Antique Haori-Springtime Snowflakes

Deep Dark Plum Silk Adorned With Iris And Bamboo Inside Stylized Snow Rings.

This is one of my many pieces that I struggle to date properly when it comes to placing it squarely in an era. Women’s haori are delightful little jackets, and traditionally speaking are informal to begin with (unlike men’s haori but that’s another article). Because of that, you’ll see all kinds of random “rule” breaking stuff on them all of the time, because they’re stylish little wraps to keep you warm and who gives a fuck. I guess that was a sentiment back then, too. You can trust me, I’m a not giving a fuck scientist.. At least I like to think so. Back on topic, sometimes I get lucky and I can get provenance, but even that usually only gives me a ballpark. Sometimes there are also little things that scream “HI YES I AM DEFINITELY FROM THIS SPECIFIC DECADE BECAUSE THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF ME” but that’s not what’s happening here, sooooo.

In this case, I have provenance from the person I bought it from that their grandparent had it in the 1930’s. Which means we can prove that it existed at least in the 1930’s, placing it in the early Showa Era. It’s possible it’s older, but I actually don’t think so. There’s a certain softness that 20’s-40’s era haori tend to have to them that’s kind of hard to explain without just shoving one in your hands and demanding you feel it up like the creep we all are. I know what I said. But to set things apart a bit, earlier pieces, for example from the Taisho Era, tended to be longer in the sleeves. But it’s possible that this was altered at some point. Whatever, you get it, it’s old.

This is a restoration I didn’t keep track of because at the time that I did it, I had no idea anyone gave a crap. (My face when I checked my site counter–water everywhere.) But I almost had to take this whole thing apart because the threads were just busted everywhere. I can’t even tell you why. The fabric isn’t particularly stressed, and the threads, other than the broken spots, were strong and in good shape. It’s like someone went in there and just snipped them randomly between the panels here and there like a goddamn psychopath. I know one when I see one. Anyway, that was a fucking thing. As I am the World’s Okayest Seamstress, she’s whole again and all is better with the world. Whatever, I would have had to take the sleeves and the side panels off to resize it for myself anyway.

The second thing was some minor stain removals. There’s nearly always a few things, but they weren’t interesting or difficult. What didn’t scratch right off was removed successfully and completely using the vinegar method that I detail here. I don’t really remember any one stain from another, so I can safely say that they weren’t special.

The last thing was a weird little box shaped snipped from the silk on a sleeve. It was bizarre looking. I don’t think I have a picture of the damage before I fixed it, but I got a nice little closeup of the repair. I’ve done this repair quite a few times, usually on older pieces. Basically what I do is I take a chunk of silk from inside of the seam allowance that closest matches the area that was damaged, and I tack it behind the hole with tiny, precise stitches. It’s a giant pain in the ass, but provided that the garment is in good shape structurally, it’s a very sturdy repair that can be nearly invisible when done right.

Pictured: More hand than hole. Yay?

It’s on the front left sleeve. You have to be this close to it to see it, so I’m satisfied with my repair. If any rando I ever encounter on the street while wearing it ever notices it–well they won’t see it for long because they’re about to have some eyeballs full of bear mace, because they are too goddamn close. Haha! Violence.

This haori almost looks black, and that’s true in person, too. In bright light and in the sunlight, it’s a deep, dark plum. It’s so dark purple that it’s almost black, but it’s definitely purple. It has a sweet, soft rinzu pattern of lines that run parallel with the resist dyed lines that I believe are a stylized kasumi (haze). The little orange rings with plants in them are called yukiwa, and they depict snowflakes. Interestingly (read: infuriatingly if you learn this the way I did), yukiwa is only the word for snowflake in THIS SPECIFIC FUCKING CONTEXT. You’ll also find it on garments of almost any season, because that’s fun…right? Inside of the yukiwa are ayame (iris) and sasa (bamboo). The lining is a bomb of light orange and yellow in a watercolour style gradient (bokashi) on rinzu silk that depicts asanoha (hemp leaf), sasa, kiku (chrysanthemums), and flowing water (mizu). Also it’s soft as hell.

That’s pretty much all there is to say about this one. Just a showcase of sweet haori goodness. You can’t eat it, but you kind of want to.

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