Jorogumo – Yokai Halloween 2018

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I’m fairly certain that to most people, Jorogumo is the creepiest of the alluring yokai I’ve chosen to feature in this project. A spider who can shape-shift into a beautiful woman to ensnare young men and feed off them is pretty terrifying, even if you’re not arachnophobic.

I have several friends who have done some absolutely stunning and very creepy Jorogumo outfits, complete with terrifyingly detailed makeup. I wanted to come at this with a more “normal” and ultimately wearable kitsuke that evoked things in a more subtle way.

Of course, I had to start with my spider obi. I’ve mentioned this before but I have such a love/hate relationship with this obi. It was the first piece I bought here in Montreal, and it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I love the rough, textured feel of it, and of course the spiders. But it’s SUCH a pain to tie. The spiders are in locations that make it difficult to tie while keeping them visible both on the tare and the tesaki, and the texture makes it grip to itself in a way that makes it virtually impossible to adjust once I’ve wrapped it. But man, it’s so worth the effort!

The kimono is one of the pieces I bought at the bazaar over the weekend; it’s technically a motif of branches and fall foliage, but it feels like a spider-web, and the leaves are a nice callback to the leaves caught in the webs on the obi. It’s in rough shape, but it was easy enough to work with on the mannequin. I’ll repair it sooner or later. I attached a single spider patch to the front and I actually think this was quite effective. It blends in well with the kimono pattern and feels very natural.

Of course, I had to use my spider haneri, and some olive-green accessories tied everything together. I used a fun little spider ring as an obi-kazari because there’s never too many spiders.

Items used in this coordination

 

This is Hallowe’en, everybody make a scene!

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I was invited to a party on October 30th this year, and I figured it was high time I broke out my Gothic Landscape houmongi. I’d originally wanted to wear it with my crow obi but I still haven’t had the opportunity to repair it. Oops! I figured in the spirit of all things Creepy and Spooky, I’d see about pairing it up with my spider obi instead. I’ve been hesitant about this combo since the kimono and the obi are so close in colour, but my salvation arrived in the mail on the Thursday before the party, in a boxful of shigoki obi. A splash of red was the perfect way to visually separate the two pieces as well as tie in the leaves on the obi. It also helped that one of the shigoki had tassels in the exact same shade as the glorious spiderweb haneri from Naomi.

I decided to further emphasize the spooky theme of the ensemble with accessories – I made myself a cute little hairband with black feathers, a raggedy purple “veil” and a sparkly little spider. I used some of the same tulle from the veil to make a big puffy bow to stick in my obi. Unfortunately, I spent nearly two hours in the car before I was able to get these photos, so my obi musubi has gotten sort of squished and lopsided 🙁

Having fun (after a few drinks) with some of the awesome decorations.

A close up of the amazing spider haneri

I even did my nails to suit the theme. Orange with black spiders and rhinestones! Again, I had fun wit the decorations for this pic

The party was a huge blast. Unfortunately, I had to get out of the kimono around 2 in the morning. I’d been drinking and going to the bathroom was starting to become a challenge! It also started snowing pretty profusely that night and I was worried about ruining my kimono on the way home.

Purple Net Tsukesage/Komon – a.k.a The Town Bicycle.

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Courtesy of UrbanDictionary (link potentially not safe for work, do not click if in public, or easily offended)

A girl that is like a bike that belongs to the town – everybody gets a ride

You’re probably wondering what that quote could possibly have to do with kimono. I promise, I have not gone off the deep end. I use the term to refer to a kimono or obi that goes with nearly everything. Sort of a surefire go-to piece when you’ve got a particularly busy or awkward item you want to wear. It gets a lot of use, but never complains, never gets worn out, and is always up to the task. When it comes to kimono, my “town bicycle” has to be my purple tsukesage-komon with the woven fishnet pattern.

When I found it online, the photos were not the best. It looked like a solid, dove-grey kimono with an interesting design on the front okumi panel and the sleeves. I still thought it was lovely and versatile, so I bought it. Imagine my shock when I opened the package to find a beautiful ivory kimono with woven deep plum patterns, flecked with silver.

It’s much prettier in person than I ever would have guessed, but from a distance it still reads as a neutral, and a solid colour. This makes it amazingly versatile. It’s non-seasonal (though it’s lined, so not something I could pull off in the summer), has just enough sparkle and drama to be able to dress it up, but is simple enough to be dressed down too. It also makes a great “frame” for particularly special obi that I want to highlight.

Paired with my koinobori obi and mint-green accessories, at a toy convention organized by my work.

Paired with my spider obi and dark purple accessories.

Vintage vibe, modern fit!

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Last week I managed to snag an amazing deal. In this entry I mentioned that the best thing a big girl like myself can do is to buy items that fit. Imagine my shock when I found a brand new, synthetic, washable komon that fits me quite well, and has a great vintage vibe to it. Not only that, but it was marked down to $9.85! It arrived in a week, which is even more awesome.

I decided to pair it up with my spider obi – I’d forgotten what a pain in the butt that thing is to tie. Thankfully, my father is patient, kind, and always willing to lend a hand or two when I’m having trouble with my obi. I realized that the mauve on my new embroidred obiage tied into the stripes very nicely, so I decided to use that too.

My dad helped me align my obi so there are three awesome, adorable spiders visible. The tare is a bit long, but that was an intentional decision for optimum spiderosity. Yes, spiderosity is totally a word.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with this outfit. I think maybe an embroidred haneri of some sort might increase the vintage feel, but the white works fine for the time being.

Bonus: I had to kick someone out of “his” chair before taking the pictures. He was not amused.

The not-so-itsy-bitsy spider

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As anyone who reads this blog regularly has probably noticed, I have a fondness for quirky, odd, or unexpected motifs. Flowers are pretty but unless they’re really bold or interesting, don’t usually grab my eye. Birds I could take or leave. Put a skeleton, or a jellyfish, or insects of some sort on a kimono and I am making obsessive grabby-hands within nanoseconds.

There is only one shop in Montreal that sells real kimono and obi, and the first time I went there I browsed and didn’t find too much that grabbed me. The owner, Mrs. Uchiyama, pointed me towards a bin of obi that were on sale, after she realized I was actually looking for kimono to wear, not “pretty brocade” to use as home decor. That’s where I found this baby.

As soon as I saw it, I had to have it. The spiders are just so adorable and goofy-looking.

The obi itself is a really interesting texture, it’s a single layer but definitely heavy weight, a sort of raw slubbed silk. The spider webs and leaves are painted on, and then the spiders are embroidered over top of that. It’s fukuro width, but doesn’t exactly feel formal to me, due to the rough nature of the base silk.

I’ve only worn it once, sadly. It needs to get more exposure and I’m hoping I’ll have somewhere else to wear it in the near future. I paired it up with my purple net pattern tsukesage, the same one I wore with my koinobori obi. It’s a great, versatile kimono that serves as a showcase for interesting obi.

Please forgive the blousy mess my kimono is making here, it shifted while I was setting up the camera and tripod.

So what do you prefer? Traditional motifs, geometrics, or like me, are you a sucker for the weirder things in life?