“We pulled out all the stops on this one,” says Bob Mackie, who's no stranger to stop-pulling, especially when designing for Cher. The pop diva's so-called Living Proof Farewell Tour sold out stadiums across the country over the summer, and not least among the reasons is its parade of flamboyant Mackie costume creations. Designed as a decade-by-decade retrospective of Cher's 40-year career, the concert features some of her biggest hits and the appropriate outfits and hairstyles to go with them.
“We do costumes that aren't exact copies, but are reminiscent of the period,” says Mackie, using the red-beaded fringe number worn during “Take Me Home” as an example: “In the 70s, it was silver-beaded.” Another costume redolent of, if not slavishly copying, its source is the fishnet and big-hair ensemble worn for the late-80s hit “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Another highlight is the Indian princess garb Cher dons for her entrance on a fake elephant, singing “All or Nothing.”
But Mackie's favorite is possibly the most elaborate design, worn by the star during the “Bang Bang” number. “It's like The Matrix meets Maori meets Mohawk,” says the designer about the costume, which commingles brown laced-up leather, ostentatiously tattooed bodysuit, and a crowning, burnt-pheasant-feather headdress that extends to the back of Cher's knees. Adds Mackie, “It's not your usual go-to-tea outfit.”