Fall’s Bounty Ikebana

I guess all that complaining about how summer was sticking around actually accomplished something, because it’s wonderfully crisp and cool out now. It seemed like a good time to share this last of the triad I created from that one big bundle of flowers my mum brought home a while back.

The lilies and the greenery forming the horizontal grounding of the arrangement harken back to the end of summer, while the carnations and chrysanthemums scream autumn to me. Unfortunately the piece does end up feeling a little cluttered, in retrospect, and I might have been better off just foregoing the orange lilies entirely. Oh well, you live and you learn, right?

I’d also like to take a moment to thank any regular readers for their patience. My schedule at work and life in general have been a little out of whack for the past few weeks and I’ve found it hard to devote time to blogging. But things are back to normal now, so I should be back to two entries a week or so.

Bridal Redux

Bridal kitsuke is probably the most complex and exhausting of all standard forms of kitsuke. I’ve done it on the mannequin a few times before, but always having to improvise a little. I’ve done  fully coloured ensemble and an all-white ensemble, but when I found this red and gold accessory set for a fantastic price, I knew I wanted to do the transitional style often done for a reception. I paired the bold accessories with my flamboyant and loud uchikake but kept the demure subtle white kimono and obi. I think this is actually my favourite type of bridal ensemble.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of wrapping hikizuri-style kimono to get that lovely x-shaped drape of the hem. It’s not perfect, but I can see definite improvement every time I attempt it. The collar’s pretty mangled, but let’s not speak of that… Because this is my first real, full set of accessories, including a proper-sized bira and an actual kakae-obi, I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of detail shots. I hope you enjoy them!

It’s very satisfying to see the whole thing put together like this. Maybe one day someone will let me dress them up in the whole ensemble.

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

Valentine Redux

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating with a partner, family, friends, a beloved pet, or just loving yourself today, I hope you’re having a great day.

I wanted to do yet another obnoxiously girly coordinate and was inspired by my previous Valentine’s Day colour combo but wanted to add a bit more flair. I’d also been itching to do a more kimono-hime style outfit.

Lately there’s been a lovely trend of slightly exposing juban with really sweet pleated chiffon hems, and while I don’t own one of those (yet), this textured while skirt with lace accents worked a charm. I also used one of the skirt’s tiers to fake extra sleeve layers, and love how they look. Especially now that the mannequin has arms!

I also re-used a lot of the lace I’d initially bought for the Princess Tiana coordination, and I think it pops so well against the black kimono. The pink lace shawl has a very similar texture and ties in to the obi perfectly, as well as echoing the layered pink and white collars I used. A shiny silver and pink brooch used as an obidome completes the look. This outfit is still sweet and romantic, but I think that with the black base it feels a little edgier, and I love that.

Items used in this coordination

Yuki-Onna – Yokai Halloween 2018

Halloween season is upon us! If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know that I like to pick a theme and run with it every October. While I stress heavily that a kimono and in of itself is not a costume, I do think that there are plenty of ways to build a costume or even a series of costumes using kimono as a base.

This year, I thought I would pay tribute to some of the spookiest or most famous female yokai in Japanese folklore. There are so many to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down to a reasonable number. To start, I decided to go with Yuki Onna, one of the most iconic and well-known women of the spirit world.

Yuki-Onna (雪女, snow woman) is a beautiful maiden with snow-white skin and black hair, typically depicted in white kimono. She is freezing to the touch, thrives in blizzards, and may melt if exposed to fire or hot bath water. I knew I wanted to start with my shiromuku, giving me a clean white base and the drama of long sleeves and a trailing skirt. My beloved Kanbara obi was the perfect focal point. I could absolutely see Yuki-Onna in this landscape! I anchored the outfit with a black skirt underneath and echoed it with a black obiage and obijime. Initially I was going to use this white haneri with snowflakes on it, but it contrasted oddly with the ivory of the kimono and felt a bit too cute and cartoon-like. Instead, I used the solid black reverse side of the other one and accented it with a few glittery snowflake stickers. I love the way they catch the light and sparkle like the sun on snow and ice. A rhinestone and pearl brooch reminiscent of a snowflake completes the ensemble.

Items used in this coordination