Bebe Taian: Taisho-Era Bijin

July 12, 2012

Taisho-Era Bijin

It'll be awhile before I can afford new kimono (or rather, antique kimono), but in the meantime, I take notes from the fashion of the Taisho era:

Collars were starting to become narrower, and as evidenced by kimono I own, the collars on the kosode were sewn in half (not folded in half as they are today). This meant they had to be tied differently and had less room for overlap in the front, but it also provided more collar-showing in the front! Go for daintily embroidered collars, and let some show while you're young!

Bright colours with large prints were en vogue. A mix of traditional and non-traditional patterns were being explored! Think new colours (at the time) being introduced through chemical dyes, purple with teal and red, paired with white and black to make a bold, fresh statement. Keep the kimono in large prints, and the obi can be in smaller, more intricate designs. Keep your accessories (fans, kercheifs, etc.) to pastels.

Lots of obiage showing! Of course, the lady in the photo is probably a geisha (being the most popular models of the time), but even other models showed more obiage than today by comparison. Look to furisode guides for ideas on how to tie it. As for me, I hide a piece of folded paper in mine to keep it from crumpling on my weird figure. In Florida heat, there's NO WAY I'm putting in MORE padding on my sides! I'd die of stroke! So make adjustments where you can to get the look you want.

Vintage Ro Silk Kikyo Kanzashi - Atelier Kanawa
Hairpins: the traditional Japanese styles were falling of out fashion by the end of the 1910s, but hairpins were still all the rage. Simpler styles, but clean and oiled are a must. Add a few finger waves and bobby pins (check out those made by trained kanzashi artist Atelier Kanawa)! Since ro silk is in season right now, these would be perfect for a matching ensemble. Red, white, and blue seems like such a popular combo for antique kimono, especially with hakata obi. <3 Bekko combs were still legal then, too; today, you'll have to find faux tortoiseshell. Although, resin "tortoiseshell" hairpins are cheap and if you find it isn't your style, you won't feel bad about giving them away!

And if you want the authentic smell? Try a little tsubaki oil in your hair, a touch of perfume, and make sure you air your kimono out before you wear it to fade the scent of storage!

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