For the past 20 years, Japanese wigmaker Tomihiro Kono has been exploring the everchanging relationship between hair, identity and transformation. Starting his career as a trained hairdresser in Tokyo in 1997, Kono relocated to London where he worked as a hairstylist for different publications, including i-D and Dazed and Confused, and became a well-established name within the fashion industry by collaborating with fashion designers such as Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons.
Now, the artist has released a new book: Personas 111 - The Art Of Wigmaking 2017-2020. The concept is simple: one model, one photographer and 111 wigs. The result? An astonishing kaleidoscope of beautifully different hairstyles, all incredibly executed, of course. Each page features a slight transformation, much like an identity that morphs into new and hidden versions of itself.
The book explores the obscure meanings of wigs, a feature that often allows us to explore our inner self and play with the idea of change. Used as a form of a mask, Kono's distinctive creations are designed to both make a definitive impression and conceal our most authentic self at the same time.
"These wigs, inspired by a combination of disciplines going from art and architecture to music, fashion and even mathematics, are indeed about finding a physical and metaphysical space," freelance writer and editor Anna Battista writes in the book. "They represent an internal fight with our selves and an opportunity to search for a new essence, grow and change, going through a process of catharsis similar to the one the audience went through while watching a performance in ancient Greece."
Personas 111 - The Art Of Wigmaking 2017-2020 is, essentially, a symbol of possibility. In a world where digital and social media are quickly stealing our identity, Tomihiro Kono invites us to travel through the deepest ends of our persona and unfold hidden layers. He asks us to improve, change and explore to find our most authentic and most hidden self: by wearing his wigs, we can indeed be free.