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MACK DADDY

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2009 at 1:37 am

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When it comes to fashion survivors, no one bests Bob Mackie. After doing career-defining gowns for the likes of everyone from Judy Garland to Madonna, not to mention Cher, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Carol Burnett, Ann-Margret, Liza and every major diva of the second half of the last century, Mackie is still going as strong as ever. Encountered at the after-party of The New York Nightlife Awards on January 26, the ebulliant, uncannily young-looking designer crowed that he not only just did Cher’s costumes for her Las Vegas act and Tina Turner’s for her world tour, but costumes for Pink, as well. Evidently, the young singer was savvy enough to know and admire his oeuvre, contacted him and presto! “She’s really amazing,” Mackie said. “Besides singing and dancing, she’s a total athlete, an acrobat, in fact! Her show is an incredible spectacle.”

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CHER IN MACKIE, CAESAR’S PALACE, LAS VEGAS 2008 (Courtesy Bob Mackie)

With Cher, “I still manage to come up with new ideas, even though we must have already done everything imaginable there is to do,” and as for Tina Turner, “She totally runs the show, in complete control of everything. The energy! And the body – as amazing as ever!”

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MACKIE FOR TINA TURNER 2008 WORLD TOUR (Courtesy Bob Mackie)

For a real Mackie orgy, I suggest you get MITZI GAYNOR – RAZZLE DAZZLE! THE SPECIAL YEARS, a documentary DVD  (www.citylightsmedia.com) which showcases this star’s life and performances from her many, splashy network TV specials. Besides deliciously over-the-top production numbers featuring everything from Mitzi boogeying it out in the disco years in a welter of glittering spandex and hysterically campy moustached chorus boys to old movie parodies of divas like Roz Russell, Doris Day and Rita Hayworth, you have a lengthy chatfest with Gaynor and Mackie. As they pore over his exquisitely rendered sketches of past sartorial triumphs, they reminisce hilariously about their years together. Gaynor was the first big star Mackie designed for and his affection never waned for this diva who, although seemingly rather bland in her film appearances, is a total, bawdy, juicy pistol in real life. At a tribute to the choreographer Jack Cole recently in New York, film footage of her was shown from a West Coast event, in which she did a convulsing imitation of the late, great Cole, berating her during her 20th Century Fox years, with his signature crossed eyes. 

Mackie told me he designed the gowns for her current show, RAZZLE DAZZLE! MY LIFE BEHIND THE SEQUINS, now touring the country: “I did something like twelve outfits for her – for a ninety minute show! Ridiculous – but she wanted them and wants to wear them all, God love her! She’s such a great raconteur and I hope she includes more talking, which really showcases her personality, as well as singing in the show.”

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MITZI IN MACKIE

Mackie designed Liza Minelli’s gown for her infamous 2002 wedding to David Gest and described being in her dressing room in the church before the ceremony as a “Fellini-esque” experience: “You had Liz Taylor there, really in her own world, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross’ little boy, who was doing Michael’s moonwalk dance. Before Diana arrived, Liza said to me, ‘You always know who your real friends are. They’re the ones who don’t hug and kiss you and screw up your makeup before you’re going on.’ Diana swept in and immediately threw her arms around Liza for a big kiss. Liza just shot me a look.” 

 

And for much more on the self-described Hungarian “Mitzi-Fritzi-gypsy”: http://missmitzigaynor.com/

Museum of Television & Radio

MACKIE, MITZI AND HER TV DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER TONY CHARMOLI

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Bob Mackie and Carol Burnett, 1967 (Courtesy Bob Mackie)

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Mackie with Cher, 1975 (Courtesy Bob Mackie)

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