Montreal ToyCon October 2010

So as some of you may know, I work in just about the coolest toy store in the universe and twice a year we organze a toy convention. I usually use it as an excuse to wear kimono, and this year was no exception. I’ve been wanting to wear all these pieces for a long time now, and I’m so glad everything came together so well. The kimono is way too small so I could not swing an ohashori, but it’s a casual enough outfit that I think it’s sort of irrelevant.

I decided to pair up the purple yabane I bought last year in Boulder with the meisen haori I bought this year. I paired them up with black and yellow accessories; a black obi with yellow, purple, and orange karabana, the same yellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime I wear with pretty much everything lately, a pretty black haneri from Naomi, crazy black weiner dog tabi from Kansai_Gal, and my new moon-shaped obidome. I feel like this is a very cohesive outfit, every colour is echoed on at least one other item, so it all ties together well.

And a close-up of the best tabi ever:

If anyone needs further evidence that my job is indeed incredibly awesome, one of the cosplayers at the con allowed me to wear his handmade Ghostbusters Proton Pack and take a few photos. It was surprisingly comfy, even with the obi!

In the dealer’s room, I found an awesome little bit of nostalgia – the original Crystal Swift Wind, She-Ra’s mangical flying unicorn/pegasus. I had one of these when I was a little girl, but the plastic was thin and brittle, and someone (most likely me) stepped on her at some point and she shattered. Unfortunately, she was way out of my budget for the day, especially for a used toy, so I had to say my goodbyes. But not before getting a picture of me pouting with her.

Thanks for looking! If you’d like to see pictures of the convention itself, there is an album on my Facebook that is viewable by following that link.

Hey, hey, wait a minute, Mister Postman!

Sometimes, I suspect the mail carriers in this area really dislike me. I’m constantly getting big packages. Today, I really surpassed myself with three separate deliveries! One, a book called When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan, arrived in the regular post and I will be writing a review of it when I have time to read it properly. First impressions are very positive though.

The other packages were larger, and more unwieldy, and the mail carrier was kind enough to leave them with my neighbours since I was at the cardiologist. Getting home was like having an unexpected birthday, or Christmas come early! So much pretty stuff! Since there are so many things included here, I have used smaller-than-usual photographs. Please click on them to view big versions, they will open in a new window.

Black zori with red chirimen accents

One of the few things I actually truly needed was another pair of casual, comfortable zori. Nearly all the footwear I owned prior to this was very dressy, all in shiny metallic vinyl or silk brocade. These fit nicely and I absolutely love the colour combo and the little chirimen silk insert in the stacked heel. They were a total bargain at $10!

Grey purse with kiku and black trim

This purse, and the one below it, were being sold by one of the sellers I regularly buy kimono from. They’re modern, and made of heavy denim-like cotton, but the designs are definitely kimono-inspired. This one in particular I can definitely see using every day. I love the contrast of the soft, girly fabric and the hard leatherette and metal details.

Red purse with ume and cream trim

This purse was bought at the same time as the previous one. It’s much bigger than I anticipated (I suspect the measurements listed were off), but definitely no complaints there! It’s fun and bright and while I don’t anticipate using it every day, it will definitely be a way to add a splash of colour and personality to a quiet outfit, either kimono or western clothing.

Now comes the find of the month, a bundle of five vintage obi for a total of twelve dollars (plus S&H). They were listed as “scrap fabric,” but as you’ll see four of them are completely wearable as-is, and the fifth one I am going to attempt to salvage and turn into a two-part easy obi.

Vintage cream nagoya obi with fans, thread spindles, and flowers

This is the main reason I bid on the bundle in the first place. I am just head over heels in love with this obi. The colours and style of yuzen make me suspect it’s late Taisho or early Showa, and even if it’s not it still evokes the feel nicely. I plan to wear it with my indigo Taisho houmongi sometime soon.

Mustard obi with flowers

I openly admit I am not very fond of the base colour of this obi, it’s a sort of a strange gold/mustard, but the woven flowers are very pretty and versatile, so I’m sure I will find a good use for it.

Cream obi with orange and silver waves

I’ve wanted something with a smooth wave motif for a while now, and this more than satisfies my urge. It’s vibrant and graphic and I like it very much.

White obi with red and gold flowers

The auction photos really didn’t do this one justice. It looked like a cute but relatively boring obi with some gold weaving and round dots. In person, both the gold and the red have such a rich silky shimmer to them that they look like rubies set in gold filigree.

Blue obi with herons

This was dubbed the Narwhal Bird Obi by my friend Kansai_Gal and I can totally see why XD. Unfortunately, it’s also the obi that is severely damaged – the silk is shredded to ribbons right above the folded area where the main heron is. Hopefully, I will be able to carefully cut it and sew it into a two-part obi. I will record my attempts and write an entry about that sometime in the near future. If worse comes to worst, I will simply turn it into haneri and possibly an obiage. The fabric will get used, one way or another.

New kimono and obi

It’s difficult to get everything I own catalogued when I keep buying new things! Nothing terribly exciting to see here, just posting reference photos of some of the new komon and hakata obi I’ve acquired recently. I also got a new iromuji not long ago, but since I haven’t catalogued my other iromuji yet, I plan to just do them all together.

Taisho Pink Ume Komon


This is a gorgeous vintage piece. It’s covered in thick ume branches and sweet flowers, a few of which are outlined in gold and silver. I snagged this for an amazing price, due to a few unfortunate water spots on the front. They’re not terribly visible, and I’m going to look into removing them eventually.

Purple Lamé Komon


This is the kimono I wore here, so yes, if you’re a regular reader (thank you!) you’ve seen it before. It’s a bit of a weird thing, being heavy lined synthetic, but covered in high-summer motifs. If you can’t be warm, at least you can think warm!

Striped Mauve Komon


This is the kimono I wore here. It’s a nice, big, synthetic piece that has an old feel to it. Cute multi-season designs of kiku (chrysanthemum), sakura (cherry blossom), and yukiwa (snow crystal design).

Pink and White Hakata Obi


A sweet pale pink and white hakata fukuro obi that I got for a steal, due to a few spots of rust discolouration on the ends. I figure so long as it’s tied in something other than otaiko musubi, it won’t ever be visible. Haven’t worn it yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

Reversible Red and White Hakata



Two, two, two obi in one! One side is a gorgeous, dramatic white-on-red hakata, and the other is a great versatile bright red with gold, silver, and white diamonds and various designs. I’m shocked this didn’t sell for more, and thrilled that I won it.

Indigo Girl

I’d been waffling about buying a Taisho-era indigo piece for a while when this came up on Ichiroya, and while it was a bit more than I usually pay for kimono, the colour, size, and condition of it were all worth the investment in my mind. This is a houmongi with era-typical long sleeves and a beautiful, multiseasonal floral design. It’s got branches of ume (plum blossom), iris, botan (peony), and bamboo around the hem, and a bold, graphic stem of tachibana, which is probably my favourite floral motif. I love how squishy and fun they look!

It also has some gorgeous, lush embroidery on some of the geometric designs

However, I think one of my favourite things about this kimono is probably one of the most subtle. Woven directly into the fabric, before the dyeing process was started, is a gorgeous red and gold windowpane plaid. You’d never see detailing like this on a modern houmongi, as nowadays that sort of design is considered strictly informal. Naomi wrote a great piece on the qualities of indigo dye, and the transitional phenomenon of putting stripes (which are very casual by modern standards) on more formal kimono. It’s a trend I think is beautiful and needs to come back into vogue.

I’ve worn this kimono once, but only inside the yard, as I’m a little worried about wearing such an old piece out and about. Maybe one day when the right time and place come up, I will do so. I chose to pair it with a late-Showa era obi, which may seem odd but the clouds, grasses, and colours just seemed perfect with it. The obiage and obijime were a gift from a friend, and bring out the soft blue and olive tones in the kimono perfectly. For a vintage feel, I chose some burnt paulownia geta instead of zori.

Black Taisho bridal furisode

This is probably one of the jewels of my collection; a black-based, five crested bridal hikizuri. The hem is padded but it is too short for me to wear trailing, so I wear it as a normal furisode. I came across it on eBay and couldn’t bear to risk getting involved in a bidding war. Thankfully there was a reasonable Buy It Now option so I just went for it.

It’s not in the best condition, some of the gold couching is coming off and one of the sleeves was a bit detached when it arrived, but it doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the piece. I have fixed the sleeve, and am looking for someone who can fix the couching. The embroidery and details on it are breathtaking. I have never seen such lush, textured needlework before.

I chose to pair it up with a green and gold hakata obi and orange and green accessories. I love this outfit. It’s a shame I do not feel comfortable wearing such an old and delicate piece out, nor do I have anywhere formal enough for it to be appropriate.

Items used in this coordination