Cream houmongi with gold embroidery

This houmongi feels as beautiful to wear as I hoped it would.

My new houmongi arrived yesterday morning, courtesy of Japanese Antiques.

I couldn’t resist trying it on, so I popped it over my home-made juban in white Thai silk, and teamed it with a Showa-era fukuro obi with gold arabesques (with my 5in obi stay tucked inside). The obi-scarf, which you can’t even see in these pictures, is just a long silk scarf that I broomsticked, and the obi-cord is actually a curtain tieback, as I’m sure you can tell. The kimono still pretty crumpled because I had just got i out of the packaging.

cream houmongiI was just playing, really, but then the plumber turned up, so I ended up wearing the kimono all morning, and it felt just delightful.

Old rinzu is a very different kettle of fish from modern rinzu – much more my line. Beautiful soft and silky, with a delicate sheen, it drapes wonderfully and feels quiet against the skin. This one has a very complicated pattern of sayagata and plum blossoms.
The decoration on this kimono is yuzen, with very subtle shadings, teamed with very stiff, glittery surihaku and gold-thread embroidery – not couched but sewn right through the fabric.

I particularly love these Showa-era kimonos with the contrast-dyed hems and sleeve hems. The subtle contrast between the cream and the light blue is really lovely, like you see in French country interiors, and it marries beautifully with the subdued reds, greens, oranges and golds in the fabric.

I felt quite disappointed to change back into my daily-wear brown kimono with arabesques, though I love it – I am starting to get the bug for these eba-patterned, more formal kimono.

Well, all I need to work out now is some occasion to wear this thing, otherwise it will be just for swanning around the house and pretending to be a princess.

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