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

Refreshing Stripes

Summer is here in full force. It’s like Montreal finally got the memo that it was June and boom, oppressive heat and humidity. So when this gorgeous, crisp, cool-feeling unlined kimono arrived it seemed like a great time to do something with it. It’s not in great shape so I got it for less than five dollars, shipping included. But it’s such a gorgeous design I was itching to coordinate it anyway.

It has such a crisp, refreshing feeling and I thought this hakata obi with the same colours would help reinforce the palette and coolness of the outfit. I love how the obi gives the eye a bit of space to rest, but almost feels invisible at the same time. A few watery blue accessories finish things off and evoke even more breezy, refreshing vibes. I couldn’t help trying out this cute bow obijime style I saw on Instagram recently, and I think it adds a really sweet touch to an otherwise almost-masculine outfit.

I knew this kimono was stained when I bought it, but the extent of the damage is more severe than I’d realised based on the photos. Now that I’ve made at least one outfit with it I am going to use it for some cleaning experiments. I’d like to try a few different easily-attainable stain remover products on different areas and keep track of the process to help anyone else who may have stained pieces.

The kimono is too new, and somehow this obi escaped my cataloguing process so for the time being I can’t insert the detail gallery. Whoops! I will add it in later, once the items have been cleaned and properly photographed.  😳

Taisho Turquoise, Take Two

How’s that for some terrible alliteration? I know the last coordination I posted was with this kimono, but I just love it so much I couldn’t bear to take it off the mannequin yet. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I also had plans for a more subtle coordination with it, and since I’m feeling a little under the weather (this allergy season has been horrendous) simply changing up the accessories rather than re-dressing her from the ground up seemed like a good idea for today.

While the first outfit I did focused on bright contrast, this one is much more soft and harmonious. The white and silver obi echoes the white parts on the hem of the kimono, and I got to use the pink and turquoise obijime that matches so perfectly. Isn’t it interesting how changing up the obi and accessories can give such a drastically different mood to the same kimono?

Items used in this coordination

Vibrant Vintage

For someone who keeps telling herself she doesn’t need more kimono, I sure do keep ending up with more kimono. But when I saw this gorgeous vibrant turquoise Taisho irotomesode on Ichiroya recently, I knew it had to come live with me. This piece is not in great shape, admittedly. It’s got sun damage that leads me to believe it was folded and then stored badly at some point in its life. But I was just so in love with the colour that I couldn’t pass it up, and it became my tax refund gift to myself. It’s also incredibly small, bordering on too small for the mannequin even, so I have no delusions of ever being able to wear it even if I lose weight. Alas. 🙁

I knew immediately that I wanted to pair it up with this bold orange nagoya obi that really pulls out all the gorgeous warm tones in the hem design of tachibana and kaioke. My initial instinct was to go for more muted accessories, including an obijime that has nearly the same shade of turquoise, but then I remembered I have this bold haneri with tachibana in the same colours as the obi and just ran with it. I love the emphasis the rich purple tones bring to the whole coordination. I will definitely be revisiting this kimono soon with a more gentle and subtle coordination, but I really do love how bold and vibrant this turned out.

Items used in this coordination

Timeless Elegance

Thank you so much for being patient while I was out of town, and settling back in. I apologise for the lack of content, and if you’re curious as to why I’ve been relatively radio silent there’s a bit of info at the bottom of this post. Feel free to skip it though.

I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things, and decided to do something with the gorgeous, timeless elegance of this vintage irotomesode. Like a lot of other pieces from this era, the designs on it are incredibly soft and dusty and subdued, and I wanted to make sure the obi didn’t compete or overwhelm in any way. As you may know, I’m of the mind that hakata obi go with everything and anything, so this very pale pink and white one seemed like the ideal complement to the dusky pastels of the kimono.

I’m trying to branch out and do more interesting things with my kitsuke, so I tried doing kouken musubi and I think it turned out quite well for a first attempt! Olive green accessories and a coordinating haneri helped give the whole outfit a bit of weight and contrast, which I think it definitely needed.

It felt good to get this done. While I was down in California, two separate tragedies struck at times when I felt helpless to do anything. My friend Dan Howard, the incredibly talented and sweet and funny artist who drew this portrait of me, lost a hard-fought battle with pneumonia. The following day our tiny, grumbly, loveable cat Tribble (whom you’ve definitely seen if you’re a long-time reader) succumbed to a very aggressive form of cancer. My folks made the humane choice to end her suffering but I was thousands of miles away and couldn’t say goodbye. So I was already not in a great place mentally or emotionally, and leaving Keith always makes me sad. On top of everything else, the trip home was long, full of incidents and delays. All these things have compounded to put me in a pretty bad state of mind. Distracting myself with something as familiar as kimono really helped today.

If you read all that, I apologise and I thank you. But I’m starting to do better, and we’ll be back to a more regular schedule from here on in. 💖

Items used in this coordination