THE HIDDEN LANGUAGE OF RIN'S KIMONOS
Sesshomaru knew what he was doing.
His table in the library, usually covered with scrolls and old manuscripts, was now littered with layers of decorative fabric. His piercing golden eyes studied them and his restless claws scraped against them. He was sifting through various fabrics, with the intention of hiring the best seamstress in the Western Lands, to make Rin a fine kimono. He had previously sent Jaken with the order of collecting only the finest fabrics from the top merchants in the Western Lands.
For Sesshomaru's practiced eyes and hands, choosing a fabric and hiring a seamstress was a meticulous task. It was a meticulous task because he was not merely purchasing another kimono for Rin, rather he was expressing what she meant to him in the colours of those kimonos.
Take for instance, that first kosode he bought Rin. Jaken had assumed it was only because the child looked pitiable, clothed in that old, torn, and dirty red kosode - Jaken was right but not entirely. While it is true that Sesshomaru did buy her a brand new kosode to replace her tattered one, it is also because the method of choosing Rin's clothing fascinated him. He quickly realized that he could express his feelings for Rin, through the Japanese meanings of colours in the fabric - and all this without ever having to say a word!
Now the first kosode he bought Rin was made of a patchwork of orange and yellow squares, scattered with joined green circles, and enclosed with a green sash.
Through the colour orange, Sesshomaru meant to express that Rin was energetic, and he wanted Rin to live out the child in her. This can be seen in the way she played games with Jaken or the way she would treasure flowers. The orange colour also meant that she was warm at heart, and this is true with the way she obtained food for Sesshomaru when he was hurt, and the way she was adamant about obtaining the antidote for Jaken when he was dying from Naraku's poisonous bugs. The orange colour also represented balance and indeed, she balanced Sesshomaru in making up for what he lacked in her energy and warmth, as well as her enthusiasm for life despite her dark childhood.
Through the the colour yellow, Sesshomaru conveyed the joy and happiness in Rin's upbeat personality. She was the very symbol of happiness and her joyful smile was so contagious that it moved Sesshomaru's heart. But the yellow colour also stood for optimism and indeed Rin was very much of an optimist; because despite her hard past, she chose to be happy in Sesshomaru and Jaken's company, in order to make up for all the tears she cried in her childhood.
Sesshomaru chose the joined green circles that appear in Rin's kosode, to do so in pairs - the first is the bigger circle and the second is the smaller circle and they overlap each other. The first bigger circle is Sesshomaru himself and the smaller circle is Rin and both circles overlap each other because they both need each other. Sesshomaru needs Rin's company just as Rin needs Sesshomaru's protection.
The green colour in the sash signifies nature, as a preparation for Rin's life with the two demons; who do not live in villages, but in nature. Nature is also where Sesshomaru and Rin first met each other. The colour green also stands for Rin's youth and vivaciousness.
Now the second kimono that Sesshomaru gifted Rin was very different. Sesshomaru took into consideration that Rin now lived in the village. So to set her apart from the other girls in the village, he had a more striking kimono made for her. This kimono had a bold pattern of light and dark purple zig zags, alternating each other. There were also yellow butterflies scattered around and a pink obi sash at the back.
The shades of purple in Rin's kimono, represented royalty and nobility. Sesshomaru was indeed an aristocrat and as her benefactor, he was determined to prepare Rin to see the richness he could afford her. Not to mention, such a rich kimono would indirectly tell Rin that she was not meant to be in the village forever, and it would also let the villagers know that she was not an ordinary peasant girl.
The colour yellow in the butterflies symbolized Rin's joy and optimism. As she grows into a young woman, she will become elegant and womanly, but those yellow butterflies of happiness and optimism will always linger in her.
The colour pink in the sash symbolized Rin's innocence but it is also a hint and a preparation for Rin's coming of age as a woman.
Now the third kimono that Sesshomaru gifted her, was also radically different. It had a light pink background, with dark pink lines scattered all around it. It also had yellow dots and lanterns over it.
The largely pink shades in the kimono signified Rin's purity, as she is evolving into a young woman. The shades of pink also signified one who is in the possession of a virgin heart and body, as well as one who is capable of giving pure love.
The yellow colour in the lanterns and dots, as always, signified happiness and optimism.
Although Rin's kosode and two kimonos were all dramatically different from each other, all three had the similarity of the colour yellow in the form of patches, butterflies, dots and lanterns. By doing this, Sesshomaru wanted Rin to understand that even as she becomes older and goes through many changes, she will undoubtedly always have that burst of yellow in her, signifying her true nature of happiness and optimism.
Sesshomaru also, being very sneaky, borrowed inspiration from his own sash in picking Rin's kimonos. His sash contained a larger proportion of yellow and a smaller proportion of purple. In all his kimonos to Rin, the colour yellow was always in them in one small form or another. Likewise, in Rin's first kimono, purple was the predominant colour. Rin's kosode and two kimonos mirrored the yellow in Sesshomaru's sash while the purple in her first kimono mirrored the purple also in his sash.
Sesshomaru also took inspiration from his mother's kimono. The yellow butterflies in Rin's first kimono mirrors the yellow butterflies in Sesshomaru's mother, Inukimi's, own kimono. Although if one were to ask Sesshomaru where the inspiration for the yellow butterflies came from, he would loathe to reveal the answer.
So as Sesshomaru is sifting through the fabrics one after the other, he decides to take a cue from the hints of red in the yellow laterns in Rin's second kimono. He will pick a fabric with a largely red colour scheme to signify the strong emotion of passion...
Resources consulted in the making of this story:
Rin's wikipedia page
Inukimi's wikipedia page
The colours and their meanings in Japanese culture via three-musketeers / mike / colors . html (without the spaces)