Four fabulous limited edition prints of Bob Mackie sketches of famous artists. Lucille Ball, Madonna, Cher, and The Supremes. Bob Mackie's sketches of celebrities wearing his creations are works of art unto themselves. He frequented Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage and became a regular at Johannes Restaurant and Le Vallauris before the pandemic. Bob Mackie - Costume Designer - Sketches Costume designer Bob Mackie recently opened his archive of fashion illustrations for his fans to buy.Find out more information here. Designer Bob Mackie inside his Studio City workroom in L.A., which is a fantasy land of buttons, trims and fabrics. Costume designer Bob Mackie —famous for creating looks for Cher, Bette Midler, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Barbie— recently opened his archive of fashion illustrations for his fans to.
The fashion icon has new outfits for Cher that will debut in 2017.
There is a shrine in the entrance of Bob Mackie’s West Hollywood home where a cluster of dolls from around the world huddles. It is difficult to imagine how plain they must have looked when Mackie first discovered them: the one from a church altar now dons an earthy tribal headdress shaped like a Mohawk; a miniature wooden mannequin from the 1800s, with its layers of coral and turquoise, looks more like Shakti ready to walk through fire than a Little House On The Prairie character. “They are just tchotchke people,” Mackie shrugs. “Things I’ve had forever, things that are new.” But as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, the man who has drenched chanteuses like Tina Turner and Cher in elaborately beaded costumes, it’s hard to not experience the display as a microcosmic metaphor. Transforming women into goddesses has become second nature for the designer.
Pop Stars Paying Homage to Bob Mackie: See the Classic Looks Then and Now
At 77, Mackie is witty, fascinating, and humble all in nearly equal measure. If his own uniform -- a classic black sweater, oxford shirt, jeans -- and easy going demeanor seem at odds with the “Sequin Shiek” moniker bestowed upon him years ago, one need only look at the walls of his guest bathroom to be reminded of his influence. Autographed images from stars like Barbra Streisand and Carol Burnett, who thanked him for his “weekly miracles” on her variety show, hang side by side. His five decades of work with Cher, who will decamp to Las Vegas for her Classic Cher concert series wearing new Mackie looks in February, remains one of the longest-standing partnerships in the history of fashion and music. “Bob changed my entire life!” Cher tells Billboard. “Without Bob I would have been .. a peacock without feathers.” Of the hundreds of looks she has worn, she counts the Mohawk costume he created for the 1986 Academy Awards as her favorite: “It made me feel like a queen.”
See Bob Mackie's Sketches for Classic Madonna, Cher & Tina Turner Gowns
Born in Monterey Park, California Mackie received a scholarship to the Choinard Art Institutute (the college that later became California Institute of the Arts), before being hand-plucked by legendary couturier Jean Louis to work as a sketch artist. “My first job in Hollywood was with Marilyn Monroe, the biggest movie star ever,” recalls Mackie, who drew the nude marquisette fabric gown drizzled in 2,500 rhinestones that the star would wear while singing “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962.
The Carol Burnett Show,
While flipping through the latest issue of People in his kitchen, Mackie begins shaking his head at the incorrect proportions and “granny panties” a stylist has paired beneath a sheer lace Valentino gown. “They’ve made this young girl look like her torso is so short,” he explains with a tone more confused than patronizing. “There are tricks for that!'
What first sparked your interest in fashion?
When I was a little kid during the Great War, the only thing really to do was go to the movies. Movies became like my college. I lived in a neighborhood with no kids to speak of, so I would just go into my bedroom and start making my own stage sets and costumes. I used to buy these 45 records, put them on the record player, turn on my flashlight and produce these little versions. Until I got to high school, I’d learned so much just by watching really good movies.
Do you remember meeting Cher for the first time?
She and Sonny [Bono] had become famous as a novelty act — like a couple of cave people. In those days women had big beehives; no one had straight hair like hers. She looked different than everybody else .. fur vests and bell-bottoms, it was all new at the time. I’d seen photos and thought she was this big hulking girl. She and Sonny were booked on The Carol Burnett Show in 1967. She came in to see me and I went, “Oh, my God. This girl is so beautiful and little.” I mean, she was like Audrey Hepburn. She had good shoulders, a long neck, a long body and just photographed like a dream.
I dressed her up for the Showboat finale, and I remember I was sitting in the hallway trying to fix some thread that had come loose on a dress. She came over and said, “One day, when we can afford it, I’m going to have a beaded dress.” I told her, “I’m ready when you are!”
How has your creative process changed over the years?
Well, it takes more now than it used to because she has too many things to say about it. (Laughs.) In the old days I could put anything on her. She didn’t know about period clothes — she didn’t know about glamour, really. She could be anything. In those days, they didn’t feature Middle Eastern or Hispanic women, and she could be any ethnic persuasion because she was always tan. It was really fun. She was so busy working with her show back then, she never knew what I was going to put on her. Now she’s liable to wear anything. The clothing is also a little more constructed. She’s older now, still gorgeous, but she needs a little more protection.
Spanx didn’t exist when you started out. How did you get every person you dressed to look so flawless?
There was no stretchy fabrics either, except maybe wool jersey. Usually those girls had pretty good bodies, but sometimes women would gain 15 pounds and you'd have to start over. But I’ve got a million tricks for things like that. When dresses were sheer or nude,there were all of these movie tricks that we learned way back about shadowing seams so you don’t see them. And shadowing nipples on a see-through top, you’d do a a layer of nude and then a smaller one and a smaller one and a smaller one and it just kind of fades out.
You worked with many different body shapes, Mama Cass Elliot included.
That’s the way life is, that’s the way the world is. Cass was wearing the same kind of muumuu dress every time The Mamas & The Papas appeared on television. They were going to be on a [Richard] Rodgers and [Lorenz] Hart special, and she came in to see me and I said, “I’ll make you something.” Nobody ever wanted to make her anything, so she was all excited. I got to really like her because she was on The Carol Burnett Show a lot as a guest. My budget always got shot to hell because it could be the littlest nothing and it had to be made custom for her. I made a floaty chiffon look, and many years later saw it in a thrift store. I’m not sure if she was still around by that time. But I saw it hanging and thought, “God, there it is.”
How did the transition from The Supremes to Diana Ross’ solo career work?
Bob Mackie Clothing
They had worked with another designer and evidently he did something for somebody else that looked a lot like an outfit he’d done for Diana. You don’t fool with Diana. I came in and all of a sudden she got custody of me, and The Supremes were on their own. I always thought of them as sort of more fashiony than Cher was. Diana kept wanting to borrow Cher’s clothes all the time, though. She had such a beautiful figure.
Your styles were risqué -- Tina Turner’s slits were always up to her hips.
Tina didn’t have any money at the time; she’d buy these really cheap evening gowns in jersey [material] when she was in Europe and bring them in. I’d stand in front of the mirror with her and would just start cutting. She’d say “a little higher here,” and I’d cut and then we’d pull it open and tack it down.
Was there ever any pushback from television networks regarding what Cher had on?
They all made a big fuss about Cher showing too much. From head to toe she was perfect, so there was always a body part showing. Winrar free version. And I remember having an argument with them because it was alright to see cleavage, but if you saw a little swelling underneath? You were going to turn to stone and go to hell immediately. So I told them, “If she were standing on her head, wouldn’t it be the same? The swelling would be on the bottom.” They didn’t like that.
Designers like Marc Jacobs grew up seeing your work. You influenced a new generation.
He used to work at Charivari in New York and I’d be walking up 57th Street and he’d scream “Bob Mackie!” from across the street. He was cute and certainly has done well for himself. But there was one designer, Alexander McQueen, who used to knock off stuff. I’d see looks and think, “That’s just too close.”
Did you see when Kim Kardashian went to the Met Gala in a look inspired by Cher’s 1974 dress?
She wanted to do a photo session with my pieces from the archives. Nothing would fit onto her in a million years. She looks good, but archival things are sample sizes. Maybe a cape — photograph her nude with a cape.
What was the response on the actual night she wore it for the first time?
It was a wild night. All of those divas at the time were dressed, but when Cher walked in? It took over the whole evening. Nothing compared. It was a dress we had done for a Richard Avedon story that was going to be for Vogue at the time. Cher had never worn it anywhere. Because it was kind of see-through, I said “Don’t you think it’s a little much?” But she wanted it. They’re still printing her in that dress.
Bob Mackie is an internationally renowned costume and fashion designer who has dressed some of the most glamorous entertainment icons in the world. With a career spanning five decades, nine Emmy Award wins, three Academy Award nominations, and an induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, Bob Mackie's career is nothing short of legendary. Most recently, he received a 2019 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for his work on The Cher Show.
Bob Mackie Sketches
A native of Southern California, Bob's career began in 1961, where he was in demand as a sketch artist for many costume designers in film, including Edith Head and Jean Louis. In 1966, the vivacious Mitzi Gaynor decided she was ready for a whole new look and quickly engaged Mackie to design the costumes for her famous Las Vegas Review and her upcoming television specials. For Mackie, this was a marriage made in heaven with dance, glamour, and comedy all in one package.
After seeing Gaynor's Las Vegas show, Carol Burnett and TV producer, Joe Hamilton hired him to design the entire wardrobe for the first Carol Burnett Show, where he remained the show's costume designer for it's eleven year run on air. Bob is equally well known for his designs worn by Cher on her television show, as well as her concert tours, winning an Emmy in 1999 for Cher: Live in Concert from Las Vegas and in 2003 for Cher: The Farewell Tour.
His theatrical credits include Lorelei with Carol Channing, On the Town with Bernadette Peters, Platinum with Alexis Smith, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public with Dee Hooty, Moon Over Buffalo and Putting It Together, both with Carol Burnett; and Minnelli On Minnelli with Liza Minnelli. He also designed the costumes and scenery for the world premiere of the ballet, Blue Suede Shoes, featuring the music of Elvis Presley, as well as the costumes for the San Francisco Opera's production of Alban Berg's Lulu.
In 1982, the Bob Mackie ready-to-wear collection and Bob Mackie Barbie collectable dolls debuted, ushering a groundbreaking time for the Mackie brand. The Bob Mackie Barbie does continue to be sought after by collectors and consumers alike. The 1990s saw the launch of the widely popular QVC Wearable Art Collection and home furnishing collections.
In 1999, the Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology ('FIT') honored Mackie's enormous contribution to fashion and costume design with the retrospective Unmistakably Mackie, now hailed as one of the most highly attended exhibitions in New York City history. The exhibit included more than 125 examples of Mackie's designs, sketches, photos, and videos spanning his incredible career. In conjunction with the retrospective, the vibrantly illustrated book, Unmistakably Mackie by Frank DeCaro, was also released.
Mr. Mackie's unprecedented career achievements continue to be recognized. Bob was awarded the TDF Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for theatrical costume design. The Hollywood Arts Council honored Bob in 2008, with the 'Charlie' (Chaplin) Award for Fashion Arts, acknowledging his contribution to the arts in Hollywood. In May 2011, Otis College of Art and Design, where Bob has mentored students for over two decades, honored him with the Design Legend Award and an Honorary Doctorate Degree. In April 2016, Bob was honored by the Chicago History Museum with the Designer of Excellence Award and was a Geoffrey Beene CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2019.
Women who wear Mackie dare to be noticed, and many of the entertainment industries biggest and brightest stars are still clamoring to be dressed by him. The Mackie brand continues to flourish with the QVC Wearable Art Collection and partnerships with Kas Rugs, Premium Bag, Horizon Beauty Group, Glance Eyewear, and The Bradford Exchange. With his choice of vibrant colors, luxurious fabrics, and intricate detail, Bob Mackie's work continues to exude timeless glamour.