Cher’s longtime friend and costume designer Bob Mackie weighs in.
You’ve been working with Cher for a long time. Yes, 50 years… terrifying! And we were full-blown adults when we met. Do you have a favorite costume for this
show? I don’t have a favorite. Some of the looks go back to the beginning, like the headdress [“Half Breed”], and the bellbottoms [“I Got You Babe”]. The costume she wears for “Woman’s World” is exciting—it’s all turquoise with a big afro, and that’s a whole new costume. And when she comes out on the boat [ for “After All,”] she’s like a religious icon. She falls into all these ethnic groups so beautifully— African, Indian, Middle Eastern. You never lose her in a costume. When we first started working together, the ideal was the turned-up nose, squeaky-clean blue-eyed girl, and yet there were millions of girls who had olive skin and a bigger nose. Cher gave them the freedom to be who they are. It’s been said that there are dozens of major fashion moments that wouldn’t have happened without your collaboration with Cher—like the Met Gala dress that Kim Kardashian wore in 2015 inspired by a dress you made for Cher in 1974. In the beginning, she was the only one who [dressed up]. The pop music stars thought it was cool to wear T-shirts—whatever you showed up in. Cher loved getting dressed. Then Madonna, and now Gaga, Pink, J Lo, Britney: Every time they change a song they change their clothes. That Met dress—cher wore it to the Met Gala in 1974, and I was her date, and the place went crazy. Then, people just wore nice clothes, and now it looks like a costume ball. [Kardashian] didn’t look like Cher. What are your favorite memories of working with Cher through the years? The woman is still the girl she was years ago. Nowadays, she has a little more of an opinion. When she wanted that mohawk for the Academy Awards, she was mad at the Academy because she hadn’t been nominated for Mask. “Don’t you think it’s a little overkill?” I asked. “No, it’ll be fine,” she said. And that picture has shown up every year since 1986.