wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing
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Rita Ora Models Wafuku.
The May 2014 edition of Elle Magazine (UK) features the singer, Rita Ora, whom you can see modelling one of the silk kimonos from my www.wafuku.co.uk website.
Rita Ora in a Wafuku kimono in Elle.
Here it is in colour (not on Rita).
In the beautiful, hand applied textile art there is this gorgeous mandarin duck. See the touches of gold Japanese lacquer (urushi) detailing too, there is a lot of that on this kimono. A brand new silk kimono like this can cost as much as a new car, being a vast amount of silk, with hand applied textile art and being entirely hand tailored, so a vintage one is a real bargain and they are often in virtually perfect condition or, if flawed, with minor, inconspicuous flaws.
This kimono is a furisode kimono, which is the type with these exceedingly deep sleeves. It will have cost quite a few thousands of pounds when new
In the magazine it says, “Silk kimono from Wafuku”, which is my website at www.wafuku.co.uk, where the actual kimono that Rita’s wearing is, at time of writing, currently available
Peony Beauty Kimono.
This is another of my many, many kimonos. At the moment a friend is trying to decide she wants this one or a girls’ one, which would require slightly less wall space, to display in a bedroom with a dark orange carpet, in her new house. If she decides on one of the smaller ones, I will make this one available on my www.wafuku.co.uk website
The hand applied textile art is of magnificent peonies.
Kimono silk frequently has one pattern in the weave and another printed or painted on it. The pattern in the weave of the silk of this kimono is known as cypress fence, a lattice motif that represents the woven cypress wood fences popular in Japan.
Kabuki Kimono Dress.
The kimono in the photos below is actually a child’s one but my adult daughter wears it as a dress. It has wonderful kabuki characters on it.
Sometimes she wears it with black trousers, which makes a gorgeous outfit.
Sometimes she wears it open like a coat. Because kimonos are worn with a big fold-over at the waist, which shortens them a lot, and children wear them with big tucks loosely stitched onto the shoulders, they are bigger than one might expect when these tucks and folds are not in place, allowing them to be worn in a variety of ways by adults. This one is probably actually made for about a 6 year old, believe it or not.
Another of my many Japanese Haori kimono Jackets.
This one has a beautiful design of trees. Haori are made to be worn over a Japanese kimono and are not usually worn with a sash or obi but they look fantastic with Western World clothing (known as yofuku), both belted and unbelted. This one is currently (at time of writing) on my www.wafuku.co.uk website too.
Ran-giku Design Kimono.
Another of my website’s kimonos. I particularly love Japanese textile art incorporating ran-giku, a trailing petal chrysanthemum that is much prized in Japan, sometimes called spider chrysanthemum. This is a lovely example of a ran-giku print kimono, in lovely, soft silk crepe. A real gem.
There are some very tiny, inconspicuous marks on this kimono; nothing terribly noticeable. It is a very old one and in wonderful condition, the fabric strong and bright, with many, many years of life in it. Kimonos are so expensive that the Japanese take exquisite care of them.
One of the antique Japanese haoris on my website.
Haori of this age tend to be made of extremely soft, supple silk, are extra long and have extra deep sleeves. They frequently have red linings too, as do many antique kimonos. Tis one is a glorious purple, which the camera would not do justice to, and is in wonderful condition. You’d never realise from the condition that it is an antique and it has many years of wear in it.
One my favourites of the haori on my website.
The hand applied (yuzen) textile art is a delight of flowers, on a thick, high quality black silk. It is fully lined and, like all line haori, the seams are hidden, so you don’t see any raw edges or such if you turn it inside out. It is, like most kimonos and haori, entirely hand sewn by the kimono tailor.
The big white stitches you see on the edge of the sleeve are only temporary. It is called shitsuke and is put in to keep the edges neat during long term storage. These garments are so expensive when new that they are carefully cared for, so they last for generations. The are often more expensive than haute couture equivalents.
The textile art is exquisite. Many traditional Japanese garments are wearable works of art.
In the picture below, you can see it worn open.
Finally, more girls’ kimonos worn by an adult.
This kimono is a synthetic textile one, intended for a 7 year old girl to wear at shichi-go-san (7-5-3), celebration held annually in Japan, when boys of three and five and girls of three and seven, celebrate childhood and a Shinto shrine. Although most of this type of girls’ kimono is made of synthetic textile, they are nonetheless very, very expensive, so parents tend to hire them for the day, rather than pay hundreds or even well over a thousand pounds to buy one. Nowadays this is the case with most kimonos worn in Japan, they are so expensive to buy that many just hire one for a special occasion.
These kimonos are worn by girls with the kimono length shortened by a big fold-over at the waist and narrowed at the shoulders by big, loosely stitched tucks. With no tucks or fold-over, it is this size on this petite adult. The woman in these photos is a petite 5’1″ and a size 8UK, so these kimonos would be shorter on someone taller. My taller sister wears them as ornate, summer coats, usually wearing them open.
Teal above, pink below.
Red with flowers, Imperial carriages and lots of gold
Pretty plum blossom detail on the red kimono.
Burgundy with masses of gold flowers and big, colourful good fortune wheels.
You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.
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