Meet Raphaël, the legendary wigmaker

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Troupe Crazy Horse By Andi Elloway


It’s been 24 years now that Raphaël is the exclusive Crazy Horse Paris wigmaker, ensuring that the emblematic “Crazy bob” endures. His attachment to the cabaret, his trade, his technique… true to himself, Raphaël tells us all about it in a luminous and engaged interview.

24 years of collaboration, what a lovely performance! Tell us about your beginnings at Crazy Horse Paris.

Back then, Crazy Horse Paris was working with the famous wigmaker Poulain who had just retired.  Sophie Bernardin was therefore looking for a successor. I simply introduced myself to her.

The first thing Sophie Bernardin asked of me was to conceive straight, bob-cut wigs of several colors, 15 in all. It’s important to note that the wigs are made of synthetic fibers and have been dyed in the mass, which reduces the amount of colors they can be made in. If the color were to be added to the wigs after they were already made, they would fade away quite quickly when washed. Yet I was still able to honor the request since the wigs were meant to be worn only for the making of the Taboo DVD and not on stage.

The first day of shooting, Sophie Bernardin said my wigs were “to die for” and that the Crazy Girls had to have them for the shows. It was a real challenge! Together with my manufacturer, I had to create a whole new fibre that could be dyed in the mass… that way I was able to make the wigs that had been asked of me.

How did you make the iconic Crazy bob yours?

Ah, that bob… do you know that in my salon they ask me for the Crazy haircut? It’s much more than a bob, it’s a true signature, a hallmark. It immediately reminds one of Crazy Horse Paris, you don’t even have to mention the cabaret’s name. It means adopting, with this mythical wig, the very DNA and values of Crazy Horse Paris. Everything is perfectly controlled and carries a vision of femininity as sublime as it is uninhibited at Crazy Horse Paris and with the wigs I create, I take part in the cabaret’s wonderfully beautiful identity.

The lengths, colors, fringes, geometry of the Crazy bob are practically unchangeable. I carry out the technical specifications with rigor, precision and passion. Sometimes, the bob takes liberties, as in the Glamazones act. That blue wig with the convex bangs and the short neckline, has also become part of Crazy Horse Paris artistic codes.

Outside of Crazy Horse Paris, how do you decline your art of the wig?

I am very proud of having created 126 wigs for a Zizi Jeanmaire revue at Casino de Paris, with costumes by Yves Saint-Laurent. I actually worked for him later on by making 50s style wigs which the famous designer found “divine”. I also produced all the wigs for the exposition dedicated to his muse, Betty Catroux, which is still being held at the Yves Saint-Laurent museum. I also make historical wigs, à la Marie-Antoinette, around 35 centimeters high!

But my wigs have also been worn by women who, due to illness, have lost their hair. I am a member of EREEL, who, with Souffle de Violette, have accompanied women who have cancer. A commitment that I take to heart and, as with the Crazy Horse Paris, do with passion.

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