Picture yourself in a room. The floor is concrete, the walls are made of glass, and it’s completely empty, apart from, that is, a series of brightly coloured wigs, all shapes and sizes, suspended in mid-air, almost as if they were floating.
If you found yourself in Tokyo this week, this surreal scene could have been a reality for you. After a successful stint in Paris, taking over art collective The Community’s gallery in the 10th arrondissement, renowned wigmaker Tomihiro Kono brought his wig installation to Tokyo for a second run entitled “Vol. 2 Personas.”
Wanting to experiment with ways of involving the viewer in his work, Kono created an interactive installation where people are able to try on different hand-crafted hairpieces, instantly transforming themselves into an array of eccentric characters. From a long, red wig which could only be described as Grace Coddington cosplay to extravagant and towering Marie-Antoinette bouffants, spiked green mohawks and pastel-hued bobs, the variety was bountiful. Elsewhere, Kono had paid tribute to the looks of various different stars from his childhood in the 80s.
There to sample some of Kono’s finest yesterday was Dazed Beauty creative director Isamaya Ffrench, who shapeshifted into various punk, Rococo and raver iterations.
“Tomi has managed to mix brilliant craftsmanship and artistry with humour and wit,” said Ffrench of the exhibition. “One of the best interactive shows I’ve been to in ages – letting people experience high-end beauty wigs in an accessible and hilarious way.”
Beginning his two-decade-long career by learning the art of Geisha hairstyling from a Japanese master, Kono has gone on to become a respected name in the fashion industry, creating bespoke headpieces and wigs and collaborating with designers such as Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons. In 2017 Kono released an archival photo book of his work featuring some of the most beautiful, bizarre and meticulously constructed hairstyles you’re ever likely to see.