Wa lolita : is that possible ?

Edited in June 2015 : added a second outfit and a tutorial video.

A few weeks ago I released on the internet this picture of a style born in hell : wa-lolita.

Needless to say that as a lolita, wa-lolita is to me a dreaded term and I was kind of wary of an eventual backlash which never happened

Now as a kimono and alternative fashion lover, I always try to add a twist to my kimono outfit. I have a fond love for hakama style.

Of course, the pleated hakama look was going to be the easiest way to do wa-lolita. The color blocking part was a bit off for it, but it help conserving a more traditional look and is safer (I only have black skirts anyway).

The big question was then : how can I keep the balance between lolita and wafuku ?
One again the hakama style had the answer. As you can see above, I'm wearing boots with hakama. Longer hakama for more formal occasions are supposed to be worn with zori and tabi (which I dislike, really) but shorter ones are okay with retro looking boots. My Axes Femme boots are a bit of my go-to shoes as a classic lolita. The shoes belonging to both styles, it was perfect for this outfit.

Then the problem of the collar. Under your kimono you're suppose to wear a juban (underkimono) which will only show at the sleeves and collar of your outfit. I choose to suppress it to avoid some supplementary bulk and went the fake collar route. Lace accessories are often worn in modern kimono styling, so a white lace collar and matching lace tighs were my first obvious choice, making the outfit a bit lighter in color.

As for the hair, one is supposed to wear an updo with kimono. I choose to wear a modern kanzashi but one can use flowers matching the kimono pattern or an hat.

Overall I went for a retro style which match my usual classical lolita look, using a nice high waist skirt to avoid the obi problem (obi which is almost hidden in an hakama look anyway).

I made a quick photo tutorial to explain the dressing process (sorry for bad lighting and weird angles, I need to buy a tripod) :

1) You want to use an underdress to protect your kimono from getting body oil and everything.
It's time to do your hair and makeup, choose your legwear and shoes.

2) Place the fake collar. I use some random lace bobby pinned to my underdress and secured with a koshi-himo (thin silk or gaze belt)

3) Put on your kimono. You can use a yukata or a kimono, I picked this one because it's really thin and easy to fold. The thinner and shorter the best.

4) Fold the kimono knee-lenght, left over right then secure with another koshi-himo.

5) Adjust the upper part, close down the collar and tie it with a last belt. You can shorten a bit your kimono as well as pull your collar back a bit.

6) Add the skirt and tadaa ! You're a wa-lolita.
No your kimono shouldn't peek from under the skirt. You saw nothing.

Final result
A few last tips :

Kimono and lolita do have really different rules on what's acceptable or not. Knowing them before breaking them is a good point !
Kimono color coordination can be tricky and mostly have nothing to do with lolita's view on colors, I think erring of the safe way with being a bit more matchy-matchy than usual in kimono fashion is better.
Traditional kimono patterns may work a lot better for classic and gothic, but colorful yukata fabric are spot on for sweet imo.

Edit :
As I see more and more people linking this post, I'll try my best to up the quality content.  So I though I could present to you the second, more complete version of my wa lolita outfit.

Outfit for La Vie en Rose 2015
As I guess I'm a bit lazy, I didn't really want to compete on the old school or classic grounds for this winter's big event, so I though about wa lolita. I took my initial idea and changed pretty much everything except the skirt and collar.

For the kimono I chose a chuufurisode (half-lenght sleeves) which is the traditional lenght for hakama wear, and settled with celebratory patters like fans since the event was so fancy. As jewerly is pretty rare in kimono styling, I elected a single ring with carnation flower on it, which is the symbol of traditional japanese beauty.

Modern hakama styling with a chuurfurisode, reminiscent of Meiji with the yabane kimono pattern

While the bold orange-pink color of the kimono and the lace accessories are definitely Taishô inspired, the western hat and shoes are really reminiscent from Meiji.
Wearing a hat with this outfit not only balance out the skirt volume but paired with short hair give a much more free, young and careless vibe to the outfit.
For long, it was only men who adopted the western vestry since they had to work in a western environment while the women remaining at home kept wearing their kimono. Such a short hair cut (only worn by children and really young women) topped with a hat makes the look bold and daring in this historically inspired context.

Cue for the shoes, that should have been boots since mary janes are in this context too reminiscent of child clothing to fit in. The striped stockings add a little bit of dynamism to the legs and make a nice, historically accurate accessory.

Generally speaking, as the hakama is most of the time male clothing I like to add more "manly" elements. In regular kimono styling, people tend to try and overshadow the male elements with a lot of makeup, jewelry and curly hair, but I find the outfit much more fun when it goes the funky route. It's still look like a female style without a doubt, but it has a lot more energy and flow than your regular overly padded and straight formal kimono outfit.

And now for the video. This is the video tutorial for kimono folding 101 in wa lolita. As you may have noticed, english is not my first language and I made my best to be audible, so please bear with my obvious discomfort and the wonky phrasing.

That's all for today, I hope you liked it and sorry for the rambling, unedited pictures and everything !


Fukumi Shimura exhibition

Sooooo. I cut my hair. Like, I suddendly wanted it short (it's been a while I've been thinking about it) and though that if I didn't cut it I would never ever dare, so I just cutted it. Real short. Chin-lenght short. And I'm absolutly please with it, not even one once of regret. I even think I look cuter that way.

against padding for informal kimono, yay.
And I've been to a wonderful kimono exhibition. Until recently I wasn't really aware of weaving technics and advanced japanese textiles classification (such a generic thing to learn about, right ?) but since I'm currently crossreading The Power of the Weave by Yuko Tanaka and Kyoto Modern Textiles (Kyoto textiles wholesalers association) I've been able to gather a bit more knowledge about fabrics. I was lucky enough to attend the Fukumi Shimura exhibition in Paris just as I started the chapter adressing Mingei and handicrafts.

I didn't know Fukumi Shimura before, and oh boy what did I miss.

Look how precious she is !
This cute little grandma of 90 (!) years is one of Japan's 'Ningen kokuhô', a living national treasure. With her daughter they dye and weave priceless tsumugi kimono using traditionnal technics and natural handmade dyes. Her daughter is specialized in japanese indigo, known to be one of the most difficult dye to master.

I don't know how I can express that, but I feel an unconditionnal love for this women. A bit like my weird obsession for Vivienne Westwood. Fukumi Shimura is a thinker. She definitely is an artist. The exhibition walls were plastered with quotes from her various speeches and books entirely about devoting her life to nature rendition, colors and art. She explained how she was influenced by Europe and especially France in her approach of clothing, and although definitely japanese her kimono have something indefinite which totally overcome culture boundaries.

If you know me, you also know that the only thing that can make me cry is clothing, especially handcrafted period clothing and their ethnic pendants. I swear I didn't cry. But it was a tough one.

Their was something else in that exhibition than pretty textiles, something that was not explained but gave to Shimura's work a lot more depth. She only works on pongee and make tsumugi type kimono. She of course use gold and silver thread as well as high quality silk, but most of her work is handyed pongee.
Now, if you don't know kimono, it might not seem that interesting, but let me explain. Pongee is a lower type of silk, made of broken silk thread. It was usually worn by commoners, especially silk-maker. This make tsumugi kimono traditionaly unaceptable in any formal setting. These are hand-dyed, gold and silver woven, handmade by one of Japan's live national treasure informal kimono. A bit like a gold threaded summer dress or hand-embroided jeans. And that's iki.

Honestly I can't picture anyone wearing these successfully. Maybe a geisha or an Onnagata could, but no one is iki enought to rock these awesome pieces of art. I don't know if we can still name them 'kimono'.

I know the exhibition's gonna tour in Germany in a close future, so if you have the occasion of seeing it please do. These pictures don't do them any justice, flattens the details of the fabric and fail to capture the colors.


Outfits, a bit more outfits

So what's new ?

Got my new hakama, yay. Otherwise, nothing really. I'm sorry, my life isn't that entertaining. I'm looking forward to go to some exhibition, most especially the Hokusai one at the Grand Palais.

Oh yeah, speaking about the Grand Palais, I got to attend the Mugler fashion show last fashion week. Pretty awesome, even though I still like Formicetti way better than the new artistic director.

And a new takoyaki restaurant opened in Paris ! It's like super expensive, but takoyaki is my favourite japanese food ever so I needed to try it out (and burn my tongue once more).
I think I said it already, but Naoya-sensei (a kimono tailor) nicknamed me Takoyaki-mari because of that.
Thanks Marie darling for this picture.

I didn't earn my nickname by mistake. Also you can't see it, but my eyebrows were pink that day.

I also went to some lolita meet-ups.
My friend Alice from Clermont-Ferrand came in Paris during the holidays. We applied to model for a small japanese culture festival hosted at a gallery.

Laura (a former classmate !), an adorable fairy kei girl, Emilie, Laylla, Elodie, Alice, me, Clarimonde, Taiseyou, Kay and Miyu

And my outfit for that day.

After that, Clarimonde and Alice came home for a sleep over. They went through my dresses and tried some Victorian Maiden on.

always so classy flat entrance. yay.
Also, kind of a last minute meet-up, I wasn't supposed to come but I tagged along. It was classic lolita themed, and pretty funny. Everyone was wonderful. So nice to see you all, girls !

A few kimono outfits :

My new komon is absolut love. I need more green in my life

First time doing a kai no kuchi musubi, I did ok I guess.

Showa jidai kimono and hakama look for my birthday
Some random stuffs (I'm going back to goth/soft-grunge these days) :

Short, jacket : Naf-naf

Hat : Primark
Blouse, dress : Naf-Naf
Bag : Mugler

Top : H&M
Tights : Primark
Boots : Forever 21

Beanie : Primark

Top : Primark
Shorts : Naf-naf

Dress : vintage
Harness : Undiz and handmade

And some lolita :

Bow : Fly away Fashion
Dress : Baby
Blouse : Aatp

Hat : VM
Blouse : IW
Shorts : Naf-naf
Boots : Axes Femme

I'm planning on making a tutorial for folding kimonos under a skirt anytime soon.
Skirt : Mary Magdalene
Boooh, I'm bad at blogging. I'll try to keep this updated as much as possible, but I have this weird, weird habit of living the instant rather than taking pictures of it, so much for blogging purpose.
See you soon !

Street art near Pompidou

Went for a walk near the Pompidou Center last month.