Types of Kimono - Komon

After talking about Edo komon, a specific kind of komon almost as formal as iromuji, our next subject is komon.

As mentioned in the previous "Abou Kimono" post, komon is a kimono with repeating patterns all over the fabric. Althou the literal meaning of komon is "small prints", these patterns aren't necessarily small, just repeated - different from a houmongi, for example, were are patterns all over the garment, but they don't have a repetitive look.

A pink komon. The floral pattern is repeated all over the garment.

For left to right: tsukesage, were motifs are repeated, but only in few spots over the kimono; komon, with repetitive patterns all over the garment; and houmongi, with lot of patterns arranged in non repetitive fashion (in this case, a flowing "stream" over the kimono, a common arrange also for furisode motifs).

Komon patterns can vary a lot: full or sparse, geometric or not, arranged in stripes or "splashed" all over the fabric, big or small, bright or discrete... As usual in kimono aesthetics, the bigger the patterns the younger is the look (and so should be the wearer).

 Two komon with an autumn feel.

Sparse-patterned, delicate komon, and bright crowded komon!

A komon with geometric motifs, and one with flowers organized in vertical "stripes". 
This style of pattern arrange is very common in komon (lol, pun not intended... x_x). 

Komon is considered an informal kind of kimono, suited for casual parties, walking in town, go shopping or hang out at home. So, they normally don't have kamon (crests), which add formality. Some komon, thou, can be considered semi-formal* depending on the pattern and fabric. Silk and synthetic fabrics are considered less casual than wool, for example. Gold or silver accents on the motifs also make a komon less casual, as well as the accessories choice.

Being very versatile depending on it's motif and fabric, komon can be paired with almost any kind of obi, from fukuro obi (specially if the obi pattern is casual) to nagoya obi, hanhaba obi, chuya obi or even the super informal heko obi**. It really depend on the combination look and the situation. About musubi, I've seen komon paired with many types, too, which is not surprising for a kind of kimono with such variate formality status... See below (all worn with komon):

The classical taiko musubi...

Tsunodashi/ginza musubi, a less formal variation from taiko, from Soubien...

Bunko musubi, a horizontal high bow... There's a chance this may not be regular komon, but "stage" kimono (for a dance?)... I'm not sure. Anyway, bunko can go with komon. I just couldn't find a pretty clear photo of it. ^^;

Cho (or cho cho) musubi (butterfly knot)***. Also from Soubien...

This... I have no idea! Please allow me to call it foofy mess musubi. X3 From Shimaya

Another musubi from Shimaya that is not familiar to me... Oh, I'm such a musubi noob! -_-...

During my research I found in Immortal Geisha (my main info source for this post) that, like houmongi-tsukesage, there's komon hybrids. They were common during Taisho Era (1912-1926), featuring a komon-type repeated pattern all over the kimono and a detailed/richer motif on top of that, in manner of a tsukesage, houmongi or other type of kimono. Therefore, they aren't considered komon, but the more formal type, according to the rich patterns (and crests, if any).

An antique crested komon-irotomesode hybrid, from Immortal Geisha. This is considered 
an irotomesode because of the main motif only below the obi line - in spite of the tiny 
repeated leaves in komon style. To see more of these curious hybrids, visit the link! ^^

Very interesting! I wonder if there are hybrids like that nowadays too...

Well, so this is the basic about komon. These posts are getting bigger and bigger... I guess it's a good thing? ^^; Next part will cover the last basic type and most informal kind of kimono - yukata!

See you soon! ^^

*According to Kidoraku Japan, althou it's technically incorrect, nowadays young women sometimes wear komon with noble designs, that remind tsukesage, to attend to friend's wedding parties.

**I guess I'll have to make a tutorial about obi types, ne?

 ***I just found out this kind of musubi... I used to think this was a bunko! But it seems that bunko knot is tied horizontally, while the bow tied in vertical (like in this photo) is cho musubi. Also, bunko "wings" seem to fall down, while cho musubi has spread "wings" like in a western bowtie.

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