Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-07-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



NUNN ON ONE Legendary designer Bob Mackie talks sequins, coming out
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The legendary designer Bob Mackie has created garments for a huge list of spectacular entertainers, including Judy Garland, Madonna, Bette Midler and Elton John.

He was the costume designer for The Carol Burnett Show during the entire 11-year television run, and he then moved to the spinoff Mama's Family.

Mackie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design in the movie Lady Sings the Blues ( starring Diana Ross ) and was later nominated two more times. He has won nine Emmys over the years.

From Bart Simpson to Barbie dolls, all the big names have had their time with the sultan of sequins.

Recently, Mackie was honored with a Designer of Excellence Award from the Chicago Costume Council at the Chicago History Museum. He sat down to talk a bit about his career.

Windy City Times: Hi, Bob. You are known for sequins. Was it all hand stitching in the early days?

Bob Mackie: Oh, yeah. It was all hand-done. Over the years there have been fabrics beautifully done with sequins put on by a machine; those didn't exist when I started in the business. Norman Norell used to make clothes where each sequin was double stitched on the garment one at a time. It was a true mermaid and just magical. They do make a machine-made fabric now that is pretty close to it but not quite as good.

WCT: With stars like Cher, Carol Burnett or Joan Rivers, did you go over to their houses to work with them?

BM: They came to my office. They did eventually come to my house as friends. When you work with them that many years you are bound to eat dinner with them once in a while.

WCT: Did you keep any of their clothing?

BM: Yes; actually, I have quite a few things of different people—not everybody. In fact, I heard that Melissa Rivers has some things of Joan's and wanted to see if I would like to keep them. I did a lot of Joan's clothes when she was working in Vegas. It became the thing. She dressed way up in those days for Vegas.

WCT: What advice do you give to new designers?

BM: I tell them to go work for someone that they admire. They can learn from them and watch them. Sometimes, they might think they are making a mistake but I tell them to just watch them and see if they do or not.

WCT: Did you have a lot of apprentices over the years?

BM: Not so many. I worked for people in the beginning that I watched. I didn't have a lot of apprentices. I didn't have time. Apprentices you have to give a little attention. In those days when I was doing two and three variety shows a week I didn't have time for anybody that didn't know what they were doing. I know that sounds selfish but that is just the way it was.

WCT: Carol Burnett said it was a grueling schedule.

BM: It was. Carol is so smart and had minimal rehearsal time. She would play the songs in her car on her tape recorder on the way to work at the studio. She would know the words by the time she got there and would know the arrangements. She was one of those people. She would learn her lines the first time she read it.

I have seen her with other performers pretend to have trouble with Sondheim songs, which are so hard to sing, and she would learn them immediately. She is really smart but didn't want people to be uncomfortable and would pretend to have trouble.

WCT: Are you still be commissioned by RuPaul to design outfits?

BM: I haven't done anything for RuPaul in years. RuPual grew up idolizing Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Cher. Those are all my girls! When he had a chance to come to me and do something he had a good time.

WCT: You judged RuPaul's Drag Race before, didn't you?

BM: Yes—a couple of times.

WCT: How was the coming-out process for you?

BM: In those days one didn't know anything. Kids know everything now. They have computers. You spent your whole youth trying to please everybody, trying to be what everyone wanted you to be.

I enjoyed my time in high school but there was always that little thing. I was married. I had a son. I have great grandchildren now, so those are the good parts. It is tough but it doesn't need to be that way anymore. It really doesn't. People are smarter and know more of what is going on.

Visit .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Sideshow Theatre Company 2019-20 season to premiere X, Pro-Am 2019-07-18 - CHICAGO ( July 17, 2019 ) — Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2019-20 Season, launching this fall with the U.S. ...

Gay News

Goodman Theatre announces 2019/2020 season 2019-07-18 - ( Chicago, IL ) Goodman Theatre announces the casting and creative teams for its 2019/2020 "Theater That Moves" Season openers. The season kicks-off ...

Gay News

THEATER True West 2019-07-17 - Playwright: Sam Shepard At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: Runs through: Aug. 25 What is the "true west?" Deserts ...

Gay News

First Floor Theater to begin Season 8 with Sugar in Our Wounds 2019-07-17 - By Donja R. Love, Directed by FFT Company Member Mikael Burke, October 19, 2019 - November 23, 2019 On a plantation during ...

Gay News

Promethean's 14th season to explore status of women, societies past, imagined 2019-07-17 - The rights and roles of women in society will be examined in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's 2019-20 season via three plays all penned or ...

Gay News

Barrel of Monkeys Presents Free Summer Workshops, Performances 2019-07-17 - CHICAGO ( July 16, 2019 ) — Barrel of Monkeys, one of Chicago's leaders in arts education, will present free creative writing workshops ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Wolf Play 2019-07-17 - Playwright: Hansol Jung At: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. Tickets: Runs through: Aug 18 The Gift Theatre's midwest premiere ...

Gay News

THEATER Strange Heart Beating 2019-07-16 - Playwright: Kristin Idaszak At: Cloudgate Theatre at the Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale Ave. Tickets:; $5-$45. Runs through: July 28 There's potential for ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Drag Seed 2019-07-15 - Author: David Cerda Directed by: Cheryl Snodgrass. At: Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. Tickets: : $20-44; Runs through: Aug. 24 ...

Gay News

Auditorium Theatre receives Outstanding Historic Theatre Award 2019-07-15 - ( CHICAGO, IL ) On July 14, 2019, the Auditorium Theatre received the League of Historic American Theatres' ( LHAT ) Outstanding Historic ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.