October 30, 2005

"He is rarely seen without a wig and a pair of sunglasses, a homage to Andy Warhol that began as a Halloween costume last year."

That's a description of Merlin Bronques, "an elusive character who has made a boldface name for himself among scenesters on both coasts by photographing bared flesh, provocative outfits and gross exuberance at clubs and private parties."

I have been wondering for decades why Andy Warhol-style wigs do not become the fashion for men. Wigs for men seem so awful, of course, but the least hip thing to do is to wear a toupee and try to act as though no one can tell. Why after all this time has it not become the thing to do to wear what is intentionally a wig? Warhol did it. Why has the potential for hipness and coolness never come to fruition when Warhol did it? Come on, guys. It will be really fun! Why all the somberness about that hair problem? Head-shaving turned out to be a great idea. Following the same reasoning, wear the Warhol wig!

30 comments:

chuck b. said...

Only if I can wear it with shorts.

chuck b. said...

Or plaid pants.

Jeff said...

I balk at having a metal snap for the wig surgically implanted on the top of my head!

Ann Althouse said...

Jeff, wouldn't that be the approach of the stealthy toupee wearer.

Chuck: Warhol never wore shorts, I'm rather sure. I doubt if he even wore short sleeves.

Allah said...

What kind of wigs are we talking about here?

As for hiding receding hairlines, that's what baseball caps are for.

Ann Althouse said...

Allah: We're talking about Andy Warhol, who is far cooler than a hat. Of course, you can wear a hat, but it's not an interesting new fashion. Someone needs to market a better Andy Warhol wig than this one though!

Undecided said...
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Undecided said...

Wonderful idea! If it was tongue in cheek, too bad. For those of use who are self-conscious about our hair loss, an Andy Warhol platinum blond wig may just do the trick, and not just on Halloween. Will mohair or silk be the best material?

I'm convinced that English jurists wear those 18th century wigs to cover their baldness. But they certainly don't come across as being very virile or manly in those sissy wigs. But if they exchanged their goofy, curly, old-fashioned wigs for a Warhol Wig (tm), then imagine the renewed respect the judges will command from all concerned parties, especially from the Beatle's generation!

I wear a baseball cap to cover my bald spot, but sometime I run into trouble. Out of respect and custom, I have to remove my hat in church or in court. Some teachers don't allow hats in class either. But a Warhol Wig (tm) solves the problem, except that on hot days it creates sweaty new ones. But at least they can't make you take your chic wig off!

Btw, I leave at the Beach in Santa Monica right next to Billionaire Eli Broad's personal modern art collection. He has an amazing number of Warhol originals including Superman, Jackie O., etc. They are quite impressive to view, if you happen to like modern art.

Jeff said...

I would get the snap if I could get a wig like this

Dave said...

Ann: You wear the wig first. Then maybe I'll consider it the height of fashion. Until then...

Ann Althouse said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Dave: I doubt that anyone manufactures a wig big enough to fit over my hair. Or that a woman wearing something will help make it acceptable for a man. What is needed for this Warhol trend is for some cool young guys to start wearing it. Then it's all about getting to the "tipping point."

Robert said...

Andy Warhol wasn't cool.

Sorry.

Robert said...

In appearance, I should hasten to add. In how he lived his own life he seems to have been pretty cool.

But there are lots of people who are cool that way who I don't plan to emulate stylistically. :)

Icepick said...

I might get the snap if I could get good Mike Score wigs, from back in the day....

XWL said...

Those wigs weren't the prettiest objects close up (according to many interviews of Factory, hanger-oners, they smelled bad, as one might expect and they didn't look charmingly unnatural up close, rather just freakishly unnatural)

And besides Andy was way too swish for anyone but Warhol wannabes (like the photographer/scenester profiled in the LAT) to emmulate.

There's a good collection of essays called Pop/Out about Warhol and his gayness (it was assigned for a class by one of the contributors, there was some contreversy back when Warhol died since many of the obits and artbooks attempted to de-gay Warhol).

His kind of swishy ambiguity isn't popular for straight men, or gay men at the moment so it's unlikely that the affect most associated with him would catch on with any group, but this decade's Oscar Wilde/Quentin Crisp/Truman Capote/Andy Warhol.

And the provocative photographs of party-goers is straight out of Andy's playbook, one of his most cherished possessions was his collection of polaroids of naked men, famous, not-famous, straight, and gay (few could resist his charm, and besides they could fool themselves and believe that it was for art and not prurient interests)

Brendan said...

Warhol wore a wig? I thought it was his own hair, teased out. I'm a dope.

Allah said...

Of course, you can wear a hat, but it's not an interesting new fashion. Someone needs to market a better Andy Warhol wig than this one though!

The problem with the kind of wig you're talking about isn't that it would look bad, it's that it would be loaded with cultural baggage. A guy in a frizzy white (or otherwise outrageous) piece would look, at best, hipsterish and pretentious, and at worst, flamingly gay.

I suppose the response to that is, "not if lots of straight men started wearing them!" But ask yourself, which straight men are most likely to start wearing them? Right -- the metrosexuals. They won't make the wig look manly; on the contrary, it'll simply make them look more effete.

Ann Althouse said...

XWL, Allah: As for Warhol being or seeming gay and what it means about the wig style. Well, of course, a conventional straight male couldn't just start wearing a Warhol wig! But I'm sure many of the styles that you do wear could be traced back to gay men. It takes time for a style to move from the trendy style makers, many of whom are likely to be gay, to become a more general trend. But it's been decades! And it doesn't have to be exactly like Warhol's wig. Of course, it wouldn't be smelly! I'm just saying there could be a trend, with interesting looking hair, of men wearing wigs the way they wear hats, not trying to create the illusion that the thing grew out of their scalps. It's not something all men would need to do. Why don't more gay men do it? And then, along with them, some younger, unconventional straight men?

Icepick said...

Allah, for once you got something wrong.

A guy in a frizzy white (or otherwise outrageous) piece would look, at best, hipsterish and pretentious, and at worst, flamingly gay.

That is exactly backwards! I'd rather look like I was flamingly gay than look hipsterish and pretentious! And I was once described by a lesbian friend as being "agressively heterosexual", whatever the hell that means.

Allah said...

But I'm sure many of the styles that you do wear could be traced back to gay men.

That sounds like it should be true, but I honestly can't think of a single example to support it. Mainstream male fashion seems to draw much more heavily on lower-class apparel than on "high" (i.e., flamboyant) style. Blue jeans, which were designed as work clothes, are a paradigm case; white kids in ghetto costume are another. The goal is to affect a greater sense of manliness by emulating guys whose masculinity is more potent: the gangsta, the manual laborer who works with his hands, etc. Not a very hospitable environment for gay influences.

The quickest way to get the wig thing going would be to convince 50 Cent to start wearing it. Or, failing that, try to make something happen with the troops overseas. E.g., "Each night, after a long day spent patrolling the lawless streets of Tikrit, Sgt. Dan Manly wants to do only one thing: cue up some disco, slap on his Andy Warhol wig, and dance dance dance!"

chuck b. said...
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chuck b. said...
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chuck b. said...

Allah said, "That sounds like it should be true, but I honestly can't think of a single example to support it. Mainstream male fashion seems to draw much more heavily on lower-class apparel than on "high" (i.e., flamboyant) style."

Perhaps you should clarify what you mean by mainstream... mainstream "blue state" or mainstream "red state"? Mainstream teenagers, or mainstream twentysomethings? Because I think there's a big space where gays exert a huge, obvious influence on perstonal style questions.

And it doesn't involve oversized basketball jerseys, pant waits hanging down around the ass, or any of these favorites.

[Many, some, whatever] gay men pay more attention to fashion and fashion history then do [many,some,whatev] straight men. Knowing more, they use more.

I don't think that [m,s,w] gay men are necessarily the origin points of any particular fashion trend, but gay men definitely get trends started. The goatee comes immediately to mind. Yes, of course, there was the goatee before gay men started wearing them in the late 1980s. But I will never be convinced the goatee's 1990s ubiquity would have emerged without a gay spark.

There are lots of examples, all over the place...especially considering Ann's point that large numbers of the high end designers who put the clothes out to market on celebrity bodies are gay.

(As I understand it, the new hairy style choice for fashionable straight men, borrowed from gay men, is trimming and/or shaving the pubes.)

Icepick said...

The quickest way to get the wig thing going would be to convince 50 Cent to start wearing it.

It'll never work. This guy has already proven that wigs are a career killer in the rap world. Nobody beats The Biz, but wigs do.

Sammler said...

It's not that Mr. Warhol was, or seemed, gay -- it's that he was a paramount fraud. The Imitation of Warhol would advance neither social standing nor self-image.

Sean E said...

I'm not sure that most men consider campy to be an improvement over balding. Seems about as likely to take off as ugly men starting to wear KISS-style makeup.

George Charlson said...
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Neal said...

I would LOVE to wear an Andy wig...I can't find one.

euriah said...

i've been trying to find the wig andy wore in the sixties with the side part, much cooler than the big one he was wearing by the eighties...and in black. I don't think my boss would like it too well if I came to work donning silver hair.