Handmade: Vintage Kimono Remade Ouji Style

formal kimono remade into a ouji lolita vest

Just in time for Winter ILD, I finished my second Ouji coordinate for my friend. The first look was a soft ivory color and this is the opposite side of the spectrum in black with a print. The concept was to have something very regal for ILD and my love of kimono inspired me to use a formal kurotomesode {黒留袖} to achieve a royal look. I realize it is a women’s kimono being used for a men’s coordinate but the design and liner nature of the kimono fabric was just a perfect match for my vision and vest pattern. Was exhilarating creating a mash up of two incredible fashion styles together into one.

Working with the kimono silk took some getting used to. This particular one is a stiff silk but it still had a bit of wiggle to it when sewing that I had to watch out for. Definitely a departure from the woven and knits I am used to working with.

details of pocket, tie and rosette from kurutomesode

I am torn between the tricorn hat and the sash as my favorite of the accessories. The lace on the sash was not cheap, but what a dramatic statement it makes. The look wouldn’t be the same without it. To secure the sash I made a rosette from another kimono fabric scrap. In fact I used the reverse side of the fabric since it featured more of the metallic thread for extra sparkle. Conceptually the sash also plays the role that an obi would from kimono fashion. Even thought about using an obi fabric for the sash originally, but this gold lace just was too gorgeous to pass up. And the obi fabric might of been too much kimono reference so probably better this way.

For the shirt and tie I bought two of the same shirts from a discount clothing store. I used the second shirt to make the matching tie. I also hope to alter the shirt cuffs to be more dramatic with the remaining fabric and some lace. Just wasn’t able to finish that in time before the holiday.

The pants are from Fan Plus Friend but I did find an amazing black, cotton twill fabric that I would like to make a similar pair of pants/breeches out of. That way I can match the buttons from the vest on the pants. The FPF version has snaps so I couldn’t swap them out.

japanese sacred treasure award badge on ouji tricorn hat

I bought the tricorn hat from the same company as I did before. The quality is amazing and the fit is perfect. For this one I wanted all the details to be monochromatic except for the medallion. The feathers do have some purple in them but it is subtle. I found a ribbon that has sheer stripes which I though was really pretty to use for the detailing and to compliment the cascade of the feathers.

To pull another Japanese element into the look I found this embroidered medallion on eBay. Its a replica of a Meiji era Sacred Treasure Award. The gold couching in the medallion was a nice match for the gold thread on the kimono print and created continuity.

Well, I hope you like my Kimono Prince coordinate as much as I do!!
Hugs,
Sheri

Geisha Performance @ J-Collabo in Brooklyn

rare chance to see a geisha perform in NY

Finally getting around to catching up on the whirlwind of activity the past 2 months. Today I want to fill you in on a cool Japan culture find in NY. We stumbled upon a brochure for a Geisha performance at J-Collabo in Brooklyn and went to check it out back in early September. So worth it!!

The dance performance was incredible. Geisha Kikuno is simply perfection. Her performance was accompanied by a violinist and a koto player in the rustic converted space of a Brooklyn brownstone basement. Her movements were so soft and fluid. What really left an impression was her mask. She has that way of looking directly at you, eye-to-eye, but it is up to you to read her expression. She looks at you but almost as if through dolls eyes. The dance alone was worth the $20 admission hands down.

traditional japanese craftsman and demonstratons at j-collabo

We also got to enjoy a lovely tea ceremony. Hoping my buddy posts his videos of the dance and tea one of these days! I was asked to join the ceremony as a “guest” on the tatami “room” which made the tea all the more special. The tea master handmade the delicate gelatin-like sweets made to look like flowing water. It was delicious!! Seriously I could have ate everyone’s helping. A thin crunchy exterior and melt in your mouth sweetness just beneath.

handmade wagashi made in seasonal theme for tea ceremony

There were also several vendors from Ishikawa showcasing traditional arts such as kimono yuzen dying and maki-e as well as a modern dance performance and what J-event would be complete without some sake and beer refreshments…

put together a wa lolita yukata coordinate for the event

Summer was drawing to a close but gave us a lovely warm day. That inspired me to try a casual lolita coordinate using accessories made from traditional yukata fabric for a pseudo wa-lolita look. I made the peasant style yukata blouse and cuff bracelet ages ago. The black dress is Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and I reused the ribbons from my previous summer yukata on the dress and in my hair to complete the look.

My coordinate was pretty auspicious it turns out. I had no idea that I would bump into designer Hiromi Onuma who was showcasing her brand Hiro. You may or may not have already come across her work if you follow the international lolita scene. She is part of a long line of kimono fabric manufactures and was recently behind the kaga-loli contest with BSSB and Midori! Midori loved it so much she asked Hiromi to make her a custom kaga dress!

Hiromi is super cute and bubbly to speak with. She was so excited that I wore lolita to the event that she ran to get her laptop and show me all sorts of videos from the Baby fashion show. I really really want to visit her in Japan one day so am adding Ishikawa to my must visit list.

Summary: if you get a chance do, check out one of J-Collabo’s events. They are laid back, culture packed, and at a hip artsy space in Brooklyn. What’s not to love about it.

DIY Anthro & West Elm Pillows

anthro and west elm pillows

Came across this blog post {http://abodelove.blogspot.com/2012/07/look-for-less-anthropologie.html} and knew I could whip up a DIY version for even less -AND- give them an Asian vibe with my massive stash of kimono and yukata fabrics.  I am hoping to achieve the quality of the Anthropologie chevron pillow over the West Elm version, which I am sorry to say looks like a less well endowed cousin when seen side-by-side.

For the past ten or more years I have collected a ridiculous amount of vintage kimono and kimono fabric.  E-bay and Etsy have been good to me.  But the online resource that no other can hold a candle to is Ichiroya! This little shop located in Osaka, Japan is gorgeous.  They were early adopters of e-Commerce, experts in kimono tradition (Ichiro’s mum Michiko is adorable,) and are major insiders for the kimono flea market in Japan.  I bought my first 2 bolts of yukata fabric from them back in 2002.  My pocketbook has gone downhill since then gobbling up a hoard of blue and white yukata. Many a sewing and diy project has come out of my studio thanks to Yuka and Ichiro.  Arigato!

diy kimono chevron pillow Stay tuned to see the results.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri