Manny P. here…
The Chicago History Museum’s Costume Council plans to honor fashion designer Bob Mackie. He is famous for his sparkling, imaginative costume designs, and will receive the council’s Designer of Excellence Award on Tuesday. He’s often called the sultan of sequins, the rajah of rhinestones, won numerous Emmy Awards for his designs, and received an Academy Awards nomination.
The 77-year-old designer has dressed many stars in Hollywood, including Rita Hayworth, Liberace, Betty Grable, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Shirley Jones, Janet Leigh, Julie Andrews, Ann-Margaret, Bette Midler, Mae West, Gale Storm, Robert Goulet, Ann Miller, Jane Powell, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Stanwyck, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Jack Palance, Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine, Martha Raye, Angie Dickenson, Liza Minnelli, Barbara Eden, Anne Baxter, Jayne Mansfield, and Mitzi Gaynor. He was the costume designer for the The Carol Burnett Show during its entire 11-year run. It was his genius providing the memorable curtain gown in the very funny Gone with the Wind sketch on the variety show. Bob also designed the clothes for its spinoff, Mama’s Family; and for the 1993 television adaptation of Gypsy.
Mackie and future life partner Ray Aghayan, worked with legendary costumer Edith Head in 1961 while working as a novice designer at Paramount Studios. They received an Oscar nod for their work with Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues. Bob also designed the exotic ensemble worn by Cher at the March 1986 Academy Awards: black stretch pants, knee high boots, a black chain-link top, a bejeweled loincloth, and a huge feathered Mohawk headdress that was one and a half times taller than her head. One of Mackie’s favorite projects was to design the dresses for collector’s edition of Barbie Dolls.
The Chicago group says its award goes to visionary designers who have indelibly left their mark on the fashion world. The council owns a costume collection and operates a conservation lab. Among its holdings are items from Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and Michael Jordan’s basketball uniform.
Until next time> “never forget”