Hakata and momiji chuuya obi

I’ve professed my love for hakata obi many times before, and I’ve been lusting after unique, vintage chuuya (night-and-day reversible) obi for a bit now. When this one came up on eBay I was positive it would shoot out of my price range, especially since I was preparing for a trip to New York City and couldn’t afford any big-ticket items.

With a day left and barely any bidding, I figured I’d have to toss out a little bid, but I was really resigned to saying goodbye to this beauty. I guess the universe was feeling sorry for me because I picked it up for a song.

One side is a stunning, delicate yuzen-dyed momiji (turning maple) motif on indigo-purple diamonds. A few of the more visible leaves also have a bit of embroidery along the veining, which is a really pretty and delicate touch. The inverse is a lush burnt orange hakata weave, and both sides are incredibly lush.

It does have a slight bit of age-related patina, but it’s nearly invisible except under direct close-up flash photography. It’s wonderfully wearable, and I think it will go very well with the irotomesode I just received.

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Momiji and Hakata chuuya

Orizuru Haori

I’ve already posted photos of me wearing this particular item, but it really needs a proper entry to showcase it. Shinei was having a huge sale and I saw this and really fell in love with it. In the photos, it looked like a modern piece – heavy silk, relatively “standard” proportions. When it arrived I was shocked at how old it was it was, evident in the length of both the body and the sleeves, as well as the brightly patterned lining. It’s incredibly lush and thick, and the cranes are so vivid. The lining is also exceptional. I am not generally fond of karako (stylized playing children) but since it’s mostly hidden I am actually quite fond of them in this case. I love the ridiculously vivid linings on vintage haori.

Orizuru Haori

Orizuru Haori

Orizuru Haori

Orizuru Haori

Vintage pink ume komon outfit

With all the new things I’ve been buying lately, a lot of older pieces I never had the opportunity to wear have been sitting around neglected. Today I decided to remedy that, and discovered (much to my dismay) that I’ve gained so much weight lately due to sloth and massive water retention that a lot of these things just don’t fit me very well anymore. In this case, my loss is Naomi‘s gain, I know she loves this piece and it will definitely fit her better, so into the giveaway pile it goes.

That being said, I’m glad I managed to wear it for a few photos at least, because it’s such an incredibly fun and gorgeous piece. There’s a tiny bit of green accent on the plum branches, so I decided to emphasize that with a green hakata obi, green haneri, and some new geta with sexy green hanao.

[AFG_gallery id=’39’]

I also dressed a little unconventionally today – it was my first time using an eri-sugata (easy collar) and a susuyoke (half skirt) rather than a full juban. It worked really well because the kimono was so snug, the bulk of the juban was making it impossible to fit. I also love how easy it is to get the collar of the eri-sugata nice and low! It’s sort of sad that I know I’ll never be able to wear this kimono out, but I’m glad I finally got off my butt and put it on, and I’m glad it’s going to someone who will be able to wear it.

A Thousand Paper Cranes

I have mentioned the tradition of Senbazuru, or the act of making one thousand paper cranes to grant a wish before, and mentioned that I had an outfit in mind for that obi, but I was waiting for something. That something was a gigantic box of awesome from my dear darling Naomi and today that box arrived. I am going to be a busy blogger for the next few days, but here’s a little teaser.

One of the things from this box I was most eager for was the black haori with the orizuru (origami cranes) motif. My origami skills are lacklustre, to say the least, but I wanted to put together an outfit as a show of solidarity and hope for Japan. I will be taking better photos of the jacket soon but I was so excited to put the whole outfit together that I decided to do it today. There were a lot of modern dressing aids in the box too, and I thought they would save me a huge amount of time and effort. Boy, was I wrong! I think actually making a thousand paper cranes would have been less stressful and exhausting than the harrowing experience that was getting dressed today. In the end I broke down and did everything the old-fashioned way, and it worked out eventually. It may have been a hassle but I really like the way it turned out.

[AFG_gallery id=’40’]

Vintage Irotomesode-komon hybrid

When I saw the listing for this item, I fell hard and fast in love. The late Meiji/Early Taisho style designs around the hem looked so soft and gorgeous, the varied-width stripe rinzu silk was awesome, and I found the small scattered pattern combined with the hem design really unique. I was expecting people to fight for it, but somehow it slipped under the radar and I got it for a great price.

It’s quite small, but I expected that. I will be able to wear it for photos but I don’t think I’ll be comfortable wearing it out of the house, sadly. However, as a conversation piece it’s pretty priceless. Nowadays kimono fall staunchly into very specific categories ranging from informal komon with all-over patterns to very formal tomesode with designs only below the knees, usually with a crest. This one somehow manages to be both. Before World War II, kimono were worn much more frequently and it was more common to see ones that blurred or outright crossed these formality lines, but I’d never seen one that was a combination of such blatantly different designs.

Another interesting aspect of it is that the motifs (peony, narcissus, and nandina) are very Spring season-specific. It’s a formal crested kimono, generally these tend to have more celebratory or all-season motifs, to prevent the need from owning too many. Anyone who could afford to have a formal, crested kimono that could only be worn for a month (possibly two) out of the year clearly had an appreciation for the finer things in life, and the finances to back that up.

The auction listing showed this as a standard indigo blue, so I was more than a little confused when I opened the package and a purple kimono fell out. I saw the rinzu stripes and the little leaves and knew it was the right item, but it’s a completely different colour. I don’t mind at all though – I’ve wanted a dark purple kimono for a very long time but they usually go for much higher prices. The yuzen work on the hem is also even more soft and delicate than the auction pictures had led me to believe. It’s a gorgeous piece, and my only complaint is that I like it even more than I thought I would so I am sad that it doesn’t fit me very well.

Irotomeosode-Komon Hybrid

Irotomeosode-Komon Hybrid