Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

American costume designer Bob Mackie in an undated photo.

American costume designer Bob Mackie in an undated photo.

In my last post, I introduced American fashion designer Bob Mackie (b. 1940), designer to the stars. He is famous for dressing entertainers such as Cher, Carol Burnett, Diana Ross, Barbara Eden, Bette Midler, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Joan Rivers, Whitney Houston, Pink, Sharon Stone, Beyonce, Goldie Hawn, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Lucille Ball, Ann-Margret, and Mitzi Gaynor. He also creates designs for collector’s edition Barbie dolls.

Although his designs can be elegant, they can also be outrageous. Many of Mackie’s most spectacular designs have a Vegas show-girl quality. They are flamboyant. The gowns and bodysuits are skimpy, clingy, see-through, and spangled with strategically-placed sequins, crystals, and feathers. Mackie has been referred to as “The Sultan of Sequins,” or “The Rajah of Rhinestones,” for his sparkling and imaginative costume designs. (1)

Often, his gowns leave little to the imagination of the girl underneath. Of this, he has said:

A woman who wears my clothes is not afraid to be noticed.”

Mackie has enjoyed tremendous success. He has received nine Emmy Awards and been nominated three times for an Academy Award for dressing Diana Ross in “Lady Sings The Blues,” Barbra Streisand in “Funny Lady,” and Bernadette Peters in “Pennies From Heaven.” In 2002, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Here are a few of his most memorable designs.


Cher wears a sleek Bob Mackie jersey dress for "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour." ca. 1975.

Cher wears a sleek Bob Mackie jersey dress for “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.” ca. 1975.

Cher accepts the Best Actress Oscar for her film role in "Moonstruck" at the 1988 Academy Awards. Her costume was designed by Bob Mackie. It made headlines.

Cher accepts the Best Actress Oscar for her film role in “Moonstruck” at the 1988 Academy Awards. Her costume was designed by Bob Mackie. It made headlines.

Floral Cher


Cher Prison album photo shoot

Cher in Mackie TV

Cher in album cover B Mackie

Cher dripping Bob Mackie

Cher by B Mackie

Cher by B Mackie Egyptian

Cher B Mackie later

Cher B Mackie fire costume

Short hair cher


Singer Pink performs at the 2010 Grammy Award Ceremony in her nude sequined bodysuit by Bob Mackie.

Singer Pink performs at the 2010 Grammy Award Ceremony in her nude sequined bodysuit by Bob Mackie.


Diana Ross in B Mackie short




Tina Turner by B Mackie2

Tina Turner by B Mackie


Ann Margret in B Mackie seated


Ivanka Trump in Ivana's vintage B Mackie


Madonna in Mackie


Mitzi Gaynor by B Mackie


Raquel Welch in B Mackie


Sharon Stone in Mackie



(1) ”Bob Mackie,” Wikipedia.

READERS: For more Bob Mackie posts, click here

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Audrey Hepburn 1953

Audrey Hepburn 1953

In 1954, British photographer and creative artist, Cecil Beaton, wrote this article for “Vogue” about a rising film star named Audrey Hepburn. Miss Hepburn was 25 and the newest sensation. She had just won the Academy Award for Best Actress for “Roman Holiday.”

It is always a dramatic moment when the Phoenix rises anew from its ashes. For if “queens have died young and fair,” they are also reborn, appearing in new guises which often create their own terms of appreciation. Even while the pessimists were predicting that no new feminine ideal could emerge from the aftermath of war, an authentic existentialist Galatea was being forged in the person of Miss Audrey Hepburn.

No one can doubt that Audrey Hepburn’s appearance succeeds because it embodies the spirit of today. She had, if you like, her prototypes in France – Damia, Edith Piaf, or Juliet Greco. But it took the rubble of Belgium [sicHolland] an English accent, and an American success to launch the striking personality that best exemplifies our new Zeitgeist [spirit of the age].

French waif

French waif

Nobody ever looked like her before World War II; it is doubtful if anybody ever did, unless it be those wild children of the French Revolution whose stride in the foreground of romantic canvases. Yet we recognize the rightness of this appearance in relation to our historical needs. And the proof is that thousands of imitations have appeared. The woods are full of emaciated young ladies with rat-nibbled hair and moon-pale faces.

Heron's eyes

Heron’s eyes

What does their paragon really look like? Audrey Hepburn has enormous heron’s eyes and dark eye-brows slanted towards the Far East. Her facial features show character rather than prettiness: the bridge of the nose seems almost too narrow to carry its length, which bares into a globular tip with nostrils startlingly like a duck’s bill. Her mouth is wide, with a cleft under the lower lip too deep for classical beauty, and the delicate chin appears even smaller by contrast with the exaggerated width of her jaw bones. Seen at the full, the outline of her face is perhaps too square; yet she intuitively tilts her head with a restless and perky asymmetry.

Madame Pompadour by Amedeo Modigliani, 1914.

Madame Pompadour by Amedeo Modigliani, 1914.

She is like a portrait by Modigliani where the various distortions are not only interesting in themselves but make a completely satisfying composite.

Beneath this child-like head (as compact as a coconut with its cropped hair and wispy monkey-fur fringe) is a long, incredibly slender and straight neck.

A rod-like back continues the vertical line of the nape, and she would appear exaggeratedly tall were it not for her natural grace.

1954 Sabrina dress

Audrey appears in a Givenchy dress from the 1954 movie, “Sabrina.”

Audrey Hepburn’s stance is a combination of an ultra fashion plate and a ballet dancer. Indeed, she owes a large debt to the ballet for her bearing and abandon in movement, which yet suggest a personal quality, an angular kinship with cranes and storks. She can assume almost acrobatic poses, always maintaining an innate elegance in her incredibly lithe torso, long, flat waist, tapering fingers and endless legs.

Audrey Hepburn was an accomplished ballerina. Undated photo, ca. 1954

Audrey Hepburn was an accomplished ballerina. Undated photo, ca. 1954

With arms akimbo or behind her back, she habitually plants her feet wide apart–one heel dug deep with the toe pointing skywards. And it is more natural for her to squat cross-legged on the floor than to sit in a chair.

Fratellini Poster

Fratellini Poster

Like the natural artist that she is Audrey Hepburn is bold and sure in her effects. There is no lack of vigor in her rejection of the softly pretty. She wears no powder, so that her white skin has a bright sheen. Using a stick of grease paint with a deft stroke, she draws heavy bars of black upon her naturally full brows; and almost in Fratellini fashion, liberally smudges both upper and lower eyelids with black.

To complete the clown boldness, she enlarges her mouth even at the ends, thus making her smile expand to an enormous slice from Sambo’s watermelon. The general public, in its acceptance of such an uncompromisingly stark appearance, has radically forsaken the prettily romantic or pseudo-mysterious heroines of only two decades ago.

1953 Audrey Hepburn grins upon receiving her Oscar for "Roman Holiday."

1953 Audrey Hepburn grins upon receiving her Oscar for “Roman Holiday.”

In clothing, this ingénue Ichabod wears a “junior miss” version of highwayman coats, clergyman cassocks, or students’ pants, overalls, scarfs.

Audrey Hepburn in loafers and scarf. Undated photo

Audrey Hepburn in loafers and scarf. Undated photo

Yet she is infinitely more soignée than most students, possessing, in fact, an almost Oriental sense of the exquisite.

Audrey Hepburn in the 1954 film, "Sabrina."

Audrey Hepburn in the 1954 film, “Sabrina.”

Barnardo's Boys were orphans

Barnardo’s Boys were orphans

And she is immaculately shod, whether in pumps, sandals, or court shoes. Audrey Hepburn is the gamine, the urchin, the lost Barnardo boy.

Audrey Hepburn from the 1954 film, "Sabrina"

Audrey Hepburn from the 1954 film, “Sabrina”

Sometimes she appears to be dangerously fatigued; already, at her lettuce age, there are apt to be shadows under the eyes, while her cheeks seem taut and pallid.

She is a wistful child of a war-chided era, and the shadow thrown across her youth underlines even more its precious evanescence. But if she can reflect sorrow, she seems also to enjoy the happiness life provides for her with such bounty.

It is a rare phenomenon to find a very young girl with such inherent “star quality.” As a result of her enormous success, Audrey Hepburn has already acquired the extra incandescent glow which comes as a result of being acclaimed, admired, and loved. Yet while developing her radiance, she has too much innate candor to take on that gloss of artificiality Hollywood is apt to demand of its queens.

Audrey Hepburn winks in sunlight. undated photo, ca. 1952

Audrey Hepburn winks in sunlight. undated photo, ca. 1952

Her voice is peculiarly personal. With its unaccustomed rhythm and sing-song cadence on a flat drawl, it has a quality of heartbreak. Though such a voice might easily become mannered, she spends much time in improving its musical range.

In fact, with the passing of every month, Audrey Hepburn increases in dramatic stature. Intelligent and alert, wistful but enthusiastic, frank yet tactful, assured without conceit and tender without sentimentality, she is the most promising theatrical talent to appear since the war. Add to this the remarkable distinction she emanates, and it is not rash to say she also gives every indication of being the most interesting public embodiment of our new feminine ideal.

US Vogue, November 01, 1954

 Click here for more on Audrey Hepburn.

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In its coverage of the fashion displayed by guests at the British Royal Wedding of William and Catherine, The New York Times wrote that the outfits of the guests “were generally tasteful and royal-friendly. A few things stuck out. The exotic costumes of foreign dignitaries, seeming throwbacks to imperial times. The hats worn by the ladies, which resembled, variously

overturned buckets, flowerpots, lampshades, fezzes, salad plates, tea cozies, flying saucers, abstract artworks or, in one case, a pile of feathers. There were also a number of fascinators, decorative shapes with flowers or feathers, that are stuck in one’s hair but are not hats.”

It now appears that 36 of the wild headpieces worn at the royal wedding can be traced to a single eccentric Irish milliner, Philip Treacy, referred to by the UK’s The Daily Mail as the man “responsible for all this fashion roadkill.” 

In this 1999 photo, milliner Philip Treacy poses with the late hat fancier Isabella Blow

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice arrive at Westminster Abbey for the Royal Wedding in their much-ridiculed hats by Philip Treacy. Beatrice's hat was described in the Daily Mail as "beige pretzel-like" and Eugenie's as a "catastrophic confection...with a rose the color of dried blood."

For more pictures of royal wedding hats on this blog, click here.

Princess Beatrice wore this Treacy creation to another wedding. A swarm of butterflies seems to be attacking her head.

At another fancy occasion, Princess Eugenie wears a feather headpiece designed by Philip Treacy

Victoria Beckham wore one of Philip Treacy's creations to her husband David's O.B.E. ceremony. Note that Mrs. Beckham is showing her teeth, something rarely seen in her photos.

David and Victoria Beckham arrive at Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding. Victoria is wearing one of Treacy's hats, perched precariously on the front of her head. Though almost seven months pregnant with their fourth child, she opts for fashion footwear, wearing sky-high Christian Louboutin heels. David proudly wears his O.B.E. - but on the wrong lapel!

Once inside the Abbey, you can see that David Beckham has switched his O.B.E. medal from his right lapel to the left one - the correct one. Someone must have mentioned the faux pas and he made the swap. He's chatting up a Beefeater, rather nervously, I think!

While we are on the subject of propriety, let me mention that several people have remarked that Kate Middleton chose to wear a wedding gown with sleeves so that she didn’t bare her arms in the Abbey, which is firmly against the dress code.

Royal Wedding: William and Catherine are shown in the Abbey with best man Prince Harry of Wales and maid-of-honor Pippa Middleton.

I checked this out and there seems to be no such rule, at least in writing. Here is the dress code recorded on the Abbey website:

There is no specific dress code for the Abbey. For services we ask that you dress in a respectful manner, although we are aware that some people are on holiday – bear in mind that during the winter months it can become quite cold inside.


Besides, if Abbey rules require covered arms, then how was Pippa Middleton exempt?

Newsweek magazine clarified the matter. Royal protocol requires that the arms of a royal bride must be covered.

Prince William wore the scarlet coat of an Irish Guards mounted officer, the uniform of his senior honorary army appointment. He wore gold sword slings, but no sword. Although unconfirmed, my sources report that no weapons are allowed in the Abbey.

Back to the mad hatter and more of his crazy, over-the-top designs for The Rich and Famous:

American Actress Sarah Jessica Parker wears a Philip Treacy design. Saloon girl? More unpleasant things have been said about this hat like, "What do you get when you cross a small cowpat with a pair of yellow butterflies, a sickly green rose and a clump of brown chicken feathers?" (the Daily Mail)

British model Jade Parfit allows another Philip Treacy odd creation to rest on her right ear.

You knew it was coming.

That's Lady Gaga in the wreath by Treacy with Beyonce.


Jodie Kidd wears a Treacy saucer hat with pheasant feather antennae.

In this 2005 photo, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, newly-minted as the Duchess of Cornwall, are just married. She wears a Philip Treacy "wheatsheaf halo" hat for which Prince Charles later awarded him an honorary O.B.E. Camilla is so chummy with Treacy that she sent Treacy's dog a Christmas card every year until the dog's death. At the dog's funeral, Grace Jones sang and Kate Moss sent flowers. (the Daily Mail)



On this site, read, “Kate Rocks the Fascinator.”

For more pictures of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) in hats, click here.

For more posts on the British Royal Family and the Royal Wedding, click here.

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