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'Palin wig' a hit with Orthodox Jewish women

Video by Philip CROWTHER


Latest update : 2008-10-26

Sarah Palin-style wigs are proving popular among Orthodox Jewish women, who cover their hair for religious reasons. Fake copies of the Republican vice presidential candidate's cascading bangs have also entered the Halloween gear sector.

See France 24's full coverage of the US election.



Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's hair, with its straight bangs, beehive top and cascading locks, is proving popular among Halloween partygoers and some Orthodox Jewish women.

As Americans gear up for Halloween and Election Day soon after, New Yorkers are snapping up Palin-style wigs and glasses regardless of their political leanings, costume shop owners say.

And in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, the look has become popular among some Orthodox Jewish women, who buy wigs to cover their hair for religious reasons. Made of human hair, the Palin-style wigs cost $695 or more.

In Brooklyn's Borough Park, an area heavily populated by Hasidic men wearing black hats and long beards and women dressed in long skirts and long-sleeved shirts, stylist Gail Rosenzweig said half of her Orthodox Jewish clients want Palin's style.

"It's a fashion statement," said Rosenzweig as she worked on a Palin wig. Even though Palin is a Christian from Alaska, where Jews make up less than 1 percent of the state's 670,000 population, Rosenzweig said her clients "like her classic look. It can be worn up or down."

Shlomo Klein, an Orthodox Jew and vice president of wig maker Georgie Wigs, said he sold more than 50 of the "Sarah P" wigs across America in recent weeks to women wanting wigs either for medical or religious reasons.

Married Orthodox Jewish women do not show their real hair in public for modesty reasons and can spend between a few hundred to several thousand dollars on wigs, he said.

The Palin look had replaced previous popular looks among Orthodox Jewish women such as Victoria Beckham's "Posh Spice" look and Jennifer Aniston's "Friends" cut, he said.


Esther Melamed said she paid more than $700 for the human hair Palin wig to wear for a recent Jewish holiday.

"I have some old wigs that I can wear, but I wanted a certain look and I really like that look," she said, adding she intends to vote for Palin.

Others in the Brooklyn community said if the Palin look appealed, it was not for religious or political reasons.

"She just looks good. I don't think it is anything political or religious. I think she just came across as self-possessed and self-assured and able to juggle," said Sarah Yavne, owner of Teen Boutique, which carries labels like French Connection for Orthodox Jewish teens.

The Palin locks have also proved popular with Halloween stores in New York, a state that predominantly votes Democratic.

"People are concentrating on her because she is new, she is a woman and she is a pretty lady," said Robert Pinzon of Abracadabra, which sells Palin wigs for $75.

Todd Kenig, CEO of Ricky's, a New York costume store, said he sold more than 150 Palin wigs priced at $49.99, and more than 600 Palin sashes that said "Miss Alaska" on the front and "Miss Vice President" on the back.

"It's all parody, I don't believe it's supporters," he said. "It's all people like Tina Fey types looking to knock her."

Comedian Fey's parody of Palin on the U.S. comedy show "Saturday Night Live," has giving the show its highest viewership in years.

Kenig said masks of Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama were selling briskly, while masks of Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain were not selling so well. In recent days he sold dozens of the new "Joe The Plumber" costume -- a jumpsuit, bald cap and plunger.

Date created : 2008-10-25