Antique Haori–Sweet Fern Green

Soft Blooming Peonies And Chrysanthemums On Fern Green Silk.

It is spring here in greater Chicagoland, and that means that it was 90 goddamn degrees Freedom Eagle Units Fahrenheit (32C) all of three days ago, and now it’s actually a bit chilly. Welcome to the US Midwest, where the weather doesn’t matter because the seasons are all made up. Smell that in the air? Gonna be a tornado soon. I need to get those tansu the fuck out of the garage, because we’re gonna need that space to protect from hail soon.

What? It’s not boring.

This delightful haori comes to me from an impulse buy on OfferUP a few months ago, and I’ve finally gotten around to documenting it. As that suggests, it was purchased stateside. The reason I waited so long with this one is not just be because I’m really fucking lazy. It’s because I needed to make some decisions on how I wanted to handle it. Because a very interesting modification was made to this piece, and I had to decide if I wanted to undo said alteration.

So what alteration? Well, at some point someone replaced the lining. And they did it perfectly! Everything is tidy, perfectly sized, and the person who did it knew precisely what they were doing.

The thing is…they replaced it with what can only be described as early 90’s hip-hop jumpsuit chic. Look at this shit.

This haori is most certainly pre-WWII, and yet there’s hardcore 90’s polyester jumpsuit lining in there. Some tiny Japanese grandma tackled the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and stole his pants to make this. (Why did I make this joke? Well you see, Grandma Mitsui was one of my biggest cheerleaders with my love of kimono, and she was a huge fan of Fresh Prince, sooo. That one was for you, Grandma.)

This was heartwarming for an unusual reason. For this to be relined this way means that someone deliberately chose this fabric. Linings get replaced all the time. But this one being in the US in this condition means that it probably didn’t get swiped at the gates of some fucking internment camp. It stayed with the original owner for quite some time. And the original owner kept wearing and caring for it for quite some time. That feels…better than a lot of the things I handle.

I did, however, make the decision to change the lining. As hilarious and awesome as I think this is, it’s ugly as hell and I do kinda wanna wear this thing. And what is this thing? A late Taisho to early Showa Era haori adorned with botan (peony), kiku (chrysanthemums), and a delightful jimon (woven pattern) of kogomi (fiddlehead ferns).

This is a short one, because I’m about to do a short burst of showcases as I prepare my tansu for final polish. Join me next time when I scream at purple things.

BYE.

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