Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pushing the Season

It finally feels like autumn here in California. In the Valley of the Heart's Delight (so much more poetic than 'Silicon Valley') we do see changes in the seasons. The leaves are turning from green to vivid red, and in the coming months we may even see frost or spy snow on the distant mountaintops. This has always been one of my favorite times of year; there is an ephemeral charge to the air, a sense that there is something new on the horizon.

I took advantage of the lovely weather we've been having to take the snow bunny hitoe kimono out for its first wearing. Even though we are still in autumn, and the motif of the garment is more reminiscent of winter, it is not uncommon to 'push the season' when dressing in kimono. To do this means that one must pull together the ensemble, mindful of the impression the choice of color and motif will leave with the viewer. When 'pushing the season,' the garments would be selected not because they coordinate with the current season, but are suggestive of the season to come (dressing with winter themes in autumn or spring themes towards the end of winter).

The ensemble that I put together incorporating the snow bunnies illustrates this concept very well.

Haori, kimono, obi and obijme selected for the most recent outing. the fabric in the upper right hand corner is the juban, included to show off the han-eri, as it doesn't always show up well when I'm wearing it.
To accentuate the 'wintry' feel of the snow bunnies, I paired it with a cool blue obi that also compliments the snowflake motif in the kimono. I chose the golden colors for the han-eri, my kanzashi, yellow toned obi-jime and even the lighter wood of the geta that I selected not just to bring the whole of the ensemble together but because the warm colors are suggestive of the warmth we seek in the colder months. The haori is a chic stripe in blues and neutral tones which are also cooling, and the drape of that garment is suggestive of being padded (even though it is only lined), another hint of cooler temperatures to come.

The darker-colored tabi also hint at cooler weather.
A view from the back, where you also get a flash of my juban at the sleeve openings.

In Japanese culture there are seasonally appropriate motifs for every season that are not always obvious to the western viewer. With motifs like snowflakes, there is no mystery, but there are many floral motifs that are specific to certain seasons that I am only just beginning to learn about.

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