How-To/LookS: Part 1 ~ Becoming a 1920s Modan Garu....through dressing in a Yukata!

Arriving nothing more than a petticoat and under kimono...
(This is quite easily one of my favourite photos of the it!)
As I hear the wind roar past my window on this chilly Sunday, I hope you darlings are wrapped up warm and having a pleasantly sweet day of rest. Indeed there is much to look forward to and much to tell....especially an exciting bit of news I have kept under wraps the past few days until it is officially published in this amazingly talented friend Caroline Opacic from Caroline Opacic Photography has agreed to become Walking In May's official photographer! I am sure you darlings have heard me rave on about how amazing she is and witnessed her beautiful photography work in the past few posts, but I must tell you how thoroughly impressed I was when we had our recent Yukata photoshoot. For once, arriving half-dressed with only a big long cardigan to keep my modesty, I felt as though I was experiencing what a bride might do on her big day. As my dear friend Naoko busied herself around me to get me dressed as authentically as possible with what limited resource she had in that restaurant's wash room, and I worried over where I misplaced some string or parts of fabric as restaurant guests swamped through with amusement, Caroline worked diligently with her camera to capture the refined process without us even realising she was actually there. Most of all, I was really impressed with the beautiful level of detail and thought her photographs revealed....even though she had just dashed around us effortlessly snapping away whilst making lovely comments to calm our nerves. I dare say that...if I should have been a bride getting ready for her big day, then I would have nothing to worry about where wedding photographs are concerned if Caroline should be my will certainly be fully captured in the most natural and magical way! Right, it is finally time to reveal something of the much anticipated Yukata that I brought back from Japan...when I visited Tokyo, Kyoto and Sendai last summer....

Step 1: After dressing in the white collared under kimono garment and petticoat.......

Step 2: ....a towel was wrapped around the waist and tied securely with string.

Step 3:  Putting on the Yukata, the white under kimono collar needs to be adjusted and slightly revealed.....whilst restaurant guests looked on!

Step 4: The Yukata is wrapped neatly to create a straight column form, secured with a string around the waist area and the length is adjusted by pulling over excess fabric that can be folded to tuck or hide the string underneath....which also ensures the long floor length Yukata hemline is pulled up to slightly above ankle length.

Never thought my hand could look so pretty amongst that floral print.......
Having watched what seemed like a straight forward video on how-to wear a Yukata online, I was still totally lost by the procedures that needed to follow and utterly glad Naoko was able to make it to our lunch at London's Braserie Zedel....otherwise I really would have sat in the glitzy Art Deco restaurant dining room in not much but my finger waves, petticoat and under kimono! Don't even get me started on my memory of embarrassing moments, and thankfully none of the other guests noticed how racy I was waltzing in with that long cardigan, so I was really very lucky to have Naoko and Caroline as well as a beautiful Art Deco ladies wash room to get properly dressed up in. Though crisis did hit when we couldn't find two of the fabric ties that were meant to keep the garment in place and literally had to cut a string of yarn in half to make ends to speak. As traditionally the Yukata is not meant to be a garment that shows one's figure, the waistline is usually padded out with more fabric (or in my case a towel) in order to create a straight column shape. Then Naoko made me realise that the Obi sash I had bought in Japan whilst at Tokyo's Asakusa Temple was not a proper Obi, she really had to make-do in working meticulously to create that pretty bow for my journey to transform into a 1920s Modan Garu (Japanese term for 'modern girl' that describes ladies following flapper styles, or mixing traditional Eastern with modern Western styles during the roaring twenties) has been utterly fascinating that day!

Step 5: Tying the Obi or sash on top of the folded extra fabric....Naoko demonstrating the traditional way to tie the Obi.

First forming a ribbon-like bow......

.....and then wrapping the drop-down remainder around the knot of the bow to create a very pretty full bow!

And I was ready to tuck into an Art Deco lunch at the Brasserie Zedel restaurant!

But first a few more photos in the Art Deco tiled ladies.....and I remembered this pose from a beautiful ceramic doll my father brought back from Japan when I was little......
Imperfections aside, though I have tried to be as authentic as possible without actually being Japanese, I really enjoyed dressing up in the Yukata, having lunch with my girlies in such a pretty Art Deco place and roaming about central London with Caroline. More importantly, I simply wanted to wear the Yukata because I fell in love with that gorgeous gold gilded pink floral print across a vivid blue turquoise-ish fabric....and how could you not. So I am looking forward to getting a proper Obi and wearing my Yukata when we head to the Candlelight Club for April's 'Sakura in Tokyo' night....can you imagine what a sight it will be with all my gorgeous girlies dressed in Yukata within the backdrop of candlelight? There shall be more to reveal on the Yukata shoot with Caroline (link) and Modan Garu in the next few posts. On a different note, my dear friend Therese shall be strutting down the justice catwalk to raise funds for a legal charity at London's Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday 13th February 2014 (7pm)....where there will also be a nail bar and some vintage stalls selling some lovely second hand please do get a 'Justice Fashion' ticket [link] to do a good deed and pop along for some gorgeous vintage fun! Have a fabulous start to the new week my darlings!

Until the next time,
May xx

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Finally looking like a 1920s inspired Modan Garu and ready for a spot of lunch!