Art | アート Fashion News | 最新情報 Inspirations | インスピレーションの源

The Man Who Turned Down Bjork. Hair Genius Kamo Katsuya’s Masks and Revolutionary Hats on Parade at “100 Headpieces”

ビョークを断れるってどんな人?過激的なヘッドピースとマスクを約200点展示中:天才の加茂克也 “100 Headpieces”に迫る


Junya Watanabe 2006

“Bjork will call me up and ask me to sell some of the hat pieces I’ve made and I just can’t do it.”

What the hell kind of guy is it in this world who turns down Bjork? Kamo Katsuya, that’s who. And that’s not because he has some vendetta against the eclectic superstar singer, but rather because he has found his niche in being the go-to man for designers who want incredible hats and masks for their shows. When it comes to Japanese brands with creative headpieces one the runway, 99.9% chance Kamo is in charge. He’s also created couture designs for the likes of Chanel. He has reached legendary status within the industry for being a creative genius, but surprisingly this is the first time an exhibit dedicated to showing off a number of his works has been held.



 Chanel pre-fall 2009

“100 Headpeieces” is on at Laforet Harajuku on the top floor until Nov 18th. In fact, there are more than 100 pieces…closer to 200 in fact, and there are enough to fill a large space like stalks of bamboo in a Japanese forest. “The number 100 sounds cooler,” Kamo san laughed.

“Yeah, as opposed to ‘183 Headpieces'” I chuckled.

I was at the pre-opening for the exhibit and as I was early due to having another appointment, and the workers were still sweeping the floor and dusting the pieces on display. Despite being under great pressure, Kamo was in great spirits. It was our first meeting, and it turns out he’s a pretty funny guy…I could even call him a “dude” who seems like someone fun to drink with.

“100 Headpeiaces”はラフォーレの最上階で11月18日まで催される。実際、100ピースなんてものじゃない。200ピースくらいの彼のアーカイブが展示されていて、広いスペースを埋めるには十分すぎる程のボリュームだ。”なんか100って数字の方がかっこいいじゃん”と彼は笑った。


kamo-katsuya-hair-tokyo-3Junya Watanabe 2010 ss


Junya Watanabe 2006 aw


Junya Watanabe 2006 aw

If you’re from my generation, you’ll probably know Kamo’s greatest work as being from the dark and powerful shows by Undercover and Junya Watanabe in Paris. If you keep your eye on local Tokyo Fashion Week brands, then you’ll see his work every season on the likes of Anrealage, Matohu and Mintdesigns for example. 

Some of the pieces are so grand in scale, you wonder how Kamo could possibly attach it to the model’s head without her promptly falling over backwards. They are symphonies of art and random material, like Kamo picked some stuff off the floor and “made it work”. 

Junya Watanabe 2013 ss
Undercover 2000 aw

I was surprised to see just how many of the pieces were made of extremely flimsy materials like paper, string and duct tape. LOTS of paper and duct tape. These aren’t meant to last beyond the fashion show. Even the masks that appeared in Anrealage’s show a few weeks ago are surprisingly made of paper. Which is such a damn shame as they are too incredible to be allowed to fall apart so soon. Even the pieces made for Chanel are paper! Most of the pieces on display were remade for the show as i`m sure they didn’t all survive storage. I imagine that a lot of the brands don’t have the budgets to manufacture pieces just for their shows, so Kamo-san swoops in like superman and does the best he can with whatever is available. He does a REALLY good job of making everything look impeccable. 

私は、たくさんのヘッドピースが紙やひも、クラフトテープのような素材で作られていることにすごく驚いた。決してショーのあとも長持ちするようなものではない。数週間前にアンリアレイジのショーに登場したマスクも本当に紙!見るからに繊細そうで、すぐ表面がはがれ落ちてしまいそう。それからシャネルのヘッドピースも紙!と確信した。ショーのあとは毎回ほぼ全滅してしまうから、修正やリメイクされているんだろうなと。それから、ブランド側はショーのヘア制作費にかける予算そんなになかったりすると思う。その時でも加茂さんはスーパーマンの様に舞い降り、あの手この手をつくして”GOOD JOB”を炸裂させて完璧なクリエイションをつくってしまうのだろう


Junya Watanabe 2010 ss



Junya Watanabe 2013 ss





Undercover 2013 aw

There was one corner of the room that was still in great dishevelment, like a woodworking project never got cleaned up.

“That’s a reenactment of my studio,” he explained. 

Whoah. I joked that it kind of reminded me of my own studio. But this was something else altogether…. looking at it, it’s easy to see how his creation process works.

I actually tried to borrow a Junya Watanabe headpiece by Kamo-san for a shoot I was doing with the brand once but I was told I can’t use the headpiece unless Kamo-san himself is hired to be on set (My first thought: I can’t afford him! ha). I was half annoyed of course, but also quite humbled at the genius business aspect of it. Vogue wants to use his mask? Sorry Vogue, you gotta hire him to put it on properly!

“I won’t lend to magazines or stylists my head pieces unless I`m hired to be on-set. I lent that bunny one to Vogue and they tore the ears straight off! Ok…I might have wanted to do that to make the shot interesting too… but, still…!” he explained.

Undercover 2008 aw
Anrealage 2014 ss
Chanel 2009 ss

The exhibit is really great, and includes some of his early work, like from Junya Watanabe 1995. He even displayed a large selection of his artwork, which are typically dioramas and collages he frames and hangs on the wall.









“100 Headpieces” is at Laforet Harajuku on the 6th floor until Nov 18th. Admission is 500yen



Hair (and make-up) artist

1988 represented by Mod’s hair

1990 – 1992 France

after coming back to Japan, mainly worked for fashion magazines, advertisements and shows.

Since 1996 has been working with JUNYA WATANABE COMME des GARCONS, and Since 1997 with UNDERCOVER PARIS

2003 毎日ファッション大賞 グランプリ Received the Mainichi Shimbun Newspaper Grand Prix Award


2008 started to work with FENDI Milan collection, CHANEL haute couture show, as well as campaign visuals for FENDI, CHANEL, and KENZO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.