Thursday, February 18, 2010

Maiko Barbies

I have a glass case in my living room that houses my kimono Barbie collection. Now, I'm not a "Barbie Collector", embarrassing my husband in front of his friends with frilly dolls displayed around the house, but rather I'm a "Kimono Collector" (with over 200 real kimono!) so I only have kimono-clad dolls.

That being said, I'm sure the next posts will mostly appeal to fellow kimono-junkies, so I'll focus on the kimono authenticity aspects mostly. Before I get to the bought Barbies, I'd like to share the two that I made myself. Both are maiko (apprentice geisha). I made them using dolls and fabric purchased from the thrift store.

The first one was made from a Mulan Barbie doll. The kimono was made from a polyester shirt with a plum blossom pattern, and the obi is from a scrap of Japanese craft brocade. The flower kanzashi are actually paper, but the yellow flowers and yellow obi-jime contrast well with all the pink and purple. The obi-dome is a cloisonne bead cut in half and matches the green leaves in the pink kimono.

Back view, you can see the pretty fabric of the darari obi. I didn't have the patience to create a okiya crest on the tail. I attempted it for the sake of looking authentic, but I didn't like the result. The hairstyle is ofuku.

Second maiko I made, I'm not as proud of. Only after I fixed the hair and painted the face did I realize this doll's arms do not move upward! Makes posing impossible, but kept going because of the effort already put into it. I love the fabric of the kimono. The lighting is bad in the picture, but its a nice purple with yuuzen-style print. The flower kanzashi are silver flowers, and the obi-dome is actually an oriental shaped button bought at Joann Fabrics.

The obi is made of Chinese brocade also from Joann Fabrics, in a pastel yellow with purple and orange butterflies that go well with the kimono. Her hairstyle is wareshinobu. Because her arms don't move, she appears to be very long and skinny. Oh well, she looks nice on display.

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