The Rising Popularity Of The Costume Wigs
I am solely 4-eleven, so I need to put on heels,” she said.
Another testomony to the random nature of life is that Ms. cheap hair bundles deals Tanaka, 39, who grew up in Japan with no knowledge of Jewish culture, now specializes in styling costly wigs worn by extremely-Orthodox Jewish ladies in search of to conform to the requirement of religious legislation to cowl their hair after marriage.
“They call me the Japanese sheitel macher,” she stated, using a Yiddish term for wig seller. Ms. Tanaka doesn’t converse Yiddish and she doesn’t even sell wigs, but she has grow to be the stylist to see for a sure set of moneyed girls who observe a tradition usually related to modesty, even when the wig costs can top $5,000.
Looking modest is not a strong swimsuit right here on the Julien Farel salon on Madison Avenue, the place Ms. Tanaka works. A wash-lower-blow dry for a wig can take greater than two hours, and her costs start at $450.
“They’re paying too much for modesty,” Ms. Tanaka said. “My clients want me to cowl their head with one thing that looks higher than their very own hair.”
These weeks earlier than Passover, which begins on March 25, are her busiest of the 12 months. Last weekend, she was flown to Toronto to type wigs at an ultra-Orthodox wedding. Out-of-city jobs are widespread, as are home calls. She is constantly ferried by car service to style wigs in non-public houses in the 5 Towns on Long Island or in Brooklyn or Monsey, N.Y.
Then there are the purchasers who merely have their wigs pushed in. It’s not uncommon for a black car with a driver to tug up with a wig in a box within the back seat, Ms. Tanaka said, and the identical driver will pull up a few days later to pick up the wig, styled and in a service field.
One current weekday, Ms. Tanaka was working on a wig being worn by Pesha Blum, 27, a fashion publicist who lives on the Higher West Side and who said her wig of “European virgin undyed” hair cost roughly $5,000.
The sleek salon is a far cry from the basement magnificence salons of “sheitel ladies” in ultra-Orthodox enclaves in Brooklyn, the place many wig-wearing women go. On Ms. Tanaka’s counter one recent weekday were a number of head-formed stands that supported wigs whose mixed costs might cowl a down fee on a starter dwelling.
Ms. Tanaka has handled some excessive-strain hairdos — working on Japanese and Saudi princesses, and celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Marisa Tomei — however nothing is scarier, she said, cheap hair bundles deals than cutting a wig.
“The toughest half is that you can’t mess up — the hair is not going to develop again,” said Ms. Tanaka, who had just finished shaping a $7,000 wig. “You make one mistake, and it is ruined.”
Now she was engaged on a wig worn by Rivka Cohen, 25, of the Higher West Facet. Ms. Tanaka, whose tiny palms appear well-suited for styling shears, shaved strands and snipped ends of wig hair, always in small takes.
“If you spend thousands of dollars on a wig and the stylist botches the color, you’re not going to come back,” Ms. Cohen said.
And this is the place Ms. Tanaka’s Japanese background is available in.
“These girls know I’m from Japan so I have to be excellent — it’s our culture, we must be exact,” she said. “They’re bringing their tradition to me, so I wish to convey my tradition to them.”
Ms. Tanaka lives in Tenafly, N.J. together with her husband — he’s Jewish, however hardly religious — and their 6-yr-previous daughter. Starting out as a teenager, Ms. Tanaka apprenticed in salons in Tokyo. She had never reduce a wig or had a Jewish client when she came to New York at 22. But she realized the ropes working for Mark Garrison, a widely known stylist whose East Aspect salon focuses on excessive-finish wigs.
Quickly, her name received around, and now all her business comes by word of mouth. Ms. Blum said her hairstylist in Israel really helpful Ms. Tanaka.
“You spend $5,000 on a wig — you do not need to mess round with it,” Ms. Blum mentioned. “We do not should put on a wig out of modesty. We do it as a result of it’s what God wants us to do.”
Then she checked out Ms. Tanaka to make clear, but obtained only a shrug.
“Don’t ask me,” Ms. Tanaka said with that acquainted mischievous twinkle in her eye.
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