bob mackie - honorary chairperson honors mitzi gaynor at nevada ballet theatre's black & white ball
The amazing scope of Bob Mackie’s fashion, home furnishings and entertainment career is enormous and continues to expand. Mackie’s reputation was built designing for and dressing the most glamorous and charismatic women in the world. For years, his designs have graced the most famous stars in the entertainment industry. And now, his sportswear collection, signature fragrance, collectible Barbie® dolls, luggage, home furnishings and framed fashion and costume illustrations, are being enjoyed by everyone.
His close attention to detail, as embodied in the design, choice of fabric, use of color, and opulent embellishment, is legendary. When a woman chooses a “Mackie,” she dares to be noticed! It is for this reason, that Grammy Award winning artist Pink collaborated with Mackie to design her costumes for her worldwide “Funhouse Tour” in 2009. In fact, one of the costumes he designed was showcased in Pink’s amazing “Glitter In the Air” performance at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony. In 2008, Mackie and longtime friend Cher, teamed up again for her hugely successful three year run at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
As a young boy growing up in Southern California, Mackie submerged himself in Hollywood glamour by seeing and studying every film he could lay his eyes on. After leaving design school he was ready to attack Hollywood and soon became in great demand as an assistant to many of the industry’s top designers, including the famed Edith Head. By the mid-sixties, Mackie was the hot young “Mod” designer and was designing costumes for many of the top television variety specials, featuring such stars as Fred Astaire, Mitzi Gaynor, Dinah Shore and Diana Ross and the Supremes.
Mackie first worked with Mitzi Gaynor in 1966 on a Danny Thomas TV special in which Mitzi was a guest star. She fell so in love with his designs that she asked him to create all of her costumes for the debut of her latest stage show at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. Mitzi was the first star client for which Mackie designed an entire show. The next year he designed her costumes for her show-stopping performance of Best Song nominee “Georgy Girl” at the 1967 Academy Awards; an appearance watched by 62 million viewers. Since then, they have enjoyed 47 years of collaboration and friendship.
Mackie designed Mizi’s costumes for every one of her stage shows, including her current one-woman show “Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins.” He also famously designed for Mitzi’s decade of television variety specials, beginning in 1968 with the aptly titled “Mitzi,” and received two Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for “Mitzi…Roarin’ in the 20’s” in 1976 and “Mitzi…Zings into Spring” in 1978.
In 1967, after seeing Mitzi Gaynor in her Mackie designed Las Vegas show, producer Joe Hamilton immediately hired Mackie to design all of the costumes for the upcoming season of the new “Carol Burnett Show.” Mackie worked with Carol throughout the show’s 11 year run, creating such characters as “Mrs. Wiggins,” “Nora Desmond,” “Eunice,” and of course, the infamous “Starlet O’Hara” in her green curtain dress (rod included!) “I saw it in the window and couldn’t resist!” Burnett has repeatedly said: “The key to Bob’s success is that he has a producer’s mind. He doesn’t think of his department alone. He looks at every show as a whole. His true genius lies in his zeal for detail and his sense of humor.” His relationship with Burnett flourishes to this day. Mackie worked with Burnett on the television remake of “Once Upon a Mattress,” which aired on ABC in 2005. In 2009, Mackie created the “Went with the Wind” Carol Burnett Show Doll, to pay homage to his dear friend and the infamous dress. Furthermore, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History honored Bob Mackie and his inventive genius by displaying the “Went with the Wind” dress as part of the American History Museum’s Kennedy Center Honors Collection.
After guest starring on the Burnett show, Cher soon asked Mackie to create her costumes for the upcoming “Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.” With her amazing presence and Mackie’s outrageously glamorous clothes, Cher and her costumes soon became one of the biggest draws on weekly television. In fact, in 1975 Cher was featured on the cover of TIME magazine in a Mackie creation. Mackie received his latest Emmy Award in 2003 for Cher’s “The Farewell Tour” concert which aired on NBC. To this day, whenever she appears dressed in a Mackie, she continues to astound and delight her fans. Cher just concluded her successful three year run at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Mackie, of course, designed her breathtaking costumes.
Mackie’s impressive television career has been recognized over the years as he has amassed 31 Emmy Award nominations and nine Emmy Awards. The crowning achievement thus far, however, is his 2002 induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Mackie is the only costume designer in the Hall of Fame, which is a remarkable accomplishment.
In addition to designing for television, Mackie’s career spans film and stage as well. His film designs received Oscar nominations for “Lady Sings the Blues” (Diana Ross), “Funny Lady” (Barbra Streisand) and “Pennies from Heaven” (Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters).
As Mackie’s costume design career progressed throughout the 60’s and 70’s, the viability of the Bob Mackie name as a brand became apparent. It seemed only natural that Mackie would take his flair, which had previously been reserved for performers, and transform his designs so that all women could enjoy his creations.
Thus, Mackie began his first ready-to-wear collection in 1982, which was immediately well received by the public and rapidly grew to include other products throughout the 80’s and 90’s including his signature fragrance named “Mackie”, the introduction of the collectible Mackie Barbie® doll program and the launch of the “Wearable Art” program for the QVC television network.
Mackie’s success selling products was not limited to traditional retail stores. His unique creativity and style, along with his charm, have led to an incredible loyal customer base for the 20 year-old “Wearable Art” apparel program on QVC.
The Mackie glamour reaches the pinnacle of fantasy with his 21 year-old, highly coveted, collectible Barbie® Doll series. Each year, his legion of fans anxiously await the new Bob Mackie doll. In fact, Mackie’s status is reflected in the collectible doll market as many of these dolls are worth in excess of $1,000 each. In 2009, Bob Mackie had the distinct honor of designing the 50th Anniversary Golden Legacy Barbie® doll. Mackie’s 2012 “Brazilian Banana Bonanza” Barbie® promises to wow his fans once again.
In 1998, the Mackie brand moved in a new direction when he entered the world of home furnishings. This foray into the home was a natural move for Mackie as it gave the consumer Mackie’s sense of style, luxury, and elegance, in their own home. The debut collection of “Bob Mackie Home” furniture with American Drew was a resounding success and his subsequent collections continue to sell strongly.
Since 2000, Bob Mackie Home has included spectacular lighting collections with industry leader, Murray Feiss Lighting. In 2008, Mackie partnered with style innovator, Surya Rugs, to create exquisite hand tufted and hand knotted rugs. For 14 years, the Bob Mackie Home brand has been an innovative force in the home furnishings industry.
In recent years, Mackie’s extraordinary fashion and costume design career achievements have been acknowledged. In May 2011, Mackie received the Design Legend Award from the Otis College of Art and Design. Mackie has mentored Otis students for over two decades. Previously, in 2005, Mackie received an honorary doctorate degree from the school. Mackie is one of the few fashion or costume designers to receive this award. Otis College is Los Angeles’ oldest arts institute. Famed Hollywood designer Edith Head graduated from the school.
In March 2008, Mackie was honored by The Hollywood Arts Council, becoming the first recipient of the Charlie Award for Fashion Arts. The Charlie Awards acknowledge contributions of merit to Hollywood and its arts. In March 2007, Mackie won the tdf/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for his theatrical costume career.
In November 2005, 150 lots from Mackie’s personal archives, including sketches, costumes and couture outfits, were auctioned through Christie’s New York auction house. A portion of the auction’s proceeds were donated to the Elton John Aids Foundation.
Mackie’s contributions to fashion and costume design were recognized in a most elaborate and exciting way in 1999 with the Bob Mackie Retrospective at The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (“FIT”). The comprehensive retrospective, which ran for three months, and was hailed as one of the most highly attended retrospectives in New York City history, showcased Mackie’s fashion and costume designs. The exhibition included more than 125 of Mackie’s spectacular creations, as well as sketches, photographs, videos and ephemera chronicling his extraordinary career. In addition, visitors had the rare opportunity to view a complete display of Mackie’s collectible Barbie® doll series. Coinciding with the Retrospective, a lavishly illustrated book, Unmistakably Mackie, written by noted journalist Frank De Caro, was released.