Beautiful. Elegant. Mysterious. Enchanting. Mesmerising.
All synonyms used to describe the wonderful Japanese Geisha, and all synonyms to describe how I felt today.
I arrived at Katsura Studio at 11am sharp today, warmly greeted by five attentive staff. After establishing that I could speak a little Japanese, they got me to select the style of makeover: Maiko or Geisha. Maiko are apprentice Geisha, and wear slightly different kimonos and headdresses. I selected a black Geisha kimono, and the three poses I wanted to do, and was ushered to the changing room to undress and put on the undergarments and yukata so they could proceed with applying the makeup.
They started with a coat of wax to prime my skin, then smoothed on a white base all over my face, neck, and some of my shoulders. After that, they put a hint of pink foundation over my eyes and cheeks, and the sides of my nose. Next, they put red both on my lips, and as the outline of my new eyebrows. After applying layers of black eyeliner and mascara, they put a layer of black over the red of my eyebrows. Red was also applied to the corner of my eyes, then some false eyelashes were glued in place, and finished off with more liquid eyeliner.
Following the makeup application, it was time to get dressed. The kimono is a very intricate garment with many layers. But all the pulling, squeezing, tightening, and not being able to breathe, is worth the end result :) The makeover package gives you three photos to take home, but they also allow you to take your own camera in with you and they will happily take as many photos as you like! The photographer also took extra shots which they asked if they could use on their website and for advertising.
I am so pleased with how it turned out, and ecstatic that I’ll have these amazing photos from my time in Japan! Here are some of the wonderful images captured today. The rest can be found on Flickr.