domingo, 31 de agosto de 2014

Kimono VS Geisha

In these days, I often ask myself what is truly a kimono lover.
What is truly a person that values the kimono for the beauty of its artwork, and enjoys wearing it properly and truly. I am a kimono lover and collector for many years, and more and more I notice people that claim to be kimono lovers, but are unable to value the kimono itself.
Their passion for kimono comes only from their obsession(an obsession that sometimes can be sick) for geisha and maiko. The wanting of being one, look like, or feel like one. The people who started their love for kimono without the bond to geisha are extremely rare, and I am myself suspect since I also started that way. I began to like kimono because I was incredibly stunned by geisha, and wanted to look like one. I was only a teenager at that time, and passing by the years, I now only enjoy kimono because it's kimono, and I learned its value and beauty. I remember I saw people creating a lot of conflict, drama, envy and hate over everything related to geisha.
It was like crazy teens around their idol, and it happens even now. When a hikizuri, or darari obi appeared, it was like releasing a thousand dogs to one bone, people would fight and spend thousands to get the piece. I am myself a geisha and maiko items collector, and for much that I would love to own certain kimono or obi, I would never spend so much money, or starve during a month, to be able to have them. The worst case I remember about this obsession, was someone who bought an extremely stained hikizuri once(the piece was really in a poor condition) to perform as a geisha somewhere. This person didn't care if the kimono could be biohazard to their health, nor the image that they would transmit in public wearing such a stained garment, the person was just blind and obsessed by looking like a geisha, that the means didn't matter, what mattered was the kimono being worn by geisha, so the 15cm round brown stains all over had no importance.

Some time ago, I met a girl who loved kimono, but didn't know anything about geisha. I've asked her how did she found kimono then, and how she started to enjoy it.
She told me "Well, I saw in magazines and online, and enjoyed how japanese ladies and girls looked so beautiful and colorful on them. There was so much artwork involved, and I wanted to try a kimono myself!"
I was quite impressed by her, and the way she would value and cherish a normal kimono, or a common nagoya obi. She would value much more the artwork of the piece, and not who worn it before, or if it had belonged to a geisha or a normal woman. I thought to myself that she was a true kimono lover.
I've seen people buying a hikizuri or darari, that they didn't even like, just because of the fact a geisha had dress and sweat in it! Years ago, someone told me "When I look for geisha items, the motif or condition doesn't matter. What matters is that a geisha wore it". It makes me think that these collectors would even buy toilet paper used by maiko, just because she used it. Ewww!
So if for this persons the artwork on a kimono piece doesn't matter, and the condition doesn't matter, and if they are willing to give thousands for something, I don't think they can be called collectors(collectors value much condition specially) or a kimono lover. This is someone who is obsessed with a particular thing, and nothing more. This people are also ready to attack anyone or everything if they see geisha being "harmed" somehow, or if they feel the connections they think they have online with the geisha world is in question.
This was one of the things that made be back off with everything geisha related, because unfortunately I couldn't look to a geisha photo or item anymore without feeling something very negative, and all this drama around them that people created. Of course, this beautiful and unique artists have no fault, and I still love and admire them very much, but I simply cannot involve myself with anything related to them anymore, without having bad memories comming out of everything that happened in the kimono community during the years.

I enjoy kimono so much, and I value a tsukesage as much as I would value a hikizuri. Maybe the tsukesage is even more valuable, if it has a beautiful color and artwork, and it doesn't drag on the floor(why would I need a hikizuri but for a fashion show, henshin, or tradicional japanese dance?). If I have to value a darari obi, for example, I would value it for the design and the condition.
This is how I see kimono now, as it really is. An incredible mark of the japanese culture, and a stunning painting, that's why I enjoy to wear it and teach people about it. I love how accessible it is to us westerns and how many kitsuke can be created with so many accessories and different motives. I also follow the kimono rules and choose a much more traditional look, but sometimes also bend them a little whenever the occasion is appropriated to create "iki" new styles.
I think it's important that people start to see the kimono as something independent of geisha, with a life and way of its own, in order to enjoy it fully.

(I think it's important to tell my readers that, by this post, I am not telling that every maiko or geisha lover is obsessed or does not enjoy the art of kimono. Of course that for some geisha collectors, such as myself, the beauty and condition of the kimono piece is more important. I'm just speaking in general of what I see and my own experiences, and what I feel).

With this being said, I won't be writing here much anymore.

Please remember to see the beauty in the most simple kimono!

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