Because geisha and warriors are passé, we went to a photo shoot to look like figures of Hollywood’s golden age.
As cool as samurai and ninjas look to some people or as exotic as geisha appear, to the Japanese, they’re a little more ubiquitous and thus not quite as exciting. It’s comparable to how Americans might see a cowboy, or the British may view knights: still kind of cool but a little overdone at this point.
So, when our reporter Masami K. had the opportunity for a little fantasy makeover and photo shoot, she passed over those traditional Japanese figures we’ve seen before and asked for a vintage 50s Audrey Hepburn look.
You might be surprised to learn that Ms. Hepburn is held in extremely high regard in Japan as perhaps the epitome of cinematic elegance, grace, and, above all else, cuteness. In a ranking of the 100 favorite historical figures in Japan, Audrey Hepburn came in 31st, barely edging out Gandhi (32nd) and beating Jesus Christ (62nd) by a wide margin.
Masami was no different in her admiration of the legendary star, so she headed down to the Opsis make-up and photo studio in Osaka (they have locations in Tokyo as well) for the transformation. The Audrey makeover was done under a special campaign the studio is having which charges 12,960 yen (US$129) including the consultation, make-up, hair, photo shoot and photo selection.
The consultation was a no-brainer considering the movie star’s prominence in Japan, so there was no fear of the stylist uttering “Audrey who?” However, she did explain that there were limits to what they could do with the equipment at their disposal, so Masami shouldn’t get her hopes up too high.
So, can our mild-mannered reporter make the leap to become one of history’s leading leading ladies?
With the make-up partway through, Masami wasn’t sure if she was becoming Audrey, but she certainly was beginning to look different, “Audrey-ish” at the very least, she would say.
However, the end result was pretty on the money.
Still, Masami was constantly pointing out that she didn’t think her looks were enough to rival that of the original Audrey Hepburn.
Shortly before going into the photo studio, Masami was a little frantic trying to remember how Hepburn would stand or fold her arms to recreate the look, but luckily the photographer was way ahead of her and gave lots of instructions on how to pose.
When it was all done, she could then look through all the shots and choose which ones she wanted to buy prints of for 2,160 yen ($21) each in either color or black and white for that classic cinema look.
You might think that this is the end of Masami’s journey, but no! Hers and the photos of everyone else who gets pictures and make-up in classic Hollywood style at Opsis from now to 31 October can enter a contest to be given the Classic Beauty Award on 1 December.
The winner will be chosen by online vote during the month of November. We’re not sure if there is any cash or prizes involved but will be a nice addition to our trophy shelf beside Mr. Sato’s Best In Show after visiting the dog groomer’s and a Best Sound Mixing Oscar that we found at a flea market.
Voting can be done on the Opsis website, it’s in Japanese but we’ll update with a more easy to follow voting link when the contest begins on 1 November.