LookS/Review: Sakura in Old Tokyo....chasing 1920s cherry blossoms at the Candlelight Club!

In all the vintage escapades I have had the honour of joining, the Candlelight Club remains one that I return to in earnest, especially when there is an Eastern or Oriental theme for the night. At times it almost seems that part of the world is missing in the vintage revival map, as Asia is not very often shown...or perhaps even hidden in a majority culture that fears losing face and naturally shies away from individual attention. Fact is, the world lived through different decades sharing styles and experiences common to each other whilst remaining as individuals with their own diversely unique cultural elements, just as we have done today. Though vintage has been increasing in popularity gradually throughout Asia in recent years, you are still unlike to see people walking naturally along the streets in vintage garments matched with vintage hairstyles or have too many vintage events to attend. For those sharing an Asian heritage, the likelihood of seeing one's great grandmother or grandparents adorned in vintage styles might have sparked an interest, or might have been labelled too old fashioned to follow. I remember when I first started collecting the Qipao by buying a new piece when I visited family in South East Asia many eons ago, it was met with a raised eyebrow or two from my aunties whilst my grandma giggled in amusement to my new passion. My cousins and sisters were off to shops that sold the trendiest fashion, whilst I sought out Qipao shops that are normally visited for occasions such as a wedding. In a loosely parallel reflection, I didn't see many local Japanese ladies wearing a Kimono or Yukata on the busy cosmopolitan streets of Tokyo last year, as it was mostly filled with white crisp Western shirts matched with black trousers or skirts. If you run an online search you may find there are not too many pictures and articles on the Modan Gaaru or Moga, which is a literal Japanese translation for the modern girl in 1920s flapping times. Japan's rendezvous with the West included an appreciation of imported Western clothing, the short cut bob, finger waves and Whisky as the most fashionable trend for youths of the time....

[Catch up with my post on the Modan Gaaru here: www.walkinginmay.com/part-3-modan-garu]
My gorgeous gang of 1920s Moga.....absolutely moxie!

Proudly displaying my handiwork of pretty tied obi bows! :)

Strike a pose...hehe!

Rachael's collection of vintage kimono and obi....

Dressing in a Yukata or Kimono
After acquiring a beautiful blue Yukata with pink blossoms from my last trip to Japan, how could I pass the opportunity to wear it again and roll with some hot 1920s jazz at the Candlelight Clubs's Sakura in Old Tokyo night! Plus Rachael actually has an amazing collection of vintage and antique Kimono, which you can see the rest of the girlies wearing in the photos, and we absolutely love dressing up to the roaring twenties. Nabbing myself a proper vintage yellow obi that is light enough for a Yukata on Etsy, I sifted through YouTube for videos (see below) on dressing and practised how to tie the flat Hira obi on myself as well as by myself...because Naoko was unable to attend the event. Arriving at Rachael's fully dressed in my Yukata and tied obi, I was tasked with dressing the girlies and tying their obi into cute bows. Once dressed and made up with hair as well as make-up, we were ready for a mini photoshoot in Rachael's garden with her collection of parasols...having fun in the sun!
VIDEO: How to tie flat obi belt/Hira obi (Source: Kimono Yukata Market)

[Catch up on my step-by-step photo 'How-To' dress in a Yukata here:

Close up of the Hira obi bow I tied myself!

The dapper gang...ready for 1920s Tokyo!

Last minute adjusting of Rachael's Nagoya obi......

The Candlelight Club ~ Sakura in Old Tokyo
The name of this regular London vintage event derives from the secret venue being lit entirely by candlelight, just like how they use to do it before electricity was widely available. Having been to the Candlelight Club before, we knew what to expect and met the fashionably well dressed 1920s vintage fans with delight, though slightly disappointed that the secret venue happened to be the same one we went to in Angel last time. Happy to find we were not the only ones in a Kimono or Yukata, though the only ones in a properly tied obi that even the flapper dressed Japanese ladies from Tokyo were very pleased to see, we were still surprised by the increased hen parties in attendance this time. The silent black and white film flickered from the projector across the clean walls, the bar was well equipped and the delicately illustrated menu was excitingly tantalising...we eagerly spotted beautifully glamorous people all around in their fur, chiffon, pearls, Art Deco and monochrome ensemble. Sipping on Japanese inspired cocktails and whirling around as the kimono dressed Benoit Viellefon played their jazz numbers, we had a fun night of laughter and dance as 1920s Moga!

[Find out more about the Candlelight Club here: www.thecandlelightclub.com]

Benoit Viellefon....at Candlelight Club.

At the Candlelight Club.....smile!

Glow of Candlelight.....


Finally a very very big THANK YOU goes out to all you lovely darlings who have supported my fundraising through the 'Shave or Style' campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support! I have been really touched by your supportive kindness in helping me reach my fundraising target and the positive thoughts you have sent my friend have been utterly sweet....thank you, thank you and thank you. You have no idea how precious your kind actions have been to us, it really is beyond words. In order to reach my fundraising goal I pledged several target-post actions that I will soon fulfill:

 *Reaching £60 = I will be wearing the Cheongsam (Qipao) on all 3 days of the style challenge!

**Reaching £90 = I will make my very first VIDEO Tutorial on a vintage hairstyle (voted by you)!

***Reaching my full target £108 = I will be walking the night half marathon "Shine Walk" in September 2014 wearing a Cheongsam (Qipao) dress and vintage hairstyle!

[If you are UK based and would like to offer a bit of support on my fundraising, please text (sms)  'LKYW87 £1'  to 70070. Alternatively press the 'Sponsor Me' button to donate]
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
And stay tuned to find out what shall be revealed for my 3 days style challenge from 23rd to 25th July 2014....also if you have any ideas on what hairstyles you would like to see me wear, or do for my very first video tutorial then let me know! I shall be off to Spain for a little break over the weekend, but I wish all you kind loving darlings a fabulous and sunny weekend!

Until the next time,
May xx

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THANK YOU so much! ♥


  1. You look absolutely stunning, all of you!! So grand :)) What a great time too :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend doll xx

  2. Wow wow, you all look amazing !! what a nice event:)

  3. You guys all look so stunning, but I'm curious about something. I'm kind of concerned about the idea of cultural appropriation - the idea that I, as a white person, might be offensive or insensitive by wearing something that has historical or cultural significance for another group. I've heard different opinions, ranging from "I don't care what anyone else is wearing" to "so long as they know the history and treat it with respect" to "they shouldn't wear it under any circumstances." Where do you stand on the issue? I notice that there is a white woman in the photos, so I'm assuming that you're ok with it in at least some circumstances, but I'm wondering if you could elaborate a little bit for me.
    Of course, if you're not comfortable commenting, please feel free to disregard! I, nonetheless, love your style and your blog.
    Jessica, cankesandcakesvintage.blogspot.com

    1. Hello Jessica,
      Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment. Cultural appropriation is certainly a tricky issue that can be argued both ways.
      Personally I celebrate traditional clothing and love the cultural significance as well as beauty it has. Though I am not Japanese, I have bough both Yukata and Obi from Japan to wear myself. I learned the correct way of dressing in the Yukata from my Japanese friend Naoko and tutored myself on how to tie the Obi properly in the traditional way. When I wear the Yukata I am also mindful of the etiquette that must be kept when dressed in this traditional piece because I am aware it could project an misconstrued image or a culturally impolite action.....thus making an effort to follow in the most authentic fashion. I wear it as an appreciation of the garment as well as culture, but I am not Japanese, and all my Japanese friends as well as the Japanese ladies we met on the evening were not only impressed but thoroughly encouraging in my wearing of the Yukata.
      In the same way I try to advocate the beauty of the Qipao or Cheongsam with an appreciation of its tradition as well as cultural function, so that it becomes a wearable item of clothing and moves away from the costume party or waitress uniform stereotypes. Even today there is still an argument of whether the Qipao is Chinese because of its origins, and even with a Chinese heritage I am not free from criticism by others.
      Often those who really come to love something will want to learn about it, respect it and love it as it should be loved....the same goes for a love of the Cheongsam (Qipao). Have a fabulous weekend my dear!
      May xx

  4. You all look amazing! I have loved the look of traditional Asian garments since I was a little girl (and even asked my grandmother to make me a couple versions for special events), but I don't have any idea of where to find them, or where I would possibly wear them. Being very white and in midwest America, there aren't many opportunities or resources to find info, so I'm loving your blog! Perhaps sometime I'll get a chance to enjoy such traditional clothing, too!

    1. Aww...thank you my dear! Hopefully we will get to see you in traditional clothing too! Have a lovely weekend,
      May x

  5. Thank you sweety...and that is a very good idea!
    May x


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♥ May xx
E: walkingdivinelyinmay[at]gmail[dot]com