Bebe Taian: An Early 1930s Outfit

June 5, 2018

An Early 1930s Outfit

It isn't in 1930s style, per se, but I brought out a few of my kimono yesterday for another textile lover. Since I couldn't figure out how to get good photos with them lying flat on the bed, I decided to get out my hanging torsos and tie some quick outfits. Of course, these are without the modern ohashori, and the musubi is tied in front to hang them on the wall. My inability to get the top of the otaiko to sit right on the mannequin was driving me crazy!

I'll post the next set soon, when I'm done editing them.

This irotomesode (coloured tomesode) kimono is one you've all seen before. I typically wear it with a different obi, one that is more muted and tan, and a warm brown obijime. Same white obiage. I haven't had too many of those over the years. and this one has cloud patterns in shibori with a fine lining of gold thread. I made sure to switch a few things up so that I don't let my mind do the autistic thing of This Thing Must Not Change. Trying to get comfortable with breaking habits is one of those exercises somehow made a little easier when it's kimono that I'm dealing with.

The kimono is a dusty deep blue chirimen fabric, super-thin and light, with the original red lining. The lower hakkake lining is a deeper chemical blue, like a slightly purple-tinged royal blue that matches the bold blue in the obi. The dating is 1930s, with sleeves longer than post-war standards but shorter than Taisho era's long, flowing sleeves. Because it still has the red lining, this places it pre-war era. The art deco design and light use of gold leafing on the bottom has a classic 30s feel. The wearer was maybe middle age- the design is bold and modern, but still subdued. Yet, it isn't so muted or pastel that it would be for an old woman, either, nor are the sleeves long enough to suggest a younger or unmarried wearer too old for furisode. Of course, there are also formal occasions where furisode would be out of place, especially after ~15 years old back then. The kimono has only one mon, minimum formality for an irotomesode.

I wonder who the wearer was, what she was like... would she have chosen an obi like this? With its' subtle use of metallics in gold and silver hidden in the vibrant, but traditional, patterns of fans and royal carts? I feel like the obi fits the colour scheme but maybe not the pattern of the kimono. The obi is about the same age though, I think.

It is a proper Nagoya obi, not a converted one from an earlier maru obi. Those were invented in the 30s, so maybe this one is from late '30s-'40s. The heavy brocade still says 'maru', but the length is perfect- when the otaiko is folded away from the tare, the tare makes one perfect 'loop' around the taiko when folding it, so it rests neatly. It's so satisfying to fold for storage.

The obijime here is tied in kind of a fanciful knot, like a flower blossom, for photographic effect. I think a formal event ensemble should generally follow 'proper kimono rules'... although, since it has only one crest, maybe something like this could be okay for a younger wearer? The dusty rose colour brings out the richness of the blue and kind of nods to the values of the orange and plum shades in the obi. I'm still not sure about the type of patterns, though- it could be better, a modern obi design with a modern kimono design. But it's passable, and I think most people wouldn't think too deeply on it so long as it looks nice. It's just me being picky, that's all. :P

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