Shishi Overload!

This kimono is eventually going to live with Naomi, since it’s got some of her favourite motifs and colours and will never, ever fit me, but I really wanted to have a little more fun with it before I sent it off to its new home.

Typically overloading on the same motif in the kimono and the obi isn’t ideal, but when has that sort of thing ever stopped me? I just wanted to do a full-on shishi overload! Despite the obi’s neutral black base, I wasn’t sure if they’d work together, but think the almost shocking contrast of the blue-and-red accessories managed to bring cohesion to the outfit.

I was also reminded how ridiculously short this obi is when I pulled a muscle in my back trying to tie it. I have skills, you guys. I had the same issues with it while doing the Gryffindor outfit, but I conveniently forgot about all that. One day I’ll likely end up turning it into a tsuke-obi to make it less of a pain (literally) in the future, but at least I got it to look the way I wanted it in the meantime.

#monoKimono Challenge – Warm Brown

If I’m being completely honest, when I embarked on the #monokimono challenge I had no real plans to do a brown coordination. Brown felt so blah and boring to me. And then I ended up with this stunning warm brown Taisho-era houmongi and all that changed. I’ve coordinated it three or four times already this year and here I am, doing it again. It’s just so pretty and soft.

My plan was intially to use my brown iromuji as a sort of dounuki, an extra inner layer. But the colours are so identical it didn’t really add anything visually, and the sleeves are so much shorter that it looked odd, so I just scrapped that plan. I’d never used this particular obi before and thought it would be a good time to feature it, since it’s got the same subdued, dusty feeling as the kimono and the brown tones are an excellent match. What I didn’t realise, however, is that it’s a hikinuki obi. Hikinuki obi are meant to be tied in a different way and the pattern on the drum is upside-down. Normally they’re much bolder designs, since they’re often used for quick changes by stage performers. This is by far the most “boring” hikinuki I’ve ever seen. I did manage to get it tied with the design the right way up though! It just took a little more fussing than I’m used to. A few more brown accessories finished things off. I only have one brown-based haneri and it’s much more modern and bold in feeling and looked out of place, so I went with basic white.

Only one month of monochrome kimono to go, and a much bolder outfit inn the works for December.

Items used in this coordination

Okiku – Yokai Halloween 2018

Okiku‘s story is one of the most tragic and, despite being hundreds of years old, still incredibly relevant today. She was a beautiful young woman who was a servant and dishwasher at Himeji castle. A retainer named Aoyama wanted her for his lover but she refused. Eventually he framed her for losing a prized plate and said he would not report it to their master if she agreed to be with him. Still, she refused. He resorted to beating her and repeatedly dunking her in the will and yet she still refused. Eventually his rage and fury took over and he stabbed her with his sword and dropped her body into the well.

Her vengeful ghost haunted the castle, looking for the missing dish, and tormented Aoyama until the lord called a priest to the palace to deal with the situation. He pretended to have found the missing dish and Okiku’s ghost was finally able to rest.

Okiku is a woman’s name derived from Kiku, or Chrysanthemum, so I chose this kimono both for its subtle vintage feel and the kiku motif repeated on it. Same for the haneri. I wanted a sort of dusty, ethereal feel for the coordination. Initially I had another obi in mind, but I found this one at the bazaar over the weekend and fell head-over-heels for it and was determined to feature it sometime soon. The motif on it is technically mirrors, but you have to admit that they look very much like fancy plates, which tied in perfectly with Okiku’s story. At first I was worried it would be too bold against the muted kimono but I think it adds just the right amount of drama. It also helps to bring out the teal-green foliage accents among the flowers.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes bonus of Vinnie, since he hasn’t made a guest appearance here in a while.

Items used in this coordination

#MonoKimono Challenge – Plummy & Crabby

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done an outfit on the mannequin, hasn’t it? Between events, injuries, heat waves… it just got sort of pushed to the wayside. But I was determined to keep going with the monoKimono challenge this weekend!

A dear friend sent me this kimono a few weeks back, and since it’s a beautiful solid colour I knew it would be great for a monochrome outfit. Problem is, it’s that very difficult shade of royal purple that kimono fans all know intimately; it’s hard to coordinate, it’s hard to photograph. Even the catalogue photo of it looks a bit off, since I had to process it to make the kimono colour accurate.

The only obi I had that was in the same cool-toned range was my beloved crustacean chuuya obi, so that was a done deal. Rather than try to hide the orange accents in the obi, I figured I’d use them as a pop of contrast and emphasize it with the accessories. The outfit still feels primarily monochrome, but the brighter salmon tones help break it up and keep it visually interesting. The haneri is a lighter shade of purple, but I think it still works well and echoes the white in the obi. Overall, the outfit is even more successful than I thought it would be, which pleases me immensely.

Items used in this coordination

 

Kurotome & Jacket Experiment

Last October, amazing and modern kimono stylist Akira put out Akira Times – Wafuku Anarchist, a book of his work. On the cover is a gorgeous woman in a fantastic, punk-feeling kitsuke with a leather jacket over top. Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but somehow never got around to it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by Nichole Fiorentino, who also does some utterly gorgeous and aspirational kimono styling, when she posted older photos of her doing a similar kitsuke with holographic accessories and a holographic leather jacket. I knew the time had come for me to do a kurotme & jacket experiment of my own!

Amusingly enough, the jacket itself came from another dear friend named Nicole, and it’s one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I knew I wanted to use it, instead of a plain black one, so I chose this vintage kurotome because of the similarities in colour accents, and the flower motifs. I figured since I was already doing something “wrong” I could just throw caution to the wind and have a little fun. I pulled out some really bold accessories, and went with the narrow band of my hakata tsuke-obi since the back would be hidden anyway, and it helped to reduce bulk under the jacket.

While I can’t say whether or not I’d ever be confident enough to wear something like this out in public, I do think the experiment was ultimately very successful and I’m glad I did it!

Items used in this coordination

(and one epic jacket!)