[From September Issue 2010]
Kyoto resident TAKAYA is a “hanayuishi,” one who decorates people’s hair uniquely with fresh flowers. Takaya invented the word himself to describe the concept of somebody who handles flowers like a stylist treats people’s hair. People who see his work are surprised at how many flowers he uses in his designs. His work has been reported on TV and in other media, bringing him much notoriety.
TAKAYA was initially a licensed cook of French cuisine. When he was 24 years old he opened a cafe and started decorating the interior with flowers. That’s when he had the idea of creating floral hair styles. “I had a hobby taking photographs, and I imagined taking pictures of women whose hair was adorned with flowers, something I had communed with since my childhood,” he recalls.
When TAKAYA was a cook, he was fond of food arrangement, a skill he acquired through training. However, his flower arranging was completely self-taught. “I don’t sketch designs. Each flower has its own face. Their conditions change by the moment. And, from the start, I considered speed as an important factor. During a bride’s wardrobe change at her wedding reception, I make it a rule to complete her hair design within five minutes so that it will not slow down the event.”
For one hair style TAKAYA charges 50,000 yen. Many orders come from women who want to make their special occasion the most memorable day of their lives. TAKAYA charges 300,000 yen for two hair styles during a wedding ceremony. “Everyone has childhood memories of making flower rings with white clover. I would be glad if my decorating their hair brings back such memories,” he says.
Although it seems like doing this type of work came easily, it was not always so. Because it was such a new art form – neither simple hair design, nor mere flower arranging – his work has sometimes been considered exceptional and other times received critiques concerning his techniques.
“When I came up with the idea of “hanayui,” I had the image of a Paris Collection. Like producing a fashion show, I take into account the volume of the woman’s hair and face that I’m going to decorate with flowers in order to create a form that will wholly harmonize with her kimono or dress. Since I consider myself an artist, I get most satisfied with good results,” he says.
TAKAYA’s skills, which accentuate a bride’s beauty, are garnering a lot of attention through his participation in designer KATSURA Yumi’s “Bridal Fair.” In spite of that, his intention now is to teach his staff so that they can eventually take over from him. “I’m aiming at an operation of bridal services that will be carried out by my staff independently. I’m now planning to offer classes to pass on my skills to the general public.”
While his “hanayui” work is growing, TAKAYA is also conquering new challenges. “I’ve been actively engaged in performance art such as including “hanayui” in original, contemporary dance routines. I also have plans to collaborate with solo performers. I would further like to spread my work into magazines and advertisements too,” he adds.
Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko