Theatergoers, who haven’t lined up tickets for “The Cher Show,” can catch her famed fashion designer Bob Mackie at a Jan. 29 Q&A at 92Y.
Looking to give the glitzy bedazzler his due after more than 50 years in the fashion industry, Fern Mallis said she has been trying to get him to commit to the stage for a year. About a year ago, the Fashion Icons interviewer started the process. “Booking people for this is not exactly easy,” she said, adding that news reports of the Cher-inspired Broadway show only made her more impassioned to seek him out.
Mallis said she first met Mackie more than 30 years ago through the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “I remember going to one of his shows in the tents at Bryant Park that was just mind-boggling. It was so theatrical that it was like watching a Broadway show. The crowd was just on their feet. It wasn’t about the latest trends or fads. It was spectacle.”
While Cher remains perennially linked to Mackie’s career, he worked with Carol Burnett for 11 years, and dressed standouts like Judy Garland and Diana Ross, too. Mackie also sketched the nude-colored rhinestone-encrusted gown that Marilyn Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. More recently, he has whipped up gowns for Rihanna and RuPaul. Along the way, Mackie had racked up nine Emmy awards, three Academy Award nominations and an induction into the Television Hall of Fame.
“When you look at what Beyoncé and J.Lo are wearing, and Balmain and Donatella Versace are doing, I mean Bob has been doing that for years. What he’s done has stood the test of time,” Mallis said.
With plans to see “The Cher Show” at the Neil Simon Theatre before her sit-down interview with Mackie, Mallis has been energized by the reviews of his costume design. “What I love about the reviews is they say the craftsmanship is so extraordinary. They’re not cheap, flashy clothes thrown on the stage. He’s the real deal.”
And attendees at the production’s Dec. 3 opening night got another degree of authenticity. Cher herself offered a surprise performance at the curtain call.