Lily Furisode

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It’s been literally several years since I bought a kimono. I still have ones I haven’t worn, ones that don’t fit, ones that I am too old for. I’d promised myself no more buying kimono.

And then Jess went and put this one up on the market. I have coveted this kimono for as long as she’s had it. I love the rich, dark green colour and the beautiful, delicate lilies. She needed money, I needed this kimono. Clearly, it was meant to be.

It arrived today, and it’s everything I’d been hoping for and more. I can’t wait to dress Tsukiko in it!

The body is a gorgeous rich deep green, intersected with a sort of ribbon-like fluid design and lilies. The hem is navy blue, which I did not realise in the photos!

New haori from Naomi

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Along with all the haneri I got, as well as the geisha hikizuri (which is going to get a proper entry soon, I promise), I ended up with a few unexpected haori and another kimono from Naomi, they came in a bundle of items she purchased and they were not to her tastes. Once again, someone else’s loss is my gain, because I absolutely love them both.

Purple meisen haori with mysterious flowers
Purple Meisen Haori

Purple Meisen Haori

Purple Meisen Haori

This is a gorgeous vivid purple Meisen. I’ve mentioned my love/hate affair with Meisen before – I think the technique is amazing but I have never come across a kimono long enough to fit me. I’ve come to terms with this, I think, and will stick to gorgeous, flamboyant haori. I honestly have no idea what the flowers on here are supposed to be, but they appear to be losing their petals so I assume it’s for autumn. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

Delicate kiku yuzen haori
Kiku haori

Kiku haori

Yuzen has long been one of my favourite techniques – it’s relatively common but when it’s done right it has a charming delicacy. My first kimono was yuzen-dyed spider kiku, and it’s still one of my most cherished pieces. When I saw this piece in the bundle she got, I admit I really wanted it. So you can imagine how happy I am to have it in my grubby little paws. I can’t wait until the autumn so I can wear it. Age-wise, this piece is a little odd. It’s got the longer sleeves of a vintage piece, but the short body and simple white lining of a more modern one, so it’s probably from the transitional post-war era.

Shah Mosque Houmongi

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I don’t know if anyone remembers that I made a resolution only to buy really special pieces. Unfortunately, my complete and utter lack of dedication has pretty much thrown that to the wayside, but I am trying to keep an eye out for particularly spectacular items. I blame BikaBika for this, she posted the link to the auction on the Immortal Geisha forums and I knew then and there that I needed to have this item. Thankfully Naomi was there to help me get it through YJA. It finally arrived in the box of stuff I mentioned last Friday, and I was so excited to finally get it so I could see it in person and write about it.

I’ve always been fascinated by architectural motifs on kimono, but I’d never seen one with a mosque on it. In particular, the blue dome and heavy Moorish ornamentation would suggest that this is the Shah Mosque in Iran. The yuzen dye work is absolutely stunning, the whole piece looks like a soft painting but the details up close are breathtaking. The silk is incredibly lush as well, it’s got an interesting nubby texture, almost like shibori but it’s woven into wave-like stripes and not part of the actual visual pattern.

Shah Mosque Kimono

Shah Mosque Kimono

I have several coordinations in mind for this particular kimono, including one using the gorgeous Moorish Arches obi I received as a mystery gift, but also a more subdued modern look. Hopefully I will find the time for one or both of them in the near future.

Book Review – Kyoto Shoin, Yuzen edition

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Yuzen Dyeing
by Nobuhiko Maruyama
Language: Japanese and English
ISBN-10: 4763670409
Amazon.com listing

This was a risky impulse purchase off eBay. The listing did not give the title, did not give dimensions, and only had a few murky photos of the interior. However, it was a very good price so I figured I’d throw caution to the wind and go for it. I’m very glad I did, because when it arrived in the mail I was shocked to find one of the out-of-print and generally very pricey Kyoto Shoin ‘s Art Library of Japanese Textiles books, specifically the one about yuzen which is one of my favourite techniques.

The book is one of a series, and my only regret about buying it is that now I very much want more of the books out of the series. I’d heard that they were great resources, but never having seen one for myself  I didn’t really know what I was missing.

The book is filled with gorgeous full-colour plates of vintage kimono, often pairing up a full garment shot with a detail. The text is sparse, but concise. It doesn’t go into huge amounts of depth, but does not leave me desperate for more information. The majority of the book is devoted to photos, but there is also a basic explanation of the techniques involved in yuzen dyeing in the back. It is by no means a full tutorial, but it helps the reader to understand the process and effort involved in making these beautiful garments.

I would recommend this book for:


-People interested in traditional dyeing techniques.
-People looking for pictures of beautiful vintage kimono.

I would not recommend this book for:


-People looking for in-depth tutorials or lessons on yuzen dyeing.

 

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