The Geisha Halloween Costume Project Here’s the FINISHED COSTUME! Read on to find out how I put it all together. After reading “Memoirs of a Geisha” I thought it would be really fun to dress as a Geisha for Halloween. I would love to have an authentic vintage Kimono with all the extras, a real Katsura (wig), with authentic make-up, and shoes. But, I’m also on a budget, so improvises will be made to make this affordable. I’m going to make the most authentic-looking Geisha costume I can with as little money as possible. Anyone looking for more information about Geisha, check out the Immortal Geisha web site. I got a LOT of tips from this web site; it’s very informative. Things needed: Kimono Obi (belt) Katsura (wig) Make-up Kanzashi (Hair accessories) Geta (sandals) Tabi (socks) So far, the hardest thing to find is the Katsura. There are a lot of horrible-looking fake wigs out there, but they are just a big black bun and look more fitting for a librarian costume than a Geisha costume. I’ve been able to find some Kimono’s online, and the Geta & Tabi are abundant. The make-up shouldn’t be too difficult to find, and hair accessories should also be pretty easy, but both may get expensive August 17th ~ I know it’s a little early to be planning my Halloween costume, but this one’s going to be intricate, so I’m getting a jump-start! Here are the items I have found so far that I really like. Kimono – I found this one for an UNBELIEVABLE price on e-bay! The e-bay store is TIAN-YUAN-TANG. This Kimono is made from Chinese silk, & coming directly from Shanghai. It’s not authentic Japanese, but I think these people know what they are doing when it comes to making clothes. They have a great rating on e-bay and they have some really cool other items for sale. I love the dresses, shirts, and bags they had, and at these prices I decided to purchase some of them too, and combine shipping on all the items to save some money. Geta – Traditional Japanese Sandals. These are going to be uncomfortable, but perfect traditional sandals for my costume! These I found at AsianIdeas.com and the price is good. Tabi – These aren’t any ordinary socks! They have a separation between the big toe and the rest of the toes to allow you to wear the Geta sandals with socks. Again, I found these, ON SALE at AsianIdeas.com! Umbrella – Here’s a great accessory Geisha’s often carry with them. It keeps them out of the sun and rain which could ruin their intricate hair & makeup. I also found this for a GREAT price at AsianIdeas.com. Wig – I’ve given up on finding a proper Geisha wig. The only one’s that look authentic are authentic and have authentic prices to go with them! I can’t justify over $50 on a wig (most are in the $300 range), so I’m going to have to compromise. I found this wig at buycostumes.com Once I add the hair accessories, they really should hide any imperfections in the wig. Good price, worth a shot. It’s one of the better one’s I’ve found in this price range. $19… not bad. MAKE UP Geisha make up could get to be quite expensive, or I could tone it down and get by at a reasonable price. Traditionally, Geisha’s use two types of wax, then a white foundation, white powder, blush, red eye shadow, black eye liner & brow pencil, and of course, red lipstick. It would be neat to purchase real products from Kyoto, but it might be out of my budget. I found an e-bay seller in Kyoto Japan who sells all the products I’d need, Hannari-Ya. SHIRO-NURI Pro Kabuki Abura – oil wax undercoat Shiro-Nuri (Doran) Pro Kabuki Oshiroi – white face paint SHIRO-NURI Pro Kona Oshiroi Kona Oshiroi – Face Powder SHIRO-NURI Pro Tonoko Rouge – blush I’m not worried about the red lipstick, pink blush or black pencil; I can get those anywhere. The Immortal Geisha web site suggested the SHIRO-NURI products or going with Manic Panic for the base if you don’t want to spend a lot. If I was planning to dress as a Geisha more than once, I’d get the SHIRO-NURI products, hands down. But, I’m going to save a bunch of money going with Manic Panic, and as far as I know I’m only wearing this stuff once! Virgin™ Goth White™ Cream/Powder Make Up – $8 Virgin (White) Pressed Powder – $15 Rock it Red™ Shadow – $9.50 Wig cap – $2.50 Kanzashi This Japanese site, Maya, has absolutely gorgeous kanzashi! But, the prices are in Yen & I bet they are expensive! I’m going to see what else I can find, but I doubt I’ll find anything as beautiful as these. UPDATE 9-25-06 With a little over a month until halloween, I have received the Kimono and it’s really cute! There are a few stitches that could use some help, but it was so much cheaper than anything else I could have bought, so it was worth it. I just ordered the make-up from Manic Panic and the wig from buycostumes.com; both should be here within the week. I also ordered the Geta, Tabi, an umbrella and some fans from asianideas.com. What do I have left? The Kanzashi has proben to be a difficult find for any decent price. There are even some on ebay, but the prices are not good. I also need to get the rest of the makeup (blush, red lipstick, black eye liner) at any store. I still need an Obi (the belt that’s worn with the kimono). UPDATE 10-17-06 Time is running out for Halloween! I have received everything I’ve ordered and have started in on some craft projects to get the final details done. I’m ready to post some pictures of things that are ready Here you can see the umbrella I chose after some searching at asainideas.com, along with the 2 fans, Geta sandals, & white Tabi socks. I actually wore the Tabi & Geta around the house for a while when I got them and they aren’t so bad! However, things may be different after wearing them for 6 hours while drinking at a Halloween party! There’s the Geisha Wig from buycostumes.com The pink Kimono from TIAN-YUAN-TANG which also came with an Obi and mock-bow in the back. This e-bay store is no longer available – so just search for a Kimono. There is some red fabric with a white floral pattern from a local fabric store which I will be making a long Obi and some other finishing touches. Here we have from Manic Panic: Virgin™ Goth White™ Cream/Powder Make Up Virgin (White) Pressed Powder Rock it Red™ Shadow The red shadow’s color is washed out in this picture. It’s more red in reality. Also, there is a Revlon ColorStay lipstick in Red Velvet & an Almay liquid Liner in black. I will aslo be wearing a pink blush and mascara (not pictured) Here’s a close up of the Kimono fabric. It actually has patterns within the pattern that is hard to see in pictures, but it’s coming through here a little. Umbrella Geisha The umbrella is really neat. It’s completely made of Bamboo and the covering is made of fabric, so it’s durable and way cooler than I thought it would be for the great price! Here’s one of the craft projects. It’s been taking a lot of time and frustration trying to make my own Kanzashi! I finally figured out to use a glue gun instead of regular fabric glue and am getting better at the process! I’ve only burned myself 5 times and cut myself 3 times. My Kanzashi don’t stand up to professionally made Japanese Kanzashi in the slightest, but they are a lot easier to afford! I haven’t tried everything on yet as I’m waiting to have everything ready before I do a “test run”. But, at the rate I’m going I may not have everything ready by Halloween. UPDATE 10-22-06 I’ve started working on my geisha wig today. Here are the pictures of it and what it’s “supposed” to look like. UPDATE 10-29-06 (The day after the Halloween Party) The Geisha costume turned out great! I got a lot of compliments on it and won the “Best Costume”. Too bad for me it was my halloween party, so the prize was purchased by me! But, the party was a lot of fun & I fulfilled my dream of dressing like a Geisha for Halloween The costume was, by no means, perfect, but it was as good as it will get unless I want to travel to Japan & spend thousands of dollars on it.
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