Bonnet, Uber-Riah, weave, perruque, switch, “It’s my own haaaaair!” Call it what you may, but a queen’s crowning glory isn’t her tiara, it’s her wig.
Straight, wavy, curly, fringed or beehive bouffant — don’t ever touch a queen’s wig without personal invitation, as you’re asking for trouble. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
The wearing of wigs dates back centuries — Ancient Egyptians wore them atop shaved heads, Japanese kabuki performers and geishas wear them. Queen Elizabeth I famously wore a tightly curled red wig.
From the 16th century, wigs were worn for hygiene reasons as hair attracted headlice, a problem which could be reduced if the head was shaved and an artificial hairpiece worn.
Wigs rose to astonishing new heights in the 18th century. At the French court at Versailles, large elaborate and often themed wigs (such as the comical ‘boat-poufs’) were in vogue for women.
These combed-up hair extensions were often very heavy, weighted with pomades, powders and other decorations — becoming symbolic of the decadence of the French nobility, pre-revolution.
Celebrities such as Dolly Parton, Raquel Welch, Cher, Tyra Banks and Lady Gaga have all made use of wigs. Andre Aggassi was even known to wear a wig on the court to conceal his baldness!
Nowadays, we faux-females wear wigs for a variety of reasons. Drag queens use them to portray a specific character or show a certain time period on stage or to complement and complete an outfit, whereas cross-dressers and transvestites wear them to blend in and ‘pass’ as female.
Human hair wigs are available, but most gurls tend to wear synthetic weaves as they’re more budget friendly. Wigs can come in many different colours, textures and styles — and even materials, such as the fabulous foamy stylings of Philmah Bocks!
Lace-fronted wigs have a strip of fine skin-coloured netting on the front of the wig, through which individual fibres are hand-knotted to give a fine hairline, and when glued to the temples, give the effect that the hair is actually coming out of your own head.
There are many incredible wig stylists around — Taylor Ette (Brisbane), Vanity Faire www.wigsbyvanity.com and Prada Clutch www.Clutchingatcurls.com.au and Lexi Gaga or Venus Envy here in Melbourne. Contact any of these ladies if you’re looking to have a wig styled – they’re all happy to help for a reasonable charge.
If you’re looking to buy a wig, visit www.Weavesbywilma.com.au — set up especially for drag queens. Don’t hesitate to contact Wilma with your wig needs from colour selection to styled product — she’s able to have your dream do made a reality!
I’d like to publicly wish a Bon Voyage to Carl (Wilma’s wig-teasing partner) as he sets sail back to England to set up for Wilma’s impending arrival. Thank you for your generosity, drive and assorted wig-related help. My head will never be the same again!
By POLLY WAFFLE