Friday, September 5, 2014
"Keep Two or Three Mackies Backstage": Dressing Joan and Cher
Joan pronounced "Mackies" twice, both times as if the word were a marvelous, magical spell.
I haven't thought of Mackies much in recent years, but in the 1970s I adored Bob Mackie and his otherworldly costumes for Cher, first on the Sonny and Cher Show, then for the singer's solo Cher Show.
I remember discovering the magazine (tabloid, really) Rona Barrett's Hollywood, then Rona Barrett's Gossip, which I read as often as possible hoping to find a new image of Cher striking a different pose in one of her Bob Mackie dresses.
Weeks, maybe months passed, and then in my PEI mailbox I received a postcard, hand-inscribed to me, from Cher. I'll always remember her signature, as it seemed to match the logo for her solo show.
It also taught me that a star needed a unique autograph, so I began working on mine. Yes, I use it on all my letters.
That decade also saw the debut of the Cher doll, which joined my Barbie collection, organized on shelves my father had put up on my bedroom wall. The doll was a disappointment, really--it didn't look like Cher!--but I still displayed it and tried to get its knee-length hair into one of Cher's butterfly topknots.
Probably the last time I saw Bob Mackie was when I was flipping through the channels, coming to a shocked halt on QVC when I saw him selling sequinned sweatshirts instead of masterminding some slinky gown. But then again, those sweatshirts may well support the time needed to imagine couture maribou.
And as Joan Rivers told Terry Gross in that interview, she *never* turned down a job. That's why she was able to keep her two-to-three Mackies backstage, no doubt. I do wish she were ordering another three or four..