CR Exclusive: Hairstylist Tomihiro Kono Explores the Transformative Power of Wigs

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Wig maker and hairstylist Tomihiro Kono has been exploring the relationship between identity, transformation, and hair for 20 years. The Japanese talent began his career as a classically trained hairstylist in Harajuku, Japan, and has brought an innovative eye to the art form. Kono’s offbeat aesthetic has attracted collaborators in the fashion world such as Junya Watanabe and Come des Garçons. In the past few years, Kono has honed in on the craft of wigs, shearing and sculpting the portfolio of pieces now featured in his newly released second book, Personas 111 – The Art of Wig Making.

The photobook features page after page of his hand-knotted, rainbow creations. Each cut and color carries its own personality, and it is this impression that Kono surveys in Personas 111. According to the artist, the transformative power of wigs can be the link between who you are and who you want to be. Wearing a wig can be “an extra thing to fill a gap between your true self and ideal self,” Kono tells CR.

As a means of expression, the wigs offer an outlet for individuals to explore how multifaceted their own identity is. The possibilities are endless, unbound by gender or age. I think it’s an everlasting concern for us to explore our identity,” Kono says. “I think wigs can help as uplifting, positive tools as a part of fashion. It’s stimulating and energizing to break our routines sometimes.”

Kono’s wigs also lend themselves to the singular aspects of the individual, too. On the technical level, he sizes each custom piece to the client’s head. Aesthetically, it is ultimately up to the wearer to determine how the wig looks on themselves. For example, Kono sites a fluffy blonde wig with multicolor beaded braids that he made for Lim Hyun-jae, a member of Korean band Hyukoh. “He’s a boy in his 20s and wears my wig like a hat, showing his nape hair underneath, for their world tour,” the stylist shares. “I’d rather learn from my creative wig wearers. If they wear my wig in a unique way that I wasn’t expecting, that’s a surprise for me.”

The 111 wigs featured in Kono’s book, all featured on the same model, show the simultaneously obvious and nuanced nature of the hairpieces. Each page pictures an immediate transformation, but also a new perception of the person wearing the wigs. From blunt, silver bowl cuts to candy-colored, Rococo tresses (a period that Kono finds especially inspiring), Personas 111 presents a catalogue of characters expressed through hair.

Personas 111 – The Art of Wig Making is now available online.

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createdAt:Thu, 19 Mar 2020 20:02:04 +0000
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