imagine how I was feeling afterwards. However, we’ve buried my grandmother’s ashes and she’s at peace, and barring another exposure incident I will be spending Christmas with Keith so I’m starting to feel better finally. I should have much more new content and a more regular update schedule in the new year. 💕

G is for Gosho-Guruma

Gosho-guruma, 御所車図, Imperial Carts

Confession time: these representations of the carts used by imperial nobles are quite possibly one of my least-favourite kimono motifs. To me they look like deformed marshmallows. Because of that, using gosho-guruma as today’s word for the letter G didn’t even occur to me at first. But then I remembered I have this one kimono I love, despite the motifs. I guess the fact that they’re partially hidden behind lovely flowers helps a lot!

I’ve been wanting to see how this kimono looks with this particular orange obi ever since I bought it. I think it’s perfect for this particular coordination, since it’s very low-contrast against the kimono, which helps make the cart motifs the main feature. I pulled out accessory colours from the floral arrangements in front of the carts. I’m not sure how well this particular obijime works, but I don’t hate it. I just think it might have been better with a more muted one to match the low-contrast feel of the rest of the ensemble.

Overall I think I did a good job of featuring a motif I am not fond of! That’s the important part.

Items used in this coordination

I’m back!

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your patience, support, and faith in me. It’s been a very long few months. As you may know, my bedroom flooded a few months back. Mercifully, my kimono are stored in a separate room upstairs, so they were safe. But my life got turned quite upside-down while my room was being renovated and restored. Then the holidays hit, and as I’ve mentioned before, I work in a toy store so things get very hectic around then. To top things all off, I somehow forgot to put my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication in my pill organiser at the end of December. If anyone’s gone off anti-depressants cold turkey, you know how rough it can be. I did that without even realising what I’d done wrong, so January was a very, very hard month for me.

Thankfully, that’s all behind me now. My room is complete, work has definitely quieted down, and my medication is stable again. I knew it was time to get back into the swing of things and start blogging properly again.

I received this gorgeous kimono as a birthday gift from Sophie back in November, and I think it was the perfect piece to use to celebrate my return. I love the variety of colour and pattern, and I’m always a sucker for black-based kimono that aren’t kurotomesode. It came with the red date-eri already attached, so using more red accessories was a no-brainer. I felt that the orange and gold obi had a similar showa-fabulous vibe, and the colours are very harmonious. It’s not a risky or adventurous coordination by any means, but it works well.

Honestly, I was worried I’d be rusty and out of practice, but kitsuke really is like riding a bicycle. After a few minutes, the muscle memory just takes over.

I also have some exciting news to share. Costume-Con 38 is taking place here in Montreal next month and I will be doing three panels; two kimono dressing workshops and one lecture on the history and evolution of kimono. If you’ll be attending, I’d love to see you!

Thank you again if you’ve stuck around during my little break, I really do appreciate the support. <3

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Showa Fabulous Christmas in July

It’s still hotter than the surface of the sun here in Montreal, but I was determined to see if I could turn my han-darari tsuke obi into a passable fukura suzume bow in preparation for the Otakuthon fashion show. I figured while I had the mannequin and obi out, I may as well go all-in and change her outfit. This isn’t going to be a full outfit in the show but it’s good practice and visualisation for something that’s in the works.

The obi has such a gorgeously shiny showa fabulous feel to it that it felt like the perfect time to bust out my precious post-war kiku houmongi. I went with gold, red, and green accessories, and while I worried initially that the outfit would feel Christmassy, it actually worked out really well. Besides, Christmas in July might help me feel a little bit cooler!

As for the obi experiment, it definitely worked in theory. I just need a few more himo to make things a little tidier, but I’ll definitely be able to pull it off properly for the show on a real model, and I’m thrilled.

Items used in this coordination