The transformative power of wigs is limitless, which is probably why they’re favoured by just about every working pop star in music right now.
To explore this transformation, photographer Marcus Schaefer and hairstylist Pablo Kuemin have collaborated on a photo series that pushes wigs to dizzying heights. “Over the last couple of months I’ve spent a lot of time at Marcus’s place, which is full of his amazing drawings,” Keumin tells Dazed Beauty. “I got inspired by the organic shapes and forms and was determined to work on a series of wigs with the drawings as a major influence.”
A mix of wigs that took 2-3 weeks to make and others spontaneously cut on the day, Kuemin says, “it’s the craft of creating wigs itself that intrigues me and the creative impulses it triggers while working on them.” The experimental looks photographed include choppy styles with micro, micro fringes that give the model a long alien-esque forehead, while others balloon out like giant mushrooms, or look like they’ve been frozen stiff (it’s actually a mix of resin, gelatin, and glue).
“Hair plays an essential role when it comes to self-expression, whereas there is only so much you can do with natural hair without destroying it when transforming it – which is very limiting,” Kuemin muses. “Wigs have the ultimate potential to transform a person without permanent, irreparable consequences to their hair since it’s essentially only a temporary hair substitution.”
“I wanted to create a specific atmosphere rather than shooting the exact likeness of Pablo’s wigs; my intention was to make the images almost look like a hybrid form of painting,” adds Schaefer on the images that switch back and forth from hazy black-and-white to saturated colour. “I‘ve intentionally added some minor distortions to get some unplanned, accidental visual momentum to round things up. All in all I aimed to capture compositions that feel vulnerable, otherworldly, somehow mesmerizing and create a vision of seductive allure.”
Photography Marcus Schaefer, hair Pablo Kuemin using hv-wigs & ANTI, make-up Erin Green, casting Nachum Shonn, models Akuol @ Milk Management, Adeline @ XDIRECTN, Soraya @ XDIRECTN, Xiaoyi @ First Model Management, hair assistants Alex Sarghe, Alastair Jubbs, Ellie Bond, studio Prema Studio London