Saturday, 20 July 2013

Kimonos and Kanzashi at Christ Church 2013

The Lambert Centre was full on Saturday 20 July for this much anticipated event. Asako Ito, a professional kimono maker working in Japan, gave a demonstration of how hair was worn traditionally and how a kimono is put on. Asako's description of the hairsstyling and dressing processes were translated into English by Ian Messer.
Asako Ito with Ian Messer

Asako began by styling the hair of our model, Lauren, telling us about the combs and the waxes used in the process. Asako put on a special 'apron' to protect her own kimono from the wax, and showed how the hair is divided into 5 sections. Each section is then rolled over pads and pinned in place.
Asako in apron, about to pin up the back hair

Finally hair ornaments - kanzashi - are added. Specific kanzashi are chosen to complement the kimono or the occasion.
Kanzashi on Asako (left) and model (right)

Lauren was then asked to choose which of the kimonos she would like to wear. She chose the peacock kimono. This had an olive green top, with a burnt orange lower section, and large areas of embroidered flowers and peacocks.
Halfway through putting on the kimono

The first item is a wrap-around robe in a thin fabric. Over this goes the kimono itself. Then a thin belt is tied to keep the kimono in place. Over this goes the obi, the ornamental sash around the waist. Over 4 metres in length, the obi is wound round the waist, held in place by another thinner tied belt.
Tying the obi
The long end of the obi at the back is then folded and tied; Asako used the butterfly tie on this occasion - the finished obi did look as if it had a bright butterfly perched on top.
Full kimono and obi

Kimonos come in different lengths. Asako was wearing an ankle length outdoor kimono, while our model was wearing an indoor kimono which draped around her feet, so Asako finished by showing our model how to walk in a long length kimono.
Pink 'any season' kimono and black 'tulip' kimono

It was a fascinating talk and we learnt so much. There are different kimono patterns for different seasons, but you wear one that looks forward - a cherry blossom kimono is worn in January-February as the blossom season begins in March. The very season kimono above has many flowers from all seasons. The tulip kimono is a contemporary design by Asako.
Detail of crane on wedding kimono

After the demonstration, there was tea and a selection of lovely cakes, and a chance to look at the kimonos and kanzashi on display.
Kanzashi in metal
Silk ribbon kanzashi hand made by Asako
The event was in aid of church funds and Christ Church is grateful to Asako and Ian for their generous contribution.