With the announcement that Bob Mackie will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement honor this year, the bar for this CFDA Award has just been raised.
Not many designers or costumers have been influencing popular culture for as long, or across as many media, as the 80-year-old Mackie has. And talk about having a moment: this week Mackie was also nominated for a Tony Award for his work on The Cher Show. Somewhere Edith Head, the legendary and down-to-business studio costumer with whom Mackie trained, is smiling.
Mackie sketched Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress for Jean Louis, and did inventive and prolific work with The Carol Burnett Show, but he became a household name thanks to the needle-pushing red carpet looks he created for Cher. Though Mackie could costume anything, from a Shakespearean tragedy to an 18th-century romantic farce, he’s chiefly known for creating celebratory pieces with that extra va-va-voom.
In fact, his work for Elton John was referenced in a recent Gucci collection by Alessandro Michele. But the visual impact of his creations isn’t surface deep; Mackie is known for his meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.
“He is a true artist and the ultimate showman,” said Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the CFDA, in a statement.
This isn’t the first time Mackie has been recognised by the industry. In 2001 the CFDA honored him for his “fashion exuberance.” Add to this three Oscar nominations, several Emmy wins (including the first-ever awarded for costume design), and other honors. Mackie clearly has a Midas touch.