It might be the renewed sense of clarity that being at home with my mother's delish food has granted me that I'm suddenly remembering long-forgotten wardrobe aims and I'm wondering why this hasn't cropped up on the blog beforehand, even though it is blindingly obvious and has been simmering on the scummy surface of my brain for ages. Long before this blog even begun, when I was buried in JSTOR papers at the UCL library, I had always always meant to buy some sort of kimono robe – preferably vintage, preferably fraying and preferably a bit faded – to wear as a spring coat. As the cold snap is easing away (no coat today, just scarf – yay!) I'm sniffing spring already and so this stop-and-start search continues. It's a protracted long-arse search that always seems to falter at some hurdle or an other. I have been checking out my usual kimono haunts all these years – Beyond Retro (they have a rail of semi-decent robes), Annie's Vintage, Alfie's Antique Market and back in the day, Steinberg & Tolkien (blub blub blub…it's gone), every time I do remember my ongoing search and somehow, something always goes awry; too expensive, too lightweight, too short, too garish, too err…Chinese (?!?!) and just not quite right. I can't quite articulate how this imaginary kimono spring coat needs to be. I'm not even sure if I'm all that concerned with actual authenticity, (advanced apologies to all those kimono-know-it-alls out there who might saliently point out that the ones below are not in fact kimonos). There's something in the type of pattern, the colours, the length, the weight of fabric and the cut that needs to be just so. I'll definitely know it when I see it.
It doesn't help that every now and again in this six year period of searching for this kimono that I get ickle reminders that once again fuels the search… a certain Olsen stepping out in one with some jeans, lingerie/nightwear-filled editorials, the 'Oriental' spin that filters down every now and then from the catwalks and thus creating numerous spin-offs on the high street, the Moss doing one for Topshop and lately The very stylish Glamourai utilising vintage kimono fabric to create wraps for Shrimpton Couture…
Sadly, none of these work as satisfying alternatives and they only make me pile even more criteria on to tick all the boxes of this dreamt-up kimono.
eBay is no help these days either, with the search term 'kimono' spawning generic robes that are flogged in Chinese tourist destinations. I've found a few possibilities on Etsy below but even then I'm umming and aaahing over the deets. I'm hoping 2010 will bring this search to a close and even better if it comes in the first quarter of the year so that I can get some 'spring' wear out of it, pairing it with layers of loose thing jersey vests, selection of vintage slips, loose leather trousers, and some sculptural shoes. This is of course only a projected outfit that requires some readjustment once said kimono actually comes into my hands. I may need a dose of my mother's food regularly throughout the year to keep this cause in mind and bring this to a satisfactory end.
(From top to bottom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)