March 22, 2014

Celebrate Asia 2014, part 2

Celebrate Asia is an annual concert by the Seattle Symphony to celebrates Seattle's diverse Asian community. Often times they will include some songs that incorporate traditional instruments, or guest performers from Asia or with Asian backgrounds. Not only is the concert a wonderful treat, but the pre-concert performances, or even mingling within the crowd of gloriously dressed concert-goers is a treat for the eyes!

Before the concert, the guests mingle in the Grand Lobby, meet new people and take many photos. I tend to be somewhat shy and reserved, but I was excited to meet new people, and to see many people I've met over the last couple of years.

I believe this beautiful group of people are the Celebrate Asia committee members.

My friend Akiko and her beautiful daughters!

After some mingling, there were some pre-show performances. There were two dance performaces, Thai and Philippian dance. I didn't see the second performace, as I was getting ready for the fashion show, but I did get to enjoy the Thai dance performance.

Her headdress and costume is amazing, but I was impressed by the skill and balance, and especially the point of her toes.

For the Heritage Dress Parade, we did some rehearsal beforehand. Most of these photos will be from the rehearsal with some photos from the actual show mixed in. My brother took these photos for me, it was easier to get photos during the rehearsal when the lobby was much less crowded.
We lined up off-stage and went on in groups representing each nation, and displayed our costumes while the MC described our dress. 

First up was Indonesia:

Three dress styles of China:

Adult and child Thai dress:

For Japan, we had two adults and two children. Linda and her two daughters went first:

The spent the entire day getting dressed up for the event, the girls patiently getting their hair done in Nihongami style at a Japanese hair salon, and professionally dressed at a newly opened kimono studio, Kimono Art. The MC explained Shichi-go-san, as well as the patterns of their kimono.

My description was of the longer sleeved furisode for unmarried women, and the name of my obi musubi.

Next was Vietnam, don't they look stunning!:



There was also dress of the Philippines, but we were not able to get an unobstructed picture. You can see an example of Miss Washington Teen USA in this group photo as we rehearsed lining up on stage:

After the pre-concert shows, the doors to the concert hall are traditionally opened after a Chinese lion and dragon dance. The dancing lions lead the concert-goers into the concert hall. This year was rather fun, because I got to be upfront in the crowd and the lion dancers get right up in your face and pretend to play with the guests, and wag their "tails". It was pretty adorable just how much the dancers can emote through the costumes. Unfortunately they move really fast, so my camera couldn't keep up!

This one later laid on the ground and wiggled its tiny tail like a happy corgi. He also tried to eat my head, maybe he was licking me!


Thankfully Dai Tau Fut came and lured the beast away with his fan.

Here comes the dragon.

Here are some candids and group photos from the night!

Linda and her daughter look fabulous!!

We tried to get a group photo of everyone in kimono, but kept spotting more and more ladies to beckon onto stage.

The group eventually grew larger than this, but we ran out of time!

Celebrate Asia 2014, part 1

Long time no blog, everybody! Last night was the third annual Seattle Kimono Jack at Celebrate Asia concert at Benaroya Hall! This event often includes several performances in the concert hall's Grand Lobby prior to the concert, and this year I was asked to participate. For the first time this year they held a Heritage Dress Parade, sort of like a fashion show. At this annual concert, the guests are dazzled by colorful traditional costumes worn by many concert-goers, and this year those beautiful clothing were displayed on stage!

Last year I wore furisode together with my friend Shannon - apparently I never blogged any pictures from last year's Kimono Jack, so let me share those now!

Kimono Jack 2013 @ Celebrate Asia

I wore my furisode that I bought at Kyoto Art & Antiques sale, and borrowed a gold fukuro obi from another friend. Shannon wore her awesome shibori yukata with my green fukuro obi.

We tied each other's obi!

It is very difficult to get a group shot, but the photographer did an excellent job!

It was so much fun! Okay, back to this year - When I was asked to participate in this year's Celebrate Asia festivities, I was asked if I'd be wearing furisode. I decided I wouldn't mind wearing the same furisode again this year. However, I didn't have an obi to match with it, since I borrowed an obi last year. Luckily I had just picked up a whole bunch of gold brocade fabric from the second-hand store, I could make my own obi!

Fine wave patterns with pink undertones, I knew it would pair well with many kimono. And there is a ton of it, for only a few bucks! I knew I'd be able to make at least a fukuro obi and a tsukuri obi out of the fabric, and since I would be dressing myself completely this year, I started making the tsukuri obi.

Here is the completed tsukuri obi! I wanted to make a musubi that was very high up, since I would never be able to achieve such a musubi if I tied it on myself. The tall musubi also makes it easier to drive, believe it or not! This musubi is called kachou, 花蝶, "flowers and butterflies". I used a stiff interfacing to help keep the shape, and lined it in cream bridal satin.

For last Valentine's Day, my husband surprised me with an embroidery machine, so I thought it would be nice to try making an embroidered han'eri!
I wanted to use the colors in the furisode. I haven't had time to shop for embroidery patterns to download, so I just used a stock design on my machine of roses and repeated the design to make it longer. The result is very girly~

(This is before I stitched it on my nibushiki juban)

The han'eri turned out very nice!

Here is the completed ensemble:

I wish I had a better camera for the actual event - I can't get such great quality pictures with my point-n-click or cell phone, but I'll share what pictures didn't blur too much in my next post!