With awards season upon us, DnA takes in a musical -- about the queen of the red carpet.
“The Cher Show” is a glittery singalong that has just opened on Broadway about the rocky but triumphant life of the hitmaker, from her early days with Sonny Bono to her revival in the late 1990s, much of it spent clad in spectacular outfits by the legendary designer Bob Mackie.
Longtime fashion writer Bronwyn Cosgrave reviews the show, reflects on the collaboration between Cher and Mackie, and the takeaway for young actresses wanting to develop a clear fashion identity.
The Naked Dress, 1973: Bob Mackie created this daring and groundbreaking look for Cher. According to Mackie, it was never about being naked; it was about being bold.
The Cher Show is not for ponderous theater critics, says Cosgrave, author of “Made For Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards.”
Rather, she says, it is simply enormous fun -- an inspirational story about “empowerment,” performed by three women playing Cher at different stages of her life as they cycle through 600 feathery, glittery, diaphanous dresses by Bob Mackie.
It is a reminder, she says, of old Hollywood glamor combined with Las Vegas-style glitz that is being echoed today in clothing lines by young designers like Adam Selman and Michael Halpern, whose collaboration with Topshop is this year’s Main Street hit.
The dress Cher wore when accepting the 1988 best actress Oscar for for her role in “Moonstruck.”
It is also a rousing pitch for more personality on the red carpet.
While #MeToo may have changed the way actresses express themselves, says Cosgrave, “the fact is, today design houses control the red carpet because they have professional contracts with actresses who are obliged to wear a designer that they are aligned with and consequently they don't want a ‘fun stunt’ on the red carpet.”