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Shunsuke Meguro x Piczo
Hair Shunsuke Meguro, make-up Lynski, styling Jamie-Maree ShiptonPhotography Piczo

Shunsuke Meguro’s elaborate wigs turn anger into beauty

Looking for the beauty in feelings of sadness and anger, Meguro imagines intensely creative wigs that fuse hair styling and sculpture

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“Something that excites and confuses,” is what Shunsuke Meguro says, when asked what beauty means to him. That’s clear from the intensely creative wigs and hair pieces that the London-based hairstylist creates; elaborate, sculptural works that range from ships towering above the head to horse tail braids that skim the knee. Throughout it all, there is a playfulness and out-of-the-box thinking that brings the pieces to life – and has led brands like Gucci, Versace and Issey Miyake to call upon his services. But it’s in his personal projects that Meguro is able to truly communicate his own vision.

Growing up in a port town in Japan, his grandparents’ interest in calligraphy and tea ceremonies exposed him to classical Japanese culture from a young age. This influence continues in his work today, most recently in a shoot for Dazed that was inspired by the traditional Japanese arts of kabuki (a performance art consisting of music, dance and drama), Shikoku pilgrimage (a pilgrimage to 48 temples in the Shikoku region of Japan) and ukiyo-e (a genre of Japanese traditional painting).

Intended to convey “the importance of cherishing and deeply knowing your country’s culture”, the shoot features elaborate and painstakingly crafted hair looks, including regal-looking wig sculptures braided with human hair that mimic the shape of traditional Japanese takekasa hats, which both pays tribute to and heightens the original styles.

While beauty and elegance are often the result of his finished artworks, it’s the darker side of the emotional spectrum that fuels Meguro’s creations. “I find beauty in negative emotions such as anger and sadness,” he says. “When the emotions of living creatures such as people and animals collapse”. Perhaps it’s no bad thing then that Meguro is pessimistic about the future: for him, the remedy is for us all to look inwards and work out what we want to say, before expressing that through art.

Read on for more wisdom from Meguro, including his journey to becoming a hairstylist and an essential video game recommendation.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?

Shunsuke Meguro: I was born to parents who were women’s clothing wholesalers and grew up in a Japanese port town facing the sea. My grandfather does calligraphy as a hobby, and my grandmother is a Japanese tea teacher (who taught etiquette and, specifically, etiquette when drinking tea), so I was naturally exposed to Japanese classical culture from an early age.

What’s your earliest beauty-related memory?

Shunsuke Meguro: The first time I went to a hair salon was when I was eight years old. At that time, I had hair wax applied, and I was surprised and moved when I realised that I could move my hair freely.

How did you get into hair styling?

Shunsuke Meguro: When I was a student, I studied hair at a beauty school and at the same time worked as an assistant to a contemporary artist. So I thought hairstylists in the fashion industry have design and art sides. I worked as a session stylist assistant in Japan. I learned a lot about this job there. In our day and age, social media made it easy to message photographers and stylists and build portfolios.

What are you trying to communicate through your work?

Shunsuke Meguro: I have nothing to say in ‘normal’ job because every scene has a client (company, photographer, stylist etc) and a mood board. I recognise that they are projects of companies, photographers and stylists. I think about what they want to say and add my ideas to it. The only time I communicate something through my work is when it’s my personal project.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

Shunsuke Meguro: I haven’t achieved anything yet, but I love shows, so I was very happy when I did the lead hair for one brand for the first time at Paris Fashion Week.

Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words.

Shunsuke Meguro: Anger. Pure. Intention.

Which fictional character do you most relate to?

Shunsuke Meguro: I can’t think of a fictional character, but I sympathise with the video game designer Hideo Kojima. He said, ‘I want to be remembered for what I have accomplished, not for my title. I want to spend the rest of my life on my mission, not on my title.’ This thought is the same to the theme of my life.

What is your favourite look of all time? 

Shunsuke Meguro: I like women with very short, minimal hair. Because the useless things are scraped off and the person’s personality is revealed.

What is your current obsession?

Shunsuke Meguro: Exploring commonalities between self-expression and helping others express themselves.

Are you optimistic about the future?

Shunsuke Meguro: I’m pessimistic about the future. Especially in this era, due to the influence of social media and Covid, people have become aware of loneliness. It is said that there are no rules in fashion, but in fact there are many invisible rules that unconsciously bind us. What is diversity? This does not negate the current movement within fashion. It means that it is dangerous for many people to follow a certain idea without thinking. I believe that it is important for each person to be aware of the masses and face their inner self and have their own thoughts in the future, especially in the work of making things.

What is the future of beauty?

Shunsuke Meguro: Embracing different kinds of beauty without sticking to your own ideas. I believe it is important to study history and create a vision for the future, not the present.

You have to replace part of your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for?

Shunsuke Meguro: I want to go for a ‘Hydra’ because a Hydra is a freshwater invertebrate that is theoretically immortal.

You have the ability to live in a video game. Which would it be?

Shunsuke Meguro: All video games can be continued, so it’s all attractive, but in the game Death Stranding there is a world in between heaven and hell, so I’d like to see that.