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Headwear Artist Tomihiro Kono's Deja Vu

Inspired by nature and his own intuitions, the Japanese designer delves into memories for his new collection.

With a new collection reflecting the elements that make up his personality, head-piece designer Tomihiro Kono suggests it is a result from the influences in his life from childhood. Kono constructed the pieces from memories, without thinking too much about particular shapes or materials. Inspired by materials from everywhere and anywhere, such as bird feathers in the park, vintage lace, or spikes, leather, and metal pieces - the collection was an amalgamation of his patterns of thought and a sense of 'deja vu'.

Dazed Digital: Where did the inspirations of 'deja vu' come from?
Tomihiro Kono: By viewing this collection, we are stepping in to the field of my unconsciousness where you find various different characters wearing unique head pieces. It says that these are characters I've never seen before - but it is something based on my background, where I grew up and what I was inspired by. So it's not something I've seen for the first time either. It's just like a deja-vu. This is the strangest world ever made up from my memory and imagination. What I do as a head prop artist is the embodiment of my personality and the nature of things. So basically the theme came up last. When I stepped back and saw what I had done, I found out that it is my identity to create things like this.

DD: Who are the characters in the film?
Tomihiro Kono: These are the characters I got inspired by nature, like creatures and organic things... like birds, spiders, mermaids, the moon, clouds and an octopus, gods (Kannon in Japanese)... Like when Man Ray took a group shot of people in avant garde costumes... it's the extreme, avant garde but something tribal. They are reflecting all my background. And they are actually my friends, and friends of friends or even some people we met by chance... very special people who have their distinctive characters. I carefully selected who should be in what costume as an encounter!

DD: Was it intentional to make it somewhat sinister and eerie?
Tomihiro Kono: So my work tends to go that way somehow... I'd say what we create as Neon O'clock Works (with my partner Sayaka Maruyama) always has a darker edge in the way of observing things... and where we find beauty... there's always some darkness mixed. I like something theatrical, tribal, Victorian and contemporary... and avant garde... and beauty and darkness mixed together. So it's rather automatically, naturally rather than intentionally.

DD: What kind of reaction do you expect from an audience?
Tomihiro Kono: Any reactions we would like to expect! I'd love people to enjoy and see something different and unique in our way. It's something totally quirky and distinctive... we created and produced everything from nothing. Head pieces, costumes, films and portraits, music... everything is made up by our hands. And I really want people to see how creative we can be.

DD: Who made the music for it? What kind of music is it?
Tomihiro Kono: A friend and a music composer Christos Fanaras (aka Jack Shirt) for the short film. Cross-genre, experimental music and a mix of Western and Japanese elements. Mainly inspired by Japanese 60-70s film music. He mixes various sound and noise from everywhere... like paper rustling to radiators, etc.. some characters are actually singing in the film.

The photo exhibition runs from 20 - 21 September 2010, at 78 Luke Street London EC2A (free entry) with a performance show on the 17th at Studio Private, 1 Kingsland Road London (by invitation only). For more info click here.