torstai 31. toukokuuta 2012

Kimono Challenge pt.2

Many have been doing this kimono challenge on their blogs, so I just might jump into the bandwagon finally. Original challenge was made by Kira Kira Kimono.

1. How did I hear about kimonos& first kitsuke toughts and stuff
2. My dearest kimono item(s)
3. My most used kimono item(s) (not counting jubans, datejimes etc.)
4. My least used kimono item(s)
5. My favourite coordination(s) so far
6. What things I like and what not in kimonos(&why)
7. Kimono confessions. Did you know that...
8. The massive want-to-buy-list(or in this situation what-I-would-like-to-buy-but-don't-have-enought-money-or-any-occassion-to-wear-it-list)
9. My biggest fears&wishes what comes to kimonos
10. My biggest inspirations in kimonos
11. My kimono collection
12. The evolution of my kitsuke

 2. My dearest kimono item(s)

Now you got me bad, because most of the kimonos I own are more or less dear to me, but if I have to choose one, it's my silver nagoya obi with the character "Shizuka"- Quiet.

Shizuka nagoya obi
 It's the first ever nagoya obi and actual kimono item I have purchased. And it was for Halloween! I was making a "zombie" outfit with pure white kimono and needed an obi. Little search in Ichiroya dropped me to this obi and I knew there was the obi I need.

The other dear item is a more recent addition from last December. V got this kimono for me as a christmas present (I got him a miniature model of a Sturmtiger tank and a detail book about tanks, he really likes them). It's the first ever kimono that he has gotten me. You cannot see it properly in the image, but there's a hint of purple in the "spirits".

Grey spirit houmongi

maanantai 28. toukokuuta 2012


I've been terribly busy and have not had time to update, but here's what are coming:

More about kimono history and general later this week.
Another episode of "Kimono challenge".
A few photos in my new emerald green iromuji.

And more of an update: I opened another blog! Sewing with Lumikettu is basicly a sewing/knitting blog. After a little thought I decided to keep these two separated as I want this blog to be only for kimono. I'm trying to keep everything organized neatly and nicely. Please enjoy my other blog as well!

Thank you!

torstai 17. toukokuuta 2012

Something out of the ordinary...

Well, my interest in kimono is only rivaled by my interest in western fashion history (those of you who have checked my "blog" list probably guessed this much). Anyway, AmericanDuchess has just put up a new shoe design, The Pompadour. Name probably gives the design away and yes they are the French Court shoes of the early 18th century.

The Pompadours come in two colors.

She needs atleast 100 orders for these pretties to go into production. Right now she's having a pre-order sale, so if you want 'em, now's the time to get 'em!

 The shoes come in two basic colors, but the white ones are dyeble. So, if you want them in any other color, you can get the white pair and dye it to your own liking.

Here's the particulars of both shoes:
  • Pomps come in dyeable ivory or black jacquard, with a matching leather-covered heel.
  • They close with tabs, with a ribbon - we've provided one with your new shoes, but lace any color, width, or design ribbon through, to change up the look whenever you like.
  • The heel is 2.5 inches, and properly flared - you won't be sinking into grass in these.
  • The toe is very pointy, just right for the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
  • The pre-order price is $115, and the regular price is $135
  • Get them on sale May 14th - June 1st.
  • We need to sell about 100 pairs to make the production run, so if you need these shoes in your life, please share the news with your costume buds.  If we don't meet the minimum, all orders will be refunded in full, and the Pompadours will not be made.
  • Estimated delivery is early August 2012 - we've implemented a whole mess of systems and measures to improve our speed of manufacture as well as quality, but if we have a delay, I'll let you know right away.
 She also has other shoes to your liking, the Kengsintons (1770-1780):
Ivory Kengsintons are in pre-order, red and black are foundable in the store.

 The Georgiana (silk) and the Devonshire (dyable leather) are in clearance sale:
The Georgiana and the Devonshire.
No, I did not make a mistake linking those images. The Kengsintons are the "upgraded" version of the Georgiana and Devonshire. The Kengsingtons are dyable calf leather with pointed toe, as the Georgiana are silk and the Devonshire dyable leather with a more rounded toe.

Also the Astorias (Edwardian period) have arrived! Both black and white are still in stock.
The Astoria.
If you love the Regency period, she also has the Pemberly:
The Pemberly.
I'm in love with the Pompadour and the Pemberly, I wonder what sort of kitsuke would go with these shoes... I would not mind trying to cross match different cultures and histories because I love them both so much!

Hey, wait a minute! Has this post something to do with the GIVE-AWAY?!

You caught me there... Anyway, here's the link to the shoe shop: The American Duchess Shoe Shop

tiistai 15. toukokuuta 2012

Scans for geiko fans!

Today mail delivered me the copy of Kyo-maiko in the 6 quarters of Kyoto.

6?! But there's only 5 flower towns in Kyoto!

Yes, you are correct, but this book has pictures of the beautiful tayuus of Shimabara and counts it as one of the flower towns. Shimabara still has two working teahouses that have tayuus, who entertain people (but not on their backs anymore).

More images in my Flickr set: Kyo-maiko in 6 quarters of Kyoto

torstai 10. toukokuuta 2012

Kimono Challenge pt.1

Many have been doing this kimono challenge on their blogs, so I just might jump into the bandwagon finally. Original challenge was made by Kira Kira Kimono.

1. How did I hear about kimonos& first kitsuke toughts and stuff
2. My dearest kimono item(s)
3. My most used kimono item(s) (not counting jubans, datejimes etc.)
4. My least used kimono item(s)
5. My favourite coordination(s) so far
6. What things I like and what not in kimonos(&why)
7. Kimono confessions. Did you know that...
8. The massive want-to-buy-list(or in this situation what-I-would-like-to-buy-but-don't-have-enought-money-or-any-occassion-to-wear-it-list)
9. My biggest fears&wishes what comes to kimonos
10. My biggest inspirations in kimonos
11. My kimono collection
12. The evolution of my kitsuke

1. How did I hear about kimonos & first kitsuke thoughts and stuff

It must have been somewhere near 2006-2007 when I was first introduced to the world of kimono.  No, wait, it was in 2005 when the Memoirs of a Geisha came into the theatres. I was transfixed by the beauty of those garments even if the movie did not strike me. A year later I found Norio Yamanaka's the Book of Kimono from our local library and was transfixed. During the same year I stubled into the wonderful world of ImmortalGeisha and the IG forums.

So you could say my fascination to kimono started with the geisha. I wanted to know more of those beautiful ladies and the kimono they wear. You could still say that the sight of a trailing kimono sets my heart into a flutter.

My first kimono was handmade by me, practicly without any insctructions or know-how on kimono measurements. I don't have any photographic evidence on that time, but I do have some from my second time in kimono. And in public. Now I feel so shamed to see that I let myself go out looking like that.... (both outfits were made by me. That Kenshin outfit still is one of the best made costumes I've done. It seems that making clothes for this man always turn out looking good no matter how I bungle them.....)
First time in kimono.
Second time in kimono with hakama. Just because I did not own an obi.
My artwork project "hikizuri".
I bought my first actual yukata kimono in 2009, which started my kimono bying hiatus. If someone had told me that 4 years later I would be holding a closet full of silk kimono and obi and still thinking that I still don't have enought, I probably would not have believed. Or thought that my moneys would actually GET me a closet full of kimono.... I would also have not thought that I would even give a lecture on the subject, but I have, thrice! On both kimono and geisha! Even if one was reviewed by an anime magazine as "filling the space in the program"-lecture. I only did 6 months of gathering information and double checking everything (I had enough material for a 10h lecture which I squeezed into 4h). I still bristle everytime I think about it. I did give that 10h lecture before I squeezed it into the 4h timelimit.

But well, all that's in the past and now is the time to do the bi-annual kimono closet cleaning! Since I have them all stored in the same closet (and in one pile) I arrange them twice a year so that during the winter the thicker, lined kimonos are on the top, and during summer tha lighter, unlined kimonos get the place on top so I can easilly get them out of the closet. The obis are on top the whole year around.

When was the last time you rolled in your pile of kimonos? ;)
Kiki showing me the correct way of enjoying the lining of a kimono.

maanantai 7. toukokuuta 2012

Kimono historically

 I'm not the most academic person and I cannot bend on writing academicly (I like my readers to actually like what their reading and not feel like they were at school). Please bear with me on this and if you notice something that screams "INCORRECT!", notify me, I always like to learn more. I've been a kimono inthusiastic for only 4 meagre years... Anyways, let's begin shall we?

Chapter 1. Kimono historically

Kimono is a native garment of the japanese. It's a T-shaped robe with big sleeves. In her book Kimono - Fashioning Culture Liza Dalby opens the word kimono, ki: To wear and mono: Thing. So lingvistically kimono means a thing to wear.
Court lady of the Suiko Dynasty.

Kimono originates from China and the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by the Han chinese clothing, nowadays known as hanfu. In the clothes from the Asuka-Nara periods (538-794 AC) the clothes still have rounded necklines and a two piece combination of a skirt and shirt. In the pleating of the skirts can be seen the beginnings of the hakama.

Young girl in heian court dress.

Empress Shouken 1872.
The overlapping collar comes into fashion during the Heian period (794-1192). The clothes also become incresingly stylized, colorful and layered. The epitome of Heian, the full court dress known as Juni-hitoe had twelve layers. In ordinary usage approx. 8 layers were used over a kosode and hakama. The sleeve openings were big to show all those colorful layers underneath. The flowing robes trailed behind. Like modern kimonos, the sleeves were only partially attached to the body of the kimono to allow the wearer the freedom of movement. In the later years of the Heian and during the transision to the next period, the sleeves vere attached to the kimono the whole way. The thing what is to become the obi in the later years is still a thin string to keep the kimono closed. Heian style kept it's place as a court dress over the centuries.
Woman in kosode and an apron.

During the Kamakura period (1192-1333) the layers grew less and less until people dressed solely on the kosode, that in the Heian period had been considered an underwear. The hakama, that had been worn over the kosode was discarded and the place for the obi to held the kosode closed was born. The obi was still only a string.

Kosode, small sleeve, got it's name from it's small sleeves. These kimonos were made to fit, so there was no ohashori on the waist and hips. The sleeve was small enough to be set on the whole onto the kimono body.

Woman wearing an uchikake on her head.

During the Kamakura period the usage of uchikake as an outer layer was very diverse. For instance, a woman of the warrior class could place one on her head and shade from rain or hard sunshine. One could also dress it normally over the kosode or wrap it around her waist and let the top part hang loose.
Courtesan of the Muromachi period.

Towards the end the Muromachi period (1339-1573) the portuguese accidently made land in japanese soil and introduces fire arms to the japanese. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1603) more traders from the Netherlands, Spain, England and Portugal arrived with jesuit, dominican and fransiscan missionaries. Their strange clothing was something complitety new to the japanese and some tried to adapt these strange styles into the japanese fashion, like the ruff.

Woman in early Edo period.

  Edo period (1603-1868) can be seen as the Rise of the Obi. During this period the obi developed from the widht of a palm onto it's current measurements. Because of this development the obi could no longer be tied to the front and the knot was moved onto the back. Only courtesans kept the habit of tying their obi to the front and this became the "trade mark" of a woman of easy virtue. During this time the art of tying your obi in different styles was begun. The knots were soft and the part around quite wrinkly, the stiffeners were not invented yet. As the obi grew, it started to need it's own accessories when worn, which meant the birth of obijime and obiage.
Woman in the middle of Edo period.

The kimono in the Edo period grew in lenght, both the hem and the sleeves. Soon the sleeves were too long to stay attached to the body of the kimono and they separated from the bottom leaving only the shoulder seam to attach them into the kimono. This allowed free growth to the sleeve and the obi. The hem of the kimono started trailing on the ground. The difference between a kosode in the early Edo and modern kimono can be viewed from the next image.
Kosode is more square in shape as the kimono is rectangular. The sleeves became wider as the body of the kimono became tighter and the collar set to it's current shape.
Young married woman in kosode.
In the earlier years of Edo, the long flowing sleeves belong to women in all classes, but soon it was established that furisode belonged to the young, unmarried women and the short sleeves belong to the married ladies. Because of the trailing hem, a cord was produced to keep the hem from getting dirty while walking outside. The kimono and the obi in the Edo period were very restictive as they were tied tightly and caused restriction to movement. Also the waxed coiffures forced women to sleep on wooden blocks so they would no ruin their hair.

When westerners asked what the strange clothing the japanese wore during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the japanese answered "Something to wear" (Kimono) which included all clothing a person could wear. Until the arrival of the western clothing (yofuku) the kosode had no rivals, but as the yofuku gained footage on the japanese soil, the japanese had to figure out a name for their traditional clothing as the current shape of the kosode no longer a "small sleeve". This lead to the standardizing of the kimono as the main term used on this T-shaped japanese garment and under it came the different types of the kimono.

Tissot, A woman in japanese bath.

Just as western fashions were influencing the start of decline in kimono, all things japanese became "the thing" in the west. Japonisme as a term was first used in 1872 and it influenced the Art Nouveau and cubic art movements as well as fashion through woodblock prints brought to the west. Which followed by the silk kimonos being shipped to be house robes for the western ladies.

After the Meiji period the kimono was not allowed to trail again, but was hiked up to a fold on the hips known as the ohashori with a shash or a cord. The basic shape of a kimono did not change again but was standardized. The only change has become on the lenght of your standard kimono lenght as the avaridge hight of women has grown since then.

The patterns and colord have changed over the ages and are changing even now, but I'll write about them in the next chapter. This chapter was to show you the transition of the Asuka dress into the modern kimono shape.

The Costume Museum
Empress Shouken
Jacques-Joseph Tissot, A Woman in Japanese Bath

Costume museum
Liza Dalby, Kimono - Fashioning culture
Women's kimono, kanzashi & accessories
The Book of Kimono

I hope I didn't make any blundant mistakes.... I hope you enjoyed reading!

tiistai 1. toukokuuta 2012

May Day kitsuke

Despite today being May Day it was also the 10th year anniversary of the Immortal Geisha. I had been invited to a friend's place for a brunch, so I decided to dress in kimono. The obi could have been a more vivid color, but as with all my new things, I wanted to wear something new.

The photos are taken after I got home so everything is starting to fall appart.

It's one of my new white-purple odorikimono. When I got it I thought the white looked awfully yellowed, but after taking a rain check and looking at it in bright sunlight, the yellow turned into a cream color.

The nagoya is my new "Cursed Vase" obi. It does give off that certain evil aura, doesn't it?

The image on the obi slipped a little high white tying.
 I got violets to my balcony yesterday and as per my color fancy, they are purple. Still rather small, but I expect them to grow soon in the spring sunshine. <3 I have other flowers also, but they have not yet bloomed.
Also Kiki the kimono cat got a new favourite box. Ville got a new pair of sneakers and of course the box was instantly claimed by Kiki as her own sleeping/playing place.

A Merry May Day to All!

Sugar coated douhnuts.  
Today is the May Day celebration in Finland, which mostly mean dressing in fun costumes, eating sugar coated doughnuts and getting loud and drunk. Officially the day is known here as the Finnish Worker's Day. Traditionally it means the start of the cottage season, go for a stroll and admire the spring and visit your relatives. Nowadays most of the places are crowded with freshmen having fun together and getting drunk. Freshmen wear their school overalls and all whom have taken the baccalaureate wear a white cap.

May Day, in finnish Vappu, has been celebrated from the Middle Ages and is one of the old celebrational days of Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Germany and Latvia. The name "Vappu" originates from an Bavarian abbess/mother superior Valburg who lived in the 700s. May 1. was the day she was named as a Saint.

Mead and funnel cake. Image from Wikipedia.
In Finland May Day was celebrated by lighting bonfires on the fields, called Helavalkea and letting the cattle onto the fields for the first time after the winter. They had a habit of driving the cattle through these fires to prevent illness's. It was a tradition to drink mead and dance.

Nowadays the bonfires are no more lit on May Day, they have moved to be part of the finnish Midsummer Day (Juhannus) celebration.

Up to the end of the 1700s the May Day was a memorial day of saints. During the 1800's the Labour Movement is several countries chose it as their celebration day and as such it is still celebrated. May Day is a National Holiday.

For this I will translate the Milk Chocolate Doughnut cake recipe from Kinuskikissa blog. Merry May Day to all!

Milk Chocolate Doughnut cake
Images and the original recipe: Kinuskikissa - Maitosuklaamunkki
More images of the making on the Kinuskikissa blog page. 

Image by Kinuskikissa
Image by Kinuskikissa
- You should do the icing and the filling to the cake on the day before.
- The cake stays good in the fridge to the following day so you can very well do it on the day before.
- You can also make the icing from dark or white chocolate. The dark chocolate hardens a bit harder so take it to room temperature to warm a bit before you roll it flat.

4 Eggs
1 1/2 dl sugar
1dl wheat flour
1dl potato flour/farina
1 1/2 tea spoons baking powder
2 table spoons cocoa powder

2dl milk

4dl whipping cream
200g milk chocolate
300g rasberries (fresh or frozen)

Milk chocolate icing
125g milk chocolate
1 1/4dl light syrup
2 1/2dl powdered sugar/icing sugar

To the top

Start with the icing on the day before so it has time to stiffen into a rollable mass.

Chop the milk chocolate to small pieces and melt them in the microwave. Measure to syrup into a kettle and warm it a little - do not let it boil! Pour the melted chocolate into the syrup and add the icing sugar. Put the kettle back on the heat, you do not have to warm it again, just keep the temperature even. Mix it until the filling is nice and even.

Put greaseproof paper onto a small bowl and pour the icing into the bowl. Let it set until the next day. The paper makes it easier to get it out of the bowl.

Make the base. Whisk the eggs and sugar into a foam. It's done when you can "draw" onto the surface of the foam and it does not fade back for a moment.

Mix the dry ingredients together and mix them to the foam through a sieve slowly while mixing.

Pour the base onto a baking tray and bake it in 200C for 6-8 minutes. After baking turn in on a greaseproof paper and take the one you baked it on immediately, othervice it will stick onto the base.

Let the base cool for a while.

Whisk the whipping cream into a foam. Chop the milk chocolate into small pieces and melt them in the microwave. Add them to the whipping cream foam. Take a big bowl (capasity 2,5l) and place cellophane. Cut from the base a piece that will cover the bottom of the bowl. Moist it with milk.

Put 1/3 of the filling into the bowl on top of the base piece. Put rasberries also into the bowl.

Cut and place the next piece from the base, fill with the filling and rasberries. Continue until you have 4 pieces of the base (the last one being the bottom) fitted into the bowl. Pull the cellophane over the last piece of base and let it set for 3-4 hours, if possible, until the next day.

Move the cellophane from the top of the cake, and turn it carefully over. You can carefully press the cake into a different shape at this point, but be careful!

Place powdered sugar on a surface and the icing and roll it flat. If the roller sticks to the icing, place more powdered sugar on top of the icing.

Lift the icing on top of the cake and shape it carefully. Cut the excess icing with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the cake. It's easier to get the sugar to stick to the sided if you sprinkle with you other hand and press the sugar a little with the other.