Underlying the work of Tomihiro Kono is a modern reinterpretation of two parallel phenomena with their origins in the classics: masks and the power of transformations. When putting on one of his handcrafted wigs, the wearer takes on a different “persona” and becomes an entirely new character.
This remarkable collection of wigs, inspired by a combination of disciplines ranging from art and architecture to music, fashion, and more, seems to be about finding physical and metaphysical space. Often wildly coloured and styled, the wigs represent a struggle within ourselves, but also an opportunity to search for a new essence, to grow and change, while undergoing a cathartic process.
Beginning his two-decade-long career by learning the art of Geisha hairstyling from a Japanese master, Kono has become a well-established name in the fashion industry, collaborating with designers such as Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons. PERSONAS 111 is the result of Kono feeling like it was time to move onto the next chapter of his career after the 2017 release of Head Prop. Evolving into wig making, the stylist spent four years intensively creating the works of art that now make up this new photobook. “Wig making requires all the skills I have acquired in my 20-year career as a hairstylist – from knotting hair onto a lace foundation in various directions and replicating in this way the natural growth of a person’s hair, to haircutting, styling, coloring, designing and sculpting,” Kono tells us. “It is a satisfying and almost mathematical process, very similar to that of a craftsman or an artist.”
174 pages, 15 x 21 cm, paperback with a plastic sleeve, English