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HomeAwardsAward Contenders-Kelvin Trahan & Lyndell Quiyou-Hair-Geisha

Award Contenders-Kelvin Trahan & Lyndell Quiyou-Hair-Geisha


Creating the distinctive, subdued Shimada hairstyles—never to be worn down in public unless the geisha is performing a stage role or dance—required a passionate eye for detail and authenticity. Memoirs of a Geisha hair designer Lyndell Quiyou and department head Kelvin Trahan and their team in the hair trailer worked hard alongside makeup to create the look needed for the cast.This seasoned team of hair stylists and wigmakers immersed themselves in the period, re-creating specific styles the geisha and young apprentice Maiko would have worn. The overall look was to keep the hair styles small, with the exception of Hatsumomo, played by Gong Li, whose villainous character was set off by dramatic high hairstyles. The pivotal dance scene where Maiko Sayuri performs onstage to her bidding suitors is set off by her long, straight hairpiece worn down with a red trussed ponytail, stylized in Kabuki tradition with pieces framing her face for a more powerful look, enhancing the visual impact of her dance.Quiyou was primarily self-taught, relying on her extensive library as well as instructional DVDs and books from Japan on the subject of geishas and hairstyles. “The final hair design is less of the traditional geisha look that we all know,” she explained, “but more inspired by the courtesans from the Edo period—which director Rob Marshall suggested looking at for reference. He wanted the actresses to have a more flattering look than that of the traditional geisha, and the styles from that period gave me a twist on the silhouette that worked to satisfy his wishes.”To assemble the hairstylists, Trahan and Quiyou arranged a class of over 30 stylists of MAHS Local 706 for intensive training. This became the core group that worked together throughout the film. Quiyou is currently working on The Flock, shooting in New Mexico with director Andrew Lau. “I just finished a film about the writer Clifford Irving. Richard Gere plays him, and Lasse Hallström directed,” she relates. “It takes place in the early ’70s.. We had to make Richard look as close to Clifford as possible—which is very different from what Richard looks like.”

Written by April MacIntyre

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