Showa Haori–Sugar Pop!

Bright Red Silk With Blooming Spring Flowers And A Touch Of Gold.

Sugar pop! Those were the words that flew out of my mouth with a cutesy little gasp when I first saw this piece. If you know me personally, and some of you do, then you know that my personal fashion aesthetic is…I don’t know, lazy goth? Ugh, especially in Pandemic Season™. It’s just so hard to give half a fuck, guys. Isn’t it? Boy is this blog post starting out great. Anyway, the reason I mentioned that is because some of you are going to be surprised that I bought this on purpose and for myself. To wear, and not just to look at. (Pretty much every time I buy a haori, it’s to wear it. These jackets are just so versatile, and I have entirely too many of them. I’m gonna buy more.) I like things that are striking. Sometimes that means an array of flowers and sacred objects on a field of black. And sometimes that means a festive red flower party that makes you want to gargle cotton candy and run screaming through a confection store.

So even though it’s a delightfully soft rinzu weave with exceptionally long sleeves, I am not convinced that this is a Taisho era Haori. Honestly, it’s the lining that makes me think this. I have some confirmed 1940’s era pieces that have almost this exact lining. It seems reasonable to me. I’m not sure that this piece was ever even worn. The fold lines in it were so sharp and hard to coax out, that it felt like it had been folded for a long time. There’s no signs of fading or wear anywhere. I can’t find any staining. There are a few spots where the red dye has bled through the Yuzen (resist dye paint) in areas of white to make little pink patinas, but that’s not always staining. That’s just some shit that happens sometimes.

The rinzu (woven pattern) is of aoi (hollyhock) and the big, fluffy leaves of the fully bloomed kiri (paulownia) flowers are adorned with paintings of other flowers, botan (peony), ume (plum blossoms), and tsubaki (camelia). Soft gold threads are woven into some of the flowers, which are embellished with embroidery. Some of the leaves are surrounded in thick gold couching, which is in perfect shape. Other leaves are accented with a thin line of kinsai (gold leaf paint). I don’t think this is real gold. When I compare the tint of these gold embellishments to the confirmed real (and original) gold couching/kinsai on similarly aged pieces, the gold on this haori looks more…how shall I say…yellow? There’s a sweet, almost orange undertone that real gold tends to have. This stuff doesn’t. That said, I haven’t had the opportunity to test it. If I do, I’ll update this. I don’t really care if it’s real gold or not, it was expertly applied and it’s not gaudy. Or at least not any more gaudy than it’s supposed to be.

This is a rare domestic purchase that’s in pretty perfect condition. I’ve been doing a lot of domestic purchases and working on my restoration skills this year because it’s not like I can do shit else. In a way, it’s been a little bit of a positive. I have some absolute gems in my collection now, and I’ve gotten infinitely better and repairs. Also that dresser behind the kimono stand was a restoration I did, too. I like to fix things. Sharp eyes might notice the little colourful fluff down in the lower left hand corner. My stupid ass didn’t check to make sure my area was clear before I snapped these pictures, and you are seeing the giant spider plush that usually lives on top of the mirror. SAY HI, SVEN. I apologize for nothing.

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