Bebe Taian: Another 1930s Outfit, with Meiji Obi

June 9, 2018

Another 1930s Outfit, with Meiji Obi

Another outfit that I dressed up for photos. I should do this more often to show my collection!

This iro-komon is a now-'extinct' mix of iromuji and komon. It is one shade of muted purple with occasional silver and gold flowers woven in. The hakkake lining is also the same purple, with a bright red lining inside in the upper body and sleeves typical of pre-war kimono. There is one mon (crest) denoting moderate formality. I wore this kimono previously with a gold obi and red accessories, which... turned out to also be the outfit of an elderly fortuneteller character in xxxHolic. ... I am the owner of a witch shop... and the running joke in the family is that I was 40 before I was 10... ha. ha. ha. 

The obi in question is being given to a well-respected anthropology professor who is a former Japanese resident (a person who lived there for about a decade, not Nihonjin). He is in love with textiles as I am, and what better living example to show a classroom?

The fact is, this Meiji-era hanhaba obi is far too damaged for 'outside wear'. It is a very soft silk piece that was cut down from a maru obi in olive green with bright purple and orange woven fine embroidery, which has almost entirely worn away now. This 'ribbon' style of tying the obi is meant to show this wear. I used binder clips to hold the folds together and tied it higher with an obi makura, not typically used in this kind of formality. The purpose is to make it easier to see in photos, and more aesthetic. If an obi has weak fabric, binder clips are very strong to hold it together. Just put a small scrap piece of muslin or cotton in between the metal of the binder clip and the silk so that it doesn't snag. For a ribbon obi though, a sanjuhimo or gojujimo is easiest. It was ends like a normal koshi himo to tie in front, but in the back, it is three or five strands for pulling hanhaba or heko obi through for this kind of drapey look.

This kind of musubi styling could feasibly be appropriate for a silk, patterened hanhaba obi of high quality (as opposed to cheap synthetic kinds) with a lower-end komon, but not with an iro-komon like this, since it has a crest in the back denoting formality. If using the makura, an obiage is necessary. This is the same white and gold cloud obiage from the blue 1930s set, since it was just easier... Ideally, if using an obiage, you should also use obijime. Since it's done with heko or hanhaba, wouldn't a narrow, thin obijime with an old clip-on earring for an obidome be really cute?

The rice bag is also photographed here, since it's from approx. wartime era, and it's beautifully made from old maru obi fabric outside with some leftover cotton or somesuch inside. I'm absolutely against taking it apart to find out exact material via burn test since these bags are quite rare on the english-speaking markets these days. Rice is no longer kept this way. We keep it all in plastic now; airtight means rice lasts longer in storage, no worry about bugs. The scent of silk stored in tansu with some cedar kept them away in previous years, and can do it now of course, but it's more work. So no one really needs them anymore...

Wish me luck in buying a new mannequin soon. I would like one for displaying clothing, and also for making clothing. It would be so much easier if I had one to pin fabric to as I worked. <3

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