Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wisteria, Fuji

Of all the flowers in the kimono year, perhaps Fuji is my favorite. Some people prefer large flowers, some small, but I think I like dangly flowers and plants that move with the wind. Once the cherry blossom snow is on the ground, one moves into fuji mood. Fuji is the name of a shade of light purple, a colour combination in the Heian period, and of course, a design that is traditional and still popular on spring kimono.

Whenever the colours of a robe do not match the seasons, the flowers of spring and the autumn tints, whenever they are somehow vague and muddy, then the whole effort is as futile as the dew. So it is with women...we are all pursuing the ideal and failing to find it.

Quote originally from the Tale of Genji, quoted in Lisa Dalby's "Kimono" 1993, Yale. Dalby also records kimono layering systems dating from the times of the Grand Empress Tashi, born in 1140. She was from the Fujiwara clan, (which means wisteria fields). The document "Colours for a court lady's Dress" records includes what are thought to be her own comments in the margins. The combination of fuji was a deep purple lined, deep purple robe, over layered by a medium purple, medium purple lined robe, then a lavender robe also lined in lavender, then a white layer with dark purple lining, and a white layer with a lavender lining. A raw silk chemise in scarlet or white. It was a textile symphony in purples! Of course, to be really stylish one would wear it slightly before the blooms are out, and certainly not still be wearing it when the petals are showering down to the floor. I found some fuji in my kimono collection. They are a variety of objects. The hair decoration, probably part of a maiko or a theatrical costume, an obi age tied in a fuji musubi knot, a meisen kimono, an obi edged in fuji and the logo on a kimono wrapped. Enjoy the blossoms while they last!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Upcoming fashion show

I am currently getting ready for a kimono fashion show on Saturday at the Akasaka Prince Hotel. I wore this kimono for my students' college graduation party and also at new year, but it is kind of stylish and bright, so I will wear it again for the fashion show. It is early showa, (probably 30s) and is a cheap redye. The patterns don't match well at the seams and some of the colours have not been fixed properly and have bled into each other. I will wear an orange collar with embroidery on it, because it will look better with the orange obi, and maybe some different zori on my feet, too. I think red and gold would be good. It is one of the great things about kimono that you can still go on wearing it, so long after it was made. It still looks stylish and fun after eighty years. Most western clothes, not so much. The styling and coordination is more important in kimono than the actual garment, per se. Of course, it is not really appropriate for a woman of my age to have such long, (technically wide) sleeves, waving around. Only enka singers would really do that, but this is a fashion show, and the rules are off, for the catwalk. When I had this picture taken I was wearing the most wonderful purple lipstick, which I promptly lost and have never found again. Somehow I have to find another one, cos it looked so strange and interesting, but I have tried, and I cannot find the same colour. I have a rehearsal on Thursday night, and the show is on Saturday!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

First Post

Hello everyone,
This is my first blog post on my first blog. I am going to be posting on my life with kimono and explaining why kimono is magic for me. Through kimono I am able to get some insights into Japanese culture, history, manners and also I am inspired by kimono fashions both past and present. I hope you will follow my blog posts.