Raquel Welch’s Expanding Wig Gig

The Raquel Welch Wig Collection — which was introduced in 1998 — is growing apace.

Talk about a body of work.


In addition to her celebrated curves, screen star Raquel Welch is known for having many good hair days. What her fans may not know is that the lifelong wig wearer has had some help along the way.

“Natural looking, state-of-the-art wigs make the fast lane so much easier and more glam,” said Welch, who serves as the face and a consultant on her namesake hairpiece collection, distributed by Kansas-based hairpiece parent company, HairUWear Inc.

The Raquel Welch Wig Collection — which was introduced in 1998 — is growing apace. It is expected to generate $50 million in retail sales in 2012, according to industry sources.

In addition to unveiling a spring collection in April, plans are under way for a high-end, premium-priced range to be introduced this fall.

“Most career-minded women are short on time and need to include workouts and other maintenance activities, so it’s important that professional women adopt hairstyles that are both practical and attractive and work for more than one occasion,” said Welch. “The styles for the 2012 spring collection cross over from business hours to the evening.”

The range — called 24/7 Glamour — consists of seven full-wig styles ranging in price from $134 to $345. With names like FanFare, Camera Ready and Hearthrob (the latter are two of Welch’s personal favorites), it’s easy to see the connection to the actress’ fast-paced lifestyle.

“I am influenced by my own experience of maintaining a pulled-together look 24/7 on a professional schedule of travel, television appearances, appearing at red carpet events, filming commercials, being an actress on set, running my own production company and participating creatively in the wig collection for the last 12 years,” said Welch, who recently had a guest-starring role on “CSI: Miami.”

According to Michael Napolitano, president of HairUWear, Welch’s line is one with a broad client base.
“The appeal is both need-based and to the fashion consumer who sees wigs as a style accessory,” said Napolitano. “The bottom line is for women who want to change their look and attitude immediately in the comfort of their own homes.”

According to Napolitano, styles, cuts and colors in the Welch line are designed to mimic costly salon jobs.

“To achieve these complex shades, it would take all sorts of colorations that would beat a woman’s hair up,” said Napolitano. “Our pieces are made of human hair and are heat-friendly. They look and behave like the real thing.” 

Among the innovations in the hairpieces is a proprietary fiber said to withstand heat up to 350 degrees. Wigs can be curled and straightened while maintaining the look and feel of natural hair.

Styles in the line are inspired by Hollywood, runway and global fashion trends and, of course, input from the brand’s in-house muse.

“I look to real-life women who I’ve observed in different settings,” said Welch. “I stay in tune with fashion and design magazines, and keep an eye on various television shows and entertainment news programs and always check out star anchorwomen. Finally, I go by my gut. I’ve been inspired by Halle Berry’s short cut, Charlize Theron’s shoulder-length hair, Rihanna’s short ’dos, and Rene Russo’s cut in ‘The Thomas Crown Affair.’ I sometimes draw from other periods and old movies.”

Welch’s spring collection will be available at select retailers and wig shops and on Wigs.com and Extensions.com. Advertising for the line, which stars Welch herself donning the flowing Camera Ready style, can be found in national consumer and business publications.

“This is not just an endorsement deal, the line is something Raquel loves,” said Napolitano, who added that Welch is extremely hands on with the business. “She’s always used wigs, hair extensions and pieces and has a real passion for them. She’s very vocal, she’s very smart. She’s a style icon.”