In the past few years we have noticed a really cool trend - creating kimono coordinations around various super heroes, villains, and animated characters in general. People are dreaming up really unique approaches to Japanese kimono. Over time we have seen sets that include various Disney Princesses including Ariel, and even most recently ....this diy Harley Quinn kitsuke! This creation is by Lamia Creations ( https://www.facebook.com/LamiaCreations/ ), and we were able to catch up to her to learn more about what inspired them, and their love of Japanese kimono.
*How long have you been dressing in kimono? What sparked your interest in Japanese kimono and inspired you to begin wearing them? "I started wearing Japanese historical clothing in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) in 2001, when a friend was Queen and wanted to have a Heian Court at Pennsic. It was a huge investment in time and money, and quite the learning curve, as Heian court robes (“karaginu mo”) are 8-12 layers and scores of yards of fabric, but it was completely worth it. Another friend invested in a few bolts of silk organza, I sewed up both our full ensembles and she dyed each layer to match summer coordinates (she wore mandarin flower, I wore sweet flag iris). I had to learn to sew nagabakama, kosode, hitoe, uchigi, uwagi, karaginu and mo for both of us. Heian clothes also don’t include obi, or kanzashi, or any of the accessories the average person associates with the idea of “kimono”, but it does allow you to swan around in +60 yards of silk. https://photos.app.goo.gl/4V4615JfsCfLtbyA2
I have been interested in kimono since I was a kid. The Art of Hiroshige was a coffee table book in our living room, and those elegant “ladies with their chopstick hair and funny shoes” drew me in, but never acted on it. Once I’d made that first ensemble, I was hooked. I haunted fabric outlets and sales for silk organza, and created layers in multiple colors to work with any season. This is a Winter Pine ensemble, dark greens paling to white.
Eventually I started exploring modern kimono, specifically Maiko/Geiko, primarily for the accessories. Kanzashi fascinate me. I was fortunate enough to take a short class with Kuniko Kanawa, of Atelier Kanawa http://www.atelierkanawa.com/ at Zenkaikon 2015. I am otherwise self-taught from an awful book, and really appreciated getting to spend that precious hour in that class."
*What inspired you to create a Harley Quinn kimono set? "Two reasons: One, I’d made a Poison Ivy kimono in 2014, based loosely on kabuki costumes, displaying the right undersleeve for a “Kabuki Batman” costume group at DragonCon 2014 (photo by Heather Miller) (Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Riddler, Penguin, Bane, Scarecrow). That was about 8 months of handsewing sewing little silk leaves onto silk taffeta, and then 2 afternoons of hot gluing plastic ivy garlands onto the undersleeve!
The second reason was simply that the idea for a Harley Quinn kimono got into my head and I couldn’t get it out. I felt that Dr. Harleen Quinzel was too old to be a maiko, but she’s such an extreme character that she would ignore all the rules and wear what made her happy, which would include a furisode with long sleeves, and every hair accessory she could get her hands on. The hardest thing to research was, surprisingly, hammers depicted in mon – they are not a common element. https://photos.app.goo.gl/azFgLjlLdXpIGS8j2 the kanji and transliteration “Ana to no kao wa ko ko ni” mean “Your face here”, embroidered with cotton floss in a very graphic style on the bottom of what tries to mimic a maiko’s darari obi.
I tucked a tiny bat signal onto the obi-dome, and made it out of FIMO. It is based on a charming early 20th C bat netsuke. There are teensy skull beads tucked into some of the kanzashi, since she is still a murdering psychopath."
*How was your Kimono Harley received? "It was received very well, I am happy to say! My friends at DragonCon that afternoon were dressed as The Bride and Crazy 88’s from Kill Bill, so the impact was doubled. I would not have looked nearly as well-put together if not for my friends at https://www.facebook.com/absynthcosplay/ who helped me dress and helped with the wig, so my thanks to them again. The response from the Immortal Geisha forum was also 100% positive. 4) Do you have plans for any other super villain or super hero kimono coordination?I sketched out an Avengers kimono series some time back, but I don’t know if that group will ever see the light of day. A Wonder Woman kimono would be great, I think, with so much potential for amazing kanzashi! I also hope to recreate one of Yagihikaru’s Game of Thrones kimono from Deviant Art, for DragonCon 2018. There had also been some discussion with friends about a Heian My Little Pony group, but Heian being what it is, it is a big commitment for a costume that could be a little obscure for the effort. I even made a Cthulhu kimono, which is extremely silly but very very easy to pick out in a crowd from 2 flights above. To answer the actual question, I do plan to make more in the future, but I don’t know which one yet, the muse will let me know!" *Do you have any tips for someone wanting to do a kimono cosplay mashup like your own? "I strongly believe that you can’t break the rules until you learn them first. While of course it takes years to really learn about kimono and kitsuke, a little effort will give you a good grasp of the basics in just a few days. Once you have those basics, then you can really dive into creating an interpretation with maximum impact. What knot would Superman wear on an obi-jime, and why, and would it be upper, lower, or centrally placed? What seasonal color combination would Mystique use? Would Wonder Woman wear her collar pulled down low in the back, or demurely high? Take a few minutes to see what the rules are, and see how you can adjust your vision to fit them."